Johnny Herald would keep saying to me, "You've got to hear this guy Dylan. He's just fantastic. He's just amazing." He dragged me to Gerdes to see Bob. Bob sang "Talking Bear Mountain Picnic Blues," and I wasn't that much impressed. It wasn't that musical.
A year passed, and one day Bob asked me if I wanted to hear a song he wrote, and he played "Only a Pawn in Their Game." The song just blew my mind. I suddenly understood what everybody was talking about. Instead of a lot of unmusical political complaining, which was how I perceived a lot of the protest-song style, this made sense.
Dylan's songs made me think. Instead of just reciting the obvious, he had a transcendent quality. It wasn't all black and white, and it wasn't so obvious who the villains were. Before this, it was just a lot of sloganeering going on.
The next time he played at Gerdes he sang "Masters of War," and that slayed me. That had me on the floor. Between the civil-rights movement and the whole Russian bomb scare and all that cold war stuff that was going on, he started to really express it as an art form in a way that was multi-leveled and was very deep and went beyond any kind of party sloganeering. He completely raised my social consciousness.
Robbie Woliver, Hoot! A 25-Year History of the Greenwich Village Music Scene, St. Martin's Press, 1986, pp. 85-86.
When we got to the West Coast , they [the Jim Kweskin Jug Band] had three Steve Allen gigs and three weeks at the Troubadour. I got a gig as a cashier at the Ash Grove....
At that time, Dylan and Victor Maimudes and Neuwirth were also hanging out in L.A. Dylan was doing the college circuit, and we'd meet every night for parties. Every night, some rich L.A. person would invite some of us crazies over to his house. And we'd all sing. I remember Dylan or Neuwirth would ask me to sing "Trix [Tricks] Ain't Walkin'." I had little songs that I sang, but just for parties. I didn't really have any particular aspirations. I was just happy to be part of it.
Eric von Schmidt & Jim Rooney, Baby Let Me Follow You Down, Garden City, NY, 1979, pp. 180-183.