“Bob Dylan’s Pals and Me “
Robert Leaman Sanders
So, my friend says: “Robert, I’ll show you some cool moves on guitar. Only a rare few in the whole world know ‘em. I got Bobby to teach me. I told Bob, hey, look, I gave you my bedroom to live in. The least you could do is show me some moves. Bob caved in and gave me guitar lessons.”
That’s what my friend, Peter, told me back in New York. Well, dear reader, I picked my friend Peter’s brain. I mastered those very same cool sounding variations of guitar chords he got from Dylan and I went out and started singing and playing my own original songs way back when. I played what I call The Greenwich Village Circuit -The Gaslight Lounge, Kettle-of-Fish, Paul Colby’s Bitter End, Gurdie’s Folk City, the whole bit. But, this reminiscence is not really about me. It is more about how I crossed paths with the incomparable Bob Dylan even if only a trifle. One night, when my band and I had just finished playing a set at a private party in Harlem, New York, this kid, by the name of Peter, comes up to me and he says: “I want to manage you.” I said to him: “Good. You can manage me. You can get me a recording contract like as soon as possible.” The kid says: “Okay.” I said: “Do you know anything about the music business?” Peter says: “Meet me at my mom’s house tomorrow. She’ll tell you.”
So I go. I meet his mom. Her name was Eve McKenzie. Eve was a Broadway stage show costume designer. At the time, she was working with the great Jerome Robbins – Broadway’s West Side Story. When I got there, Eve and her super nice guy husband, Mac, gave me a quick tour of their modest apartment, then they sat me down at the kitchen table. Mac poured me a whiskey – in quite a dignified way. I began sipping. Eve says to me: “My son, Peter, thinks you have a marvelous singing voice. “I said: “Thank you. “She says: “Okay. We, in this family, know a little something about show business and musicians because, well…”and then Mrs. McKenzie began to tell me things that were certainly interesting and truly amusing. She told me of how her son, Peter, volunteered to give up the bedroom he had grown up in in that apartment to Bob Dylan when Bob first arrived in New York and started playing the coffee houses near Washington Square Park of The Village.