The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #126067 Message #2797234
Posted By: Jerry Rasmussen
27-Dec-09 - 10:24 AM
Thread Name: Dave Van Ronk's Memoirs
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk's Memoirs
I took lessons from Dave back in the early 60's and was a regular at the Monday night hoots at the Gaslight Cafe. The book rings true, but like all books, it only reflects part of Dave's personality. I remember Dave as Rumpledstiltskin. Maybe that's because when I arrived at his apartment when he was married to Terry, he always looked he'd just gotten out of bed when he came to the door. He was dressed, but there was something comically disheveled about him. Half of the lessons were listening to records. Dave would show me a couple of finger picking patterns and I'd run through them a few times to make sure I understood them. And then we'd listen to records. That was where I first heard the Carter Family, and was bone-chilled hearing Dark Was The Night and Cold Was The Ground by Blind Willie Johnson. I liked the way Dave taught. In later years I found myself teaching much the same way. He didn't show me how to copy his arrangements, and encouraged me to take on songs I liked, encorporating the picking styles he was teaching me. I had no desire to be Dave Van Ronk, musically or otherwise, although I liked him as a person and character. As far as I could tell, he had no desire to be me. After three months of lessons he felt he'd taught me all I needed to know and encouraged me to stop taking lessons. I respected that, too.
I'm heading out the door to church. I may add more when I come back.