What legendary folksinger performed at the historic Cafe Espresso?


This story is part of the Woodstock Audio Adventure Tour. Look for this sign during you next visit.



The Café Espresso opened its doors in 1962 ushering in a new music scene that would become famous worldwide. Folksingers came from all over to play here including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Rambling Jack Elliot and Peter of Peter, Paul and Mary. There is a room upstairs that Dylan retreated to when he needed a quiet place to work. The White Room with a view of Tinker Street is where it is said he wrote “Another Side of Bob Dylan”.

Long time Woodstock resident, folksinger and banjo player Happy Traum remembers the early days of the Café Espresso.

The Café Espresso changed hands and so did the Woodstock music scene. After the festival in 1969, rock and roll dominated the musical landscape as the once small arts colony stepped onto the world stage. But the site of the old Café has remained a cultural anchor of the community. First as the Tinker Street café and in 1977 as The Center for Photography at Woodstock.

"Golden Bird" written and performed by Happy Traum.

All photos courtesy of Monique Paturel.


This story has been condensed and edited from a longer interview.

Interviewee: Happy Traum

Recorded: July 16, 2009

Time Period: 1970's

Subjects: Folksingers, Woodstock, NY, Cafe Espresso, Bob Dylan

Collection: Woodstock Audio Tour

Produced by Eileen McAdam, Narrated by Jim Metzner

Credit: "Golden Bird" written and performed by Happy Traum. All photos courtesy of Monique Paturel.

Transcript: Coming Soon

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Total Comments: 8
Overall Rating: 0 out of 5

Hello Everybody, Marilu Paturel who owned the Espresso Cafe, provided Dylan the space to compose, for many years the Paturel was a family for Dylan. Today Marilu retired to Ajijic, Mexico and is writing the story of their years together.

YES, I too worked at this café, first at 18yrs old in 1974 and later, as the night custodian in 1977 & then again, on as dish washer/ prep/busser thru-1979 (I think? thru-1980 ). I remember Victor saying he was tired of the Espresso & was wanting to open a shoe repair shop in Rhinebeck? I have many memories of this Smokey,fun place but I moved on 50 yrs ago. Such memories may fade but still do remain as persistent in my memory.

Victor and Dagmar Balsamo bought the Espresso in 1969

The Center for Photography replaced Tinker St. Cafe in 1997, not 1977.
Great storytelling otherwise!

I discovered the Espresso Cafe in 1964 by accident on my new Lambretta motor scooter , I was going on a fishing trip and took the wrong exit. I changed my life Clint Hulse

Tinker Street Café did not change to the Center for Photography until...early 2000s I believe. It definitely was not 1977.

Tom Paxton also sang at the Cafe Espresso.
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