Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Rock 'n' Roll and the Cleveland Connection

by Deanna R. Adams

One of the original Cleveland coffeehouses was the Left Bank, housed in a basement of an old apartment complex. More cropped up as the fad took hold, offering relaxed meeting places for those too young for the bar scene, places where they could gather and share various talents and interests--all with no cover charge. Other popular coffeehouses were the Well and the Outpost, both in East Cleveland. Faragher's Back Room, on South Taylor road in Cleveland Heights, owned by Bill "Red" Faragher, was more of a club than a coffeehouse, yet its casual atmosphere resembled the latter. It was an early testing ground for budding comedians such as Bill Cosby, the Smothers Brothers, and Ohioan Tim Conway before it majored in the folk scene. That began when a young folk singer named Phil Ochs, then an Ohio State student, started playing and hanging out there during the summer of 1961. Ochs went on to become one of the most notable names in folk music, until his suicide in 1976.

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