Exclusive: Listen to Rare Performances by Ray Charles and Bob Dylan at NYC’s Greatest Forgotten Club
On Sept. 8, 1995, Ray Charles helped Tramps celebrate its 20th birthday.Music Features Ray charles
Did you know that Paste owns the world’s largest collection of live music recordings? It’s true! And what’s even crazier, it’s all free—hundreds of thousands of exclusive songs, concerts and videos that you can listen to and watch right here at Paste.com, from Louis Armstrong to The Who to U2 to Wilco. Every day, we’ll dig through the archive to find the coolest recording we have from that date in history. Search and enjoy!
In many ways, Manhattan has become a graveyard for great music venues: The old CBGB location now houses a designer men’s clothing store; famed St. Marks discotheque Electric Circus is a Chipotle; and dance club the Palladium is now an NYU dorm of the same name. One now-defunct venue that tends to get swept under the rug is Tramps, a small East Village joint that was opened in 1975 by Terry Dunne, who would later go on to manage The Nails. Perhaps Tramps is often forgotten because, unlike other venues, it never attached itself to specific genre, instead showcasing an eclectic range of impressive artists. From Wu-Tang Clan to Elliot Smith, A Tribe Called Quest to Yo La Tengo, Chuck Berry to Ween, the 1,000-capacity venue was a mecca for musical genius in its heyday.
Twenty-two years ago today, on Sept. 8, 1995, Tramps celebrated its 20th anniversary with Ray Charles, who played a special three-day stint in its honor. Over the course of six shows, all of which are available in the Paste vault, the soul icon mainly stuck to the classics—an enjoyable listen for casual and serious fans alike. Listen to Ray Charles sing “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” here.
Sadly, Tramps would permanently close its doors in 1999. For one of the venue’s final shows, Bob Dylan stopped by for a rare club appearance. The performance captures Dylan at his best in the kind of intimate, downtown setting where he got his start. Even better, Dylan ends the show by bringing Elvis Costello onstage. Check out their duet of “I Shall Be Released” below.
Though Tramps is no longer, its legacy is immortalized through the artists who played there, the audiences that watched, and, of course, Paste’s music vault.