Visited Saratoga Springs this weekend with my son. On Saturday night, we stopped by the famous Caffe Lena on Phila Street in Saratoga Springs, which I’m assuming isn’t much different than the way it was when it opened more than forty years ago — it certainly had that feel. We heard a performance by singer/guitarist Laura Vechionne. We drank coffee and tea. And we checked out the walls, which are filled with an impressive array of photos of the likes of Arlo Guthrie, Dave van Ronk, Nanci Griffith, Don McLean, Ani DiFranco….and scores of others, including very young Bob Dylan.

Bob Dylan, Suze Rotolo and Lena Spencer sit at a table in Caffe Lena. The photo was taken in 1961 by Joe Alper.
Bob Dylan, Suze Rotolo and Lena Spencer sit at a table in Caffe Lena. The photo was taken in 1961 by Joe Alper.

Speaking of Caffe Lena, good friend and very good novelist Christian Bauman performed there in his previous incarnation as a very good singer/songwriter/guitarist. There’s a link to his Web site listed on this page under friends. Chris sometimes share some tidbits from his traveling folkie days — like the time he dueted with Pete Seeger on a Woody Guthrie song — and those days even inspired his most recent novel, In Hoboken.

Speaking of Bob Dylan and Saratoga Springs, it just so happened that His Bobness was performing on Sunday in that very town — and my guitarist/Dylan fan son and I just happened to have orchestra tickets for the daylong music festival held at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. 

Speaking again of Bob Dylan and Saratoga Springs,  someone was there outside SPAC selling a new book of amazing photos taken by the late Joe Alper — dozens of candid shots he took of young Bob back in the day. Check out  www.bobdylanphotobook.com

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