Dave Van Ronk

Dave Van Ronk

Real Name:
Dave Van Ronk
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."
In Groups:

Dave Van Ronk Discography


FS 3818 Dave Van Ronk Dave Van Ronk Sings Ballads, Blues & A Spiritual (Album) Folkways Records FS 3818 US 1959 Sell This Version
FA 2383 Dave Van Ronk Dave Van Ronk Sings (Album) Folkways Records FA 2383 US 1961 Sell This Version
INT 13056 Dave Van Ronk Folksinger Prestige International INT 13056 US 1962 Sell This Version
FL 14001 Dave Van Ronk With The Red Onion Jazz Band Dave Van Ronk With The Red Onion Jazz Band - In The Tradition (Album) Prestige Folklore FL 14001 US 1963 Sell This Version
SR 60864 Dave Van Ronk With The Ragtime Jug Stompers Dave Van Ronk With The Ragtime Jug Stompers - Ragtime Jug Stompers (Album) Mercury SR 60864 US 1964 Sell This Version
SR 60908 Dave Van Ronk Just Dave Van Ronk (Album) Mercury SR 60908 US 1964 Sell This Version
FL 14025 Dave Van Ronk Inside (Album) Prestige Folklore FL 14025 US 1964 Sell This Version
FTS-3009 Dave Van Ronk No Dirty Names Verve Folkways FTS-3009 US 1966 Sell This Version
FTS-3041 Dave Van Ronk And The Hudson Dusters Dave Van Ronk And The Hudson Dusters - Dave Van Ronk And The Hudson Dusters (Album) Verve Forecast FTS-3041 US 1967 Sell This Version
24-4052, 2425 048 Dave Van Ronk Van Ronk (Album) Polydor, Polydor 24-4052, 2425 048 US 1971 Sell This Version
CA 50044 Dave Van Ronk Songs For Ageing Children (Album) Cadet Records, Chess CA 50044 US 1973 Sell This Version
PH 1036, Philo 1036 Dave Van Ronk Sunday Street (Album) Philo, Philo PH 1036, Philo 1036 US 1976 Sell This Version
PH 1065 Dave Van Ronk Somebody Else, Not Me (Album) Philo PH 1065 US 1980 Sell This Version
SNTF 885 Dave Van Ronk Your Basic Dave Van Ronk (Album) Sonet SNTF 885 UK 1982 Sell This Version
DKB 3359, 3359 Dave Van Ronk St. James Infirmary (Album) Paris Album, Paris Album DKB 3359, 3359 France 1983 Sell This Version
FK 5017 Dave Van Ronk Dave Van Ronk In Rome(12", Album) Folkstudio FK 5017 1983 Sell This Version
RK 1916, RK1916 Dave Van Ronk Going Back To Brooklyn (Album) Reckless, Reckless RK 1916, RK1916 US 1985 Sell This Version
ATR 107 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 ATR 107 US 1989 Sell This Version
ALACAZAM1004 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! ALACAZAM1004 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