A new book captures the gaslit atmospheres of the ’60s US folk boom in moody monochrome. Caffè Lena: Inside America's Legendary Folk Music Coffeehouse reveals a young Bob Dylan in conversation with girlfriend Suze Rotolo and club manager Lena Spencer amongst a treasure trove of pics, many by Joe Alper, from the New York folk outpost located in upstate Saratoga Springs.
Still going strong six decades after its establishment in 1960, Caffè Lena still provides live folk music and non-alcoholic beverages most nights, but rock fans will be forgiven for fixating on the formative ’60s, when risen legends of the folk-blues like Mississippi John Hurt shared Lena’s stage with Dylan, John Hammond, Dave Van Ronk and many more. The book also reveals a before-he-was-famous Rufus Wainwright learning the ropes at the feet of Canuck folkstress mum Kate McGarrigle. You can see it in the gallery we've compiled below.
Gallery: Rare & Unseen Photographs From Legendary Folk Club Caffè Lena
The 288-page book, which features a foreword by folk-mad actor Tim Robbins, is published by powerHouse books and is out now.
Simultaneously, San Francisco’s Tompkins Square label release a 3-CD musical accompaniment, featuring music recorded live at the venue: Live At Caffè Lena: Music From America’s Legendary Coffeehouse, 1967–2013. We particularly recommend the Hedy West track.