Dave Van Ronk

~ Person


David Kenneth Ritz "Dave" Van Ronk (June 30, 1936 – February 10, 2002) was an American folk singer, born in Brooklyn, New York, who settled in Greenwich Village, New York, and was eventually nicknamed the "Mayor of MacDougal Street".

He was an important figure in the acoustic folk revival of the 1960s. His work ranged from old English ballads to 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".

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.

Bob Dylan recorded Van Ronk's arrangement of the traditional song "House of the Rising Sun" on Dylan's first album. A few years later the Animals had a No. 1 hit single with a rock version of the Van-Ronk arrangement of the song, a hit which helped to inaugurate the folk-rock movement.

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.

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Year Title RatingReleases
1959 Dave Van Ronk Sings Ballads, Blues & A Spiritual 1
1961 Dave Van Ronk Sings 1
1963 Folksinger 1
1964 Just Dave Van Ronk 1
1964 Inside Dave Van Ronk 1
1966 No Dirty Names 2
1968 Dave Van Ronk and the Hudson Dusters 1
1971 Van Ronk 1
1973 Songs for Ageing Children 1
1994 To All My Friends in Far-Flung Places 1
1995 From... Another Time & Place 1
2004 ... and the Tin Pan Bended and the Story Ended 1
2015 Hear Me Howl: Live 1964 1
Gambler's Blues 1
Peter and the Wolf 1
Ragtime Jug Stompers 1
Somebody Else, Not Me 1
Sunday Street 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title RatingReleases
1989 Inside Dave Van Ronk 1
1991 The Folkways Years 1959-61 1
2002 Two Sides of Dave Van Ronk 1
2005 The Mayor of MacDougal Street 1
2013 Down in Washington Square: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection 1
A Chrestomathy 1

Album + Live

Year Title RatingReleases
Live at Sir George Williams University 1
Statesboro Blues 1

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