On this date in 1936, the “Mayor of MacDougal Street” Dave Van Ronk was born in Brooklyn, NY. Dave is one of those artist’s whose vocals don’t thrill me, but, boy can he play guitar and of course his impact on folk music is immeasurable, and certainly those whose careers he affected are among my all time favorites! In a post he wrote about Van Ronk, Luke Brindley one of the owners of Jammin’ Java in Vienna, Virginia wrote:
his voice is kind of an acquired taste – gruff and howling yet could be tender, expressive and dynamic. his guitar arrangements were first-class though his technique was refreshingly raw and not extremely clean – buzzing strings, long stretches etc. his playing was firmly rooted in the folk/blues style of mississippi john hurt and reverend gary davis but a lot of his arrangements were of cool ragtime songs and piano pieces by scott joplin and others. he sang serious songs, tender, vulnerable love songs, humorous songs and protest, political songs. Full Post
More about Van Ronk from Wikipedia:
He was an important figure in the acoustic folk revival of the 1960s. His work ranged from old English ballads to Bertolt Brecht, blues, gospel, rock, New Orleans jazz, and swing. He was also known for performing instrumental ragtime guitar music, especially his transcription of St. Louis Tickle and Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag. (Check out St’ Louis Tickle)
Van Ronk was a widely admired avuncular figure in “the Village”, presiding over the coffeehouse folk culture and acting as a friend to many up-and-coming artists by inspiring, assisting, and promoting them. Folk performers whom he befriended include Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Patrick Sky, Phil Ochs, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Guthrie Thomas, and Joni Mitchell.
Van Ronk received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) in December 1997. He died in a New York hospital of cardiopulmonary failure while undergoing postoperative treatment for colon cancer. Continue Reading
So here’s some Dave Van Ronk morning music fitting for a Sunday morning….. he’s movin’ up from Saturday alley to “Sunday Street” Happy Birthday Dave….I’m sure your still Mayor of wherever you are and playing duets with Phil!