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Giant Memories

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Joan Anderman
March 23, 2008

BETSY SIGGINS, WHO STARTED AT THE CLUB as a waitress and is now executive director of the Passim Center, says, "For me and many others in the late 1950s and 1960s, Club 47 was the only stage that on a daily basis presented the cultural and musical exchange of multi-generational and multi-cultural traditions and heritage that we had never experienced before." Her favorite musicians to pass through include:

JOAN BAEZ "Joan was the wittiest and most beguiling for someone 18 or so. We were so charmed by her wit and voice. She and I met when we were freshladies at BU. I loved her immediately and admired her constant courage."

BOB DYLAN "To us in the very early 1960s, Bob Dylan was known as a budding performer, poet, and storyteller and became part of our family in Cambridge. Bob stayed in our house with my husband, a graduate student in neuropharmacology by day and a bluegrass musician by night. We traveled to concerts around New England as his roadies. Dylan hung around the community we were creating at the club."

MUDDY WATERS "One of the first to bring Chicago Blues to the club. His first night in town [in 1966] drew the Cambridge police, who couldn't believe that the loud music could be coming from a place that only plays 'folk' music. There were equally magical evenings with Reverend Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt, Howlin' Wolf, and B.B. King. Many of them had recorded in the 1920s and 1930s and hadn't played for white audiences till they came North during the folk revival."

DOC WATSON "Doc Watson's first performance in the North was at Club 47 in 1963. He did 23 songs, and his stories were breathtaking. Doc was our link to country, gospel music, and Anglo-American ballads. Many of the younger guitar pickers saw a new world through Doc's music."

Joan Anderman, a music writer for the Globe, last wrote for the magazine about singer James Taylor. E-mail her at anderman@globe.com.

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