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~ Will the Real Dave Van Ronk please stand up ~
January 25, 2014
and any repeat shows including February 27, 2016


From Smithsonian Folkways : Dave Van Ronk (1936-2002) was a leading figure in the Greenwich Village music scene for more than four decades. He epitomized the urban “folksinger”— apprenticing through immersion in the music revival’s New York City epicenter of Washington Square Park. Drawing from and developing a wide repertoire of songs, guitar techniques, and performing skills, he mentored younger musicians and songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Jack Hardy, Suzanne Vega, Christine Lavin, and many others. Down in Washington Square includes 16 never-before-released recordings coupled with tracks from the Smithsonian Folkways archive, spanning early live recordings made in 1958 (one year before his first Folkways album) to his final studio recordings in 2001, just months before his death. It paints a musical mosaic of Van Ronk’s artistry and expands his legacy, keeping alive the genius of a legendary performer who inspired audiences, musicians, and a major motion picture — Inside Llewyn Davis, written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. Three CD box set, 54 tracks, nearly three hours of music, 40-page booklet with extensive notes.    - 




Folk Plus today is exploring the life of Dave Van Ronk through the people who knew him.  They comment on their impressions of the new movie ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’.  Opinions differ but all agree they hope for more interest in folk music, and in Dave Van Ronk himself.  This show is one effort to put the spotlight on Dave.




ElijahWald Introduces Buddy Bolden's Blues   1:36


Dave Van Ronk - Buddy Bolden's Blues 2:48- The Mayor Of MacDougal Street: Rarities 1957-1969 Rootstock Recordings         


Elijah speaks about how he finished the book after the author passed away, and about how the book obviously changed focus with the death of Van Ronk.  He emphasizes that the movie Inside Lewyn Davis is based loosely on the stories in the memoir, and not meant to be any one character.  Characteristics of people presented in the book are found randomly in the characters they invent for the movie.  Elijah says that the Coen brothers used the book " exactly as Dave and I had planned, that is they invented their own individual and put him in that world that we tried to conjure up"


ElijahWald Introduces ….All Over You    13:21  


Elijah chose this to introduce – a Dylan song -  to remind listeners of  how badly people remember that time.  Van Ronk performs this with a full score New Orleans Jazz Band, “sounding nothing like Dave and nothing like we remember the Greenwich village folk scene to be”. Elijah calls Dave the king of that era before the folk revival when folks were into jazz and flamenco and not yet what we know now as '60s folk music.'


Dave Van Ronk        Bob Dylan     If I Had To Do It All Over Again I'd Do It All Over You  3:31    In The Tradition        Folk


Elijah Wald Explains the story behind that song. It was a bet by a random man in a bar to write a song with that title, and Dylan, a day later, did.     0:47   


Elijah created a page for those interested in Dave Van Ronk now:



Christine Lavin speaks about meeting Dave, moving to NYC and exchanging help to document his songs in his unique notation, for guitar lessons, over the background of the Maple Leaf Rag. 


Dave Van Ronk                    Maple Leaf Rag       [in and fading out]    Sunday Street           Singer/Songwriter


Christine Lavin speaks about her impression of the movie and how vr was always holding court and loved to cook and have music around.  For her the film came alive when 

missed the life and originality and artistic angle that dave brought to music.  Thanks the C brothers for helping to put the spotlight on dave.



Mark Moss, editor of Sing Out!, speaks about Van Ronk's intelligence at a PHD level for thirst in education on a variety of subjects. 

Moss responds to the movie and refers to his editorial in Sing Out, explaining he never expected it to be a documentary or portray Van Ronk.  He enjoyed the movie and first hand since the crew used sing out resource centre material to dress out offices, and clubs.  exp me not about dvr or p mayor of Macdougal Street was "a significant well of inspiration for ideas for the movie" using incidents  in the book to build an original script 


Mark quotes Dave as saying any attention on the scene is good, so he doesn't feel Dave would be offended or angry, but happy that all his work is now available for download.


[Mark Moss:

Mark’s editorial asserts that the film Inside Llewyn Davis is not a documentary, and people should stop protesting about it.



David Massengill said he first heard Van Ronk singing he was a friend of mine, at a memorial for Phil Ochs.  


