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G.O.A.T. University

All Venue Sessions

The Listening Room

The Earl of Old Town: A Chicago Folk Music Legacy

For many Chicago residents, a stroll up Wells Street near North Avenue in Old Town is a familiar journey, with landmarks like Second City on the left and Wells on Wells on the right. Yet, delving into the history of this vibrant neighborhood reveals a bygone era when Old Town resonated with the sounds of folk music. Where Cocoran's Pub now stands, there once thrived a legendary folk music club known as The Earl of Old Town.

Our introduction to The Earl of Old Town came through a 1970 recording titled “The Gathering at The Earl of Old Town.” The performances and songwriting of Jim Post, Steve Goodman, and other renowned Chicago folk singers captivated us, sparking curiosity about the iconic venue on the album cover. As we delved deeper into its history, We uncovered a rich narrative and received invaluable insights from those who experienced it firsthand, including Ed Holstein, Chris Farrell, and Patti Rain.