History 1960′s

1960′s at The Troubadour

 The 1960s was a defining decade in the Troubadour’s history. But as the old saying goes ‘if you can remember the ’60s, you weren’t there’, and as a result, we have very little in the way of hard facts, dates and photos.
We are frequently contacted by people who used to hang out at the Troubadour during this time, and the personal anecdotes are always a pleasure to come across. Many people were so drawn to the uniqueness of The Troubadour and everything that it embodied that they practically lived here. They’d do a bit of washing up or odd jobs in return for an endless supply of coffee, soup, good company and great music. It was a place for free thinkers. The Troubadour encapsulated the spirit of the time.

Help us piece together the past

If you have any information, anecdotes, stories, photos, or any memorabilia relating to the Troubadour in the ’60s (or indeed any other time) then do please get in touch by emailing  susie@troubadour.co.uk. The Troubadour is The Troubadour because of its history. As its current custodians, we feel that documenting its past is as important as ensuring its future.
Currently we do know that:-
1962 – Bob Dylan played his first impromptu gig at the Troubdour. He was a guest of Richard Fariña who was a regular musician at the Troubadour. Amazingly, Alison Chapman McLean’s photo of this has found it way to us via Richard Fariña’s website


The above photo shows Fariña, Dylan, and von Schmidt living it up. Off to the side are Ethan Signer (back turned) and Martin Carthy. This photo also appeared in Positively 4th Street, but was not credited to Alison Chapman McLean, and Martin Carthy was not identified

A great quote from Mr. Dylan -

“I was lingering out on the pavement. There was a missing person inside of myself and I needed to find him… I felt done for, an empty burned-out wreck . . . Wherever I am, I’m a ’60s troubadour, a folk-rock relic, a wordsmith from bygone days, a fictitious head of state from a place nobody knows.”

Video:  Bob Dylan – “The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964″

We also know that:- 1961 – Paul McNeill played
In 1962 the following played: Davey Graham, Martin Carthy, Jeanie Robertso, The McPeakes, Nigel Denver, Dick Fariña, Louis Killen all played.
Paul Simon played in 1963/64.


Michael Van Bloeman founder of The Troubadour. Photo taken in 1964.
We were recently sent some images of Spanish dancing in the Troubadour Club, circa approximately 1960 -

Flamenco 4

A recent email from a past veteran, and some photos of old programmes-


Was browsing your website and remembered these programmes from 1967/68.  My husband, Doug and I were members of the Troubadour folk club throughout the late 60s and early 70s.  We became friends of Redd Sullivan and Martin Winsor who ran it at that time.  Also of Dolly Terfus who sat at the door.  When none of them could be there Doug MCd and I did the door  – think he enjoyed that more than me!
We heard Sandy Denny, Trevor Lucas, Al Stewart, Long John Baldry, Joshua Rifkin, Lou Killen… the list is endless and varied.  You probably know the story of Dolly being heard to say, ‘I don’t care if your name is Bob Dylan, you can’t bring six non-paying guests in here’ and discovering that she was talking to Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary, Odetta and their manager.
There is one more programme but it seems to be a big file for reasons I can’t work out.  I also have a photo of our band, The Fo’c’sle, taken in Nov 1967 – its very dark – atmospheric I suppose!
Really glad that the Troubadour still exists as a club – so many memories!
Kate Brown”

London ’60s week

See The Troubadour Twist
For the next decade we will be collaborating with London 60s week. This is a celebration, 50 years on, of an extraordinary decade when London led the world in a new cultural and social direction. During the week of 19th – 28th July 2013, there’ll be live performances, talks, fashion shows, films and loads more all in aide of The London 60s Week Trust.
London 60s Week’s primary purpose is to celebrate the creative explosion of London during the 60s. They believe the only way to do this is by bringing generations together. Intergenerational activity is the key to promoting mutual respect between people of all backgrounds by providing opportunities to learn and exchange experiences, knowledge and cultural traditions.
London in the 60s was the city of the decade because the young made themselves heard through their energy, creativity and spirit. London 60s Week embraces this legacy and passion while looking towards the future.
This annual event is a city wide celebration of year long activities bringing generations together highlighting the importance of intergenerational working with Age Concern, Help The Aged, The WI, The Bobby Moore fund to name a few who all know the value in building understanding, respect & pride in the London generation of the 60s and the London generation of the now. Read more