A setlist. It contains a listing of the songs that I regularly performed when I composed the list. It’s very late, probably around 1977. But, the first 28 songs all date from sets I did from the 1960s in the Village. Some I still know, and could play blind drunk on the floor of an apartment on Christopher Street. That happened, not to me, but a very famous performer who passed out in 1964 in said apartment. I think it might have been Van Ronk or Havens who said: “put his ax in his hands, and I bet he’ll start playing.” He did. In those days, almost everyone knew lots of performance material cold. Coffeehouse playing wasn’t necessarily lucrative, but it was a living. We all had setlists, and mine was neither distinguished nor as expansive as some.
So whether he was giving us all a rise or not, we all howled at the result. And we respected how professional the performance was under challenging circumstances.
This one was more of a reference list of stuff I could put together in different ways depending on mood or need. Narrower ones might get taped to the top of my guitar. Depending on what I was playing, it might be my nylon string old friend “Charlie,” or the speed necked Gibson “I.O.U.”
The spill on the list looks like beer.
Van Ronk once put together a song of all the Towns on the Garden State Freeway – Garden State Stomp. Most of us could have composed similar material of all the coffeehouses, bars, cheap clubs, street corners, and parties that we frequented while keeping it all together. We knew this stuff better than we knew our girlfriends’ names, and that may explain why we had so many bad relationships.