Dave Van Ronk

Dave Van Ronk

Real Name:
Dave Van Ronk
Profile:
Born 30 June 1936, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Died 10 February 2002, New York, NY, USA

Nicknamed the Mayor of MacDougal Street, New York City native Dave Van Ronk was considered by many to be music's raconteur, troubadour and provocateur. Arriving at Washington Square Park in the mid 1950s during the folk revivalist boom, Van Ronk lived hand-to-mouth while teaching himself to play guitar and dabbling in communist political circles. By 1958, he and life-long friend, musicologist Samuel B. Charters, released their first album, Lyrichord's "Skiffle in Stereo" as members of The Orange Blossom Jug Five. After a stint in the Merchant Marine, tireless gigging in most every cabaret in the city, and a one-off collaboration as a The Foc'sle Singers on Paul Clayton (2)'s album of sea shanties, Van Ronk settled on the lower west side Manhattan, in Greenwich Village.

Referred to as “the great, grizzled, guitarist” by Peter Fornatale, Van Ronk’s music eluded classification. As a self-described ‘moldy fig’ who eschewed the term “folk artist”, Dave Van Ronk’s eclectic blend of dixieland jazz, ragtime, blues, vaudeville and other styles were often in direct conflict with the format-conscious world of the commercial music business. Reminding listeners his only constant was, "I've always been inconsistent”, his recordings followed one rule, “anything that I like and that I think I can find a handle to, I'll take a whack at. And as it has been, so shall it be." Though more an arranger than a songwriter, Van Ronk was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers toward the end of his four plus decade career in December of 1997. Debuting on Moses Asch's Folkways Records label in the early 1960s, Van Ronk moved onto Prestige with Dixieland revivalists The Red Onion Jazz Band and Mercury with The Ragtime Jug Stompers. At the close of the 1960s, Verve Forecast released his sole rock album with the The Hudson Dusters. As the folk boom ebbed, Van Ronk’s gravelly voice was relatively quiet, releasing an album for Polydor in 1972, another the following year on Cadet Records, then landing on the Philo roster in 1976. By the early 1980s, Van Ronk was recording several one-off projects with assorted independent folk labels, including a handful for Samuel B. Charters' New England-based Gazell (2) imprint. Joint ventures with Christine Lavin and Frankie Armstrong followed in the 1990s.

Van Ronk continued performing live right up to his death from complications following colon cancer surgery in Winter 2002. His auto-biography, written with Elijah Wald, and live album, "...And The Tin Pan Bended, And The Story Ended...", which was recorded at the end of his life, were both posthumously released. In the early Summer of 2004, the City of New York commemorated it’s unofficial mayor’s passing by permanently renaming the eastern side of Sheridan Square on Washington Place as Dave Van Ronk Street. Throughout his life, MacDougal Street’s mayor served as a mentor to countless up-and-coming artists that migrated to New York. Bob Dylan, who met Van Ronk upon his arrival from the Midwest, remembers him as "Greenwich Village’s king of the street" where "he reigned supreme." Singer-songwriters such as Tom Paxton, Joni Mitchell, Phil Ochs and Suzanne Vega have all sung his praises as a mentor, teacher and friend. Dave Van Ronk’s younger, west coast contemporary, Tom Waits, paid homage when stating, "In the engine room of the New York Folk Scene shoveling coal into the furnace, one Big Man rules; Dog-faced roustabout songster, bluesman Dave Van Ronk. Long may he howl."
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Dave Van Ronk Discography

Albums

Dave Van Ronk Dave Van Ronk Sings Ballads, Blues & A Spiritual (Album) Folkways Records US 1959 Sell This Version
Dave Van Ronk Dave Van Ronk Sings (Album) Folkways Records US 1961 Sell This Version
Dave Van Ronk Folksinger (Album) Prestige International US 1962 Sell This Version
Dave Van Ronk With The Red Onion Jazz Band Dave Van Ronk With The Red Onion Jazz Band - In The Tradition (Album) Prestige Folklore US 1963 Sell This Version
Dave Van Ronk With The Ragtime Jug Stompers Dave Van Ronk With The Ragtime Jug Stompers - Ragtime Jug Stompers (Album) Mercury US 1964 Sell This Version
Dave Van Ronk Just Dave Van Ronk (Album) Mercury US 1964 Sell This Version
Dave Van Ronk Inside (Album) Prestige Folklore US 1964 Sell This Version
Dave Van Ronk No Dirty Names (Album) Verve Folkways US 1966 Sell This Version
Dave Van Ronk And The Hudson Dusters Dave Van Ronk And The Hudson Dusters - Dave Van Ronk And The Hudson Dusters (Album) Verve Forecast US 1967 Sell This Version
Dave Van Ronk Van Ronk (Album) Polydor, Polydor US 1971 Sell This Version
Dave Van Ronk Songs For Ageing Children (Album) Cadet Records, Chess US 1973 Sell This Version
Dave Van Ronk Sunday Street (Album) Philo, Philo US 1976 Sell This Version
Dave Van Ronk Somebody Else, Not Me (Album) Philo US 1980 Sell This Version
Dave Van Ronk Your Basic Dave Van Ronk (Album) Sonet UK 1982 Sell This Version
Dave Van Ronk St. James Infirmary (Album) Paris Album, Paris Album France 1983 Sell This Version
FK 5017 Dave Van Ronk Dave Van Ronk In Rome(LP, Album) Folkstudio FK 5017 1983 Sell This Version
Dave Van Ronk Going Back To Brooklyn (Album) Reckless, Reckless US 1985 Sell This Version
Bertolt Brecht / Frankie Armstrong, Dave Van Ronk Bertolt Brecht / Frankie Armstrong, Dave Van Ronk - Let No One Deceive You: Songs Of Bertolt Brecht (Album) Aural Tradition Records US 1989 Sell This Version
Dave Van Ronk Presents Uncle Moose And The Kazoo-O-Phonic Jug Band Dave Van Ronk Presents Uncle Moose And The Kazoo-O-Phonic Jug Band - Peter And The Wolf (Album) Alacazam! Canada 1990 Sell This Version
GPCD 2004 Dave Van Ronk Hummin' To Myself: Dave Van Ronk Sings The American Songbook(CD, Album) Gazell (2) GPCD 2004 USA & Canada 1991 Sell This Version
GPCD 2011/12 Dave Van Ronk To All My Friends In Far-Flung Places(2xCD, Album) Gazell (2) GPCD 2011/12 USA & Canada 1994 Sell This Version
ALC 120 Dave Van Ronk From... Another Time & Place (CD, Album) Alcazar Productions ALC 120 US 1995 Sell This Version
JAM 9132-2 Dave Van Ronk Live At Sir George Williams University(CD, Album) Just A Memory JAM 9132-2 Canada 1997 Sell This Version
JUST 166-2 Dave Van Ronk Sweet & Lowdown(CD, Album) Justin Time JUST 166-2 USA & Canada 2001 Sell This Version
SFW CD 40156 Dave Van Ronk ...And The Tin Pan Bended, And The Story Ended...(CD, Album) Smithsonian Folkways SFW CD 40156 US 2004 Sell This Version