Dave Van Ronk        -He Was A Friend Of Mine 3:34    Inside Dave Van Ronk - Fantasy 


He was introduced to Dave when Dave Bromberg introduced them in the dressing room at the bottom line. He then toured with Van Ronk as his opening act and driver.  He traded lessons for this opportunity and dave said "congratulations, you are now a bad guitar player"

He also toured with Van Ronk, acting as his driver.


Dave said that Dave played Green Green Grassy Road every night, as he believed in bad luck, and thought it would be bad luck not to play it every night. 



Dave Van Ronk - Green, Green Rocky Road     3:45    Inside Llewyn Davis Original Soundtrack Recording - nonesuch records 


When Dave died, he began working up Dave's songs and put out a release Dave on Dave with some of his own songs.


Dave Van Ronk - Candy Man        [up and under and out during speaking ]


David Massengill - Talkin’ Dave Van Ronk Blues       4:18    Dave On Dave: A Tribute To Dave Van Ronk - Gadfly  


Andrea Vuocculo came to the village in the early 80’s. She is Dave Van Ronk’s widow. She states that the movie is just the slice of a bad weak for a struggling artist, and that he is nothing like Dave, and was not meant to be.  She admits that they took some art pieces from their apartment, but the characters were not meant to be anyone.


Dave Van Ronk                    Another Time And Place    4:31    Down In Washington Square: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection        


Andrea said that in Italy, Another Time and Place was a favorite song.

She says there is a renewed interest in his work and that the Smithsonian release is going into a second printing.


Dave Van Ronk                    Jelly Jelly      3:03    Down In Washington Square: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection         Blues


Andrea said he was so intelligent and so funny.  She wished he were he being interviewed now and able to have finished the book and do a book tour.  She doesn't know what he would have thought to the movie, Inside Llewyn Davis, based on his memoir, but she is sure he would have loved all the controversy and attention.




More on Van Ronk:


A new page by Elijah Wald, especially for those now interested in Van Ronk because of the movie



 Down in Washington Square, a collection of Van Ronk's recordings from 1958 to 2001 is on the Smithsonian Folkways label.




TERRI THAL – Manager and X wife of Dave Van Ronk





SUZANNE VEGA’S comment left out of the New York Times article:


This paragraph was left out of the NYT article,w here Suzanne spoke about van ronk himself: 

I feel that the actual man and character of Van Ronk isn't here. When I think of him I think of his big booming laugh,("Ha! Ha!")  his rough charm, his hair falling in his eyes, shouting with laughter, drinking. All his stories. Passionate, idiosyncratic, charismatic. Sometimes irascible - he shouted at me once, and I never forgot it. "You don't give a shit about folk music!"   (He was wrong.) It would have been a better picture with him in it.


 T Bone on BBC radio -- said that Llewyn Davis is a composite character who in some ways is more early Bob Dylan than having any significant resemblance to Dave Van Ronk. 


Bob Dylan called him his first New York muse


("Even in the dark," Van Ronk recalled, "the Gaslight was pretty horrible.")


And here is the review in Sing Out of the soundtrack ]


who's playing January 2014 locally:

Tonight: Spuyten Duyvil at the Silk Mill in Hawley, PA

Sunday, January 26- Brother Sun
 at the Cooperage 1030 Main Street Honesdale PA
Pat Wictor      Joe Jencks      Greg Greenway

also at the cooperage:   
Sunday,  February 9: Joe Crookston

Open mic's in the area:

Singer Songwriter Tuesdays happens at the Rosendale Cafe in Rosendale NY
Antoine runs a thursday night open mike at the Dancing Cat in Bethel, NY near the woodstock site
Kevin McDanial runs an open mike at Frankie and Johnnies, 845 434 8051 in Hurleyville, NY 7 - 10 pm
Cafe Devine in Callicoon, NY runs an open mike every 4th friday
Tuesdays in Mongaup Valley at River's Edge there is an open mike

support local music at these area clubs:
online reading, reviews and discussions

send local artist appearances to FOLKPLUS at g mail dot com

CD Submissions: 45 Dwyer Ave, Liberty N.Y. 12754 
John Webber handles audio/website issues for Folk Plus


last modification 1/2012