Title: Baby Let Me Follow You Down: The Illustrated Story of the Cambridge Folk Years

NY, Anchor Press, 1979. 1st ed. hb; Amherst, U. Mass. Press, 1994, 2nd ed. pbk.

Description: 317 p., incl. hundreds of B&W photographs; 27 cm.

Notes: This book is an outstanding history of the explosion of creativity in the Cambridge folk music scene from its beginnings in the late 1950's until its decline in the late 1960's. Compiled by two of the most active participants in the folk community, the book alternates between brief narratives about what occurred, and extensive conversational quotes from those who were there at the time. There are photographs of the musicians on nearly every page, so there is nearly always a picture to go along with every person being discussed or quoted, varying from snapshots to outstanding full-page portraits. The story really comes alive from the combination of the pictures and the first-hand accounts of those exciting times.

The book contains a lot about Dylan's early days, as well as plenty of material about many of his friends and contemporaries, such as Joan Baez, Bob Neuwirth, Albert Grossman, Richard & Mimi Farina, Mike Bloomfield, and dozens of others. Of course Eric Von Schmidt is the musician who Dylan thanks on his first album for teaching him Baby, Let Me Follow You Down, after they met in 'the green pastures of Harvard University.'

Because many people tell their accounts of what happened in those days, the book doesn't move forward in time steadily from beginning to end. The same period is described from many different points of view as the book progresses. This approach yields a much fuller picture of the scene, but it's easy for the reader to lose track of time, so it might have helped if the compilers had given the dates of the events described more often.

The only thing really missing with this book is an index. There is no way to quickly look up specific people, or to refresh one's memory about people discussed earlier by finding them in an index, as there is none. Mentions or discussions of Dylan appear on the following pages in the book: 74-75, 86-91, 114-118. 125-126, 129-131, 152, 167, 172-173, 183, 189, 204, 206, 212, 219-220, 222-233, 236-245, 249-250, 258, 260-265, 267, 277, 280, 288, 290, & 296. Go ahead and peek at these Dylan sections first if you want, but don't let it keep you from reading the book from cover to cover, as it's a wonderful read.

Von Schmidt discussed the book in his interview with Joseph Sia in On The Tracks; Iss #4, Fall 1994, p. 20-25.

Subjects: History

ISBN: 0-87023-925-2 (2nd ed.)
LCCN: 93-48172 (2nd ed.)

Review: by Larry Jaffee in On The Tracks; Iss #4, Fall 1994, p. 26.


Preface to the Second Edition / 9

Foreward / 11

Come All You Fair & Tender Maidens / 12

Leavin' Home / 26

Sail Away, Ladies, Sail Away / 36

Black Is the Color / 48

Baby, Let Me Lay It on You / 60

We Shall Not Be Moved / 92

Overseas Stomp / 104

California to the New York Island / 120

Ocean of Diamonds / 132

Ain't Nobody's Business / 146

Foggy Mountain Top / 154

Storybook Ball / 166

Fixin' to Die / 188

Where Do You Come From? Where Do You Go? / 202

Children of Darkness / 222

It's All Over Now, Baby Blue / 244

Got My Mojo Workin' / 266

Wet Birds Fly at Night / 278

Afterword / 311

Records / 312

Cover Key / 314

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