Music Article

Dave Van Ronk

(1936-2002)

Dave Van Ronk
Image credit: Dave Van Ronk: John Byrne Cooke/www.cookephoto.com

Why Dylan's a fan of Dave Van Ronk

In Dylan's Words ''I'd heard Van Ronk back in the Midwest on records and thought he was pretty great, copied some of his recordings phrase for phrase. He was passionate and stinging, sang like a soldier of fortune and sounded like he paid the price. Van Ronk could howl and whisper, turn blues into ballads and ballads into blues. I loved his style.''

Let Us Explain The ''grand uncle of Greenwich Village'' (see his memoir The Mayor of MacDougal Street) met Dylan soon after he moved to New York City and helped him graduate from smalltime clubs to respected Greenwich venues like Gaslight. As for Van Ronk's own music, he was a finger picking guitar virtuoso as well as a master at bringing a contemporary feel to classic acoustic blues songs.

Suggested Spin Going Back to Brooklyn (Gazell, 1994), a rare instance of original Van Ronk recordings — which took decades to write.

On the Web
Best Unofficial Site
Listen and Learn Hear rare Real Audio recordings of numerous Van Ronk interviews, including one from the year before his death.
Van Ronk on Dylan Von Ronk's writings, with photos of the pair
His Inspiration Read about Van Ronk's array of influences from across all genres

Originally posted Sep 16, 2005
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