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Dylan dropped out of college at the end of his first year (May 1960). In January 1961, he traveled to New York City, hoping to perform there and visit his musical idol Woody Guthrie, who was seriously ill with Huntington’s Disease in Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital. Guthrie had been a revelation to Dylan and was the biggest influence on his early performances. Describing Guthrie’s impact on him, Dylan later wrote: “The songs themselves had the infinite sweep of humanity in them … [He] was the true voice of the American spirit. I said to myself I was going to be Guthrie’s greatest disciple.” As well as visiting Guthrie in the hospital, Dylan befriended Guthrie’s acolyte Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. Much of Guthrie’s repertoire was actually channeled through Elliott, and Dylan paid tribute to Elliott in Chronicles (2004).
From February 1961, Dylan played at various clubs around Greenwich Village. He befriended and picked up material from many folk singers in the Village scene, including Dave Van Ronk, Fred Neil, Odetta, the New Lost City Ramblers, and Irish musicians Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers. In September, Dylan gained some public recognition when Robert Shelton wrote a positive review in The New York Times of a show at Gerde’s Folk City. The same month Dylan played harmonica on folk singer Carolyn Hester’s eponymous third album, which brought his talents to the attention of the album’s producer, John Hammond. Hammond signed Dylan to Columbia Records in October. The performances on his first Columbia album, Bob Dylan, released in March 1962, consisted of familiar folk, blues and gospel material combined with two original compositions. The album made little impact, selling only 5,000 copies in its first year, just enough to break even. Within Columbia Records, some referred to the singer as “Hammond’s Folly” and suggested dropping his contract, but Hammond defended Dylan vigorously and was supported by Johnny Cash, an early fan of Dylan. In March 1962, Dylan contributed harmonica and back-up vocals to the album Three Kings and the Queen, accompanying Victoria Spivey and Big Joe Williams on a recording for Spivey Records. While working for Columbia, Dylan also recorded several songs under the pseudonym Blind Boy Grunt, for Broadside Magazine, a folk music magazine and record label. Dylan used the pseudonym Bob Landy to record as a piano player on The Blues Project, a 1964 anthology album issued by Elektra Records. Under the pseudonym Tedham Porterhouse, Dylan contributed harmonica to Ramblin’ Jack Elliott’s 1964 album Jack Elliott.
How to Learn The Piano Part
Perhaps the easiest way to get super-inspired is to try to meet up with other people learning piano. One can find rare internet groups formed on Facebook and Mixer which may assist you to reach out and find other people with your music tastes. Nothing beats a personal jamming session with other idea-hungry pianists.