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Dave Van Ronk book

07 May 05 - 12:21 PM (#1480058)
Subject: Dav Van Ronk autobiography
From: GUEST

Anybody here read Dave Van Ronk's Mayor of MacDougal Street autobiography?


07 May 05 - 12:35 PM (#1480067)
Subject: RE: Dav Van Ronk book
From: Jerry Rasmussen

I plan to pick it up. dwditty has it. Should be great reading..

Jerry


07 May 05 - 12:44 PM (#1480074)
Subject: RE: Dav Van Ronk book
From: dwditty

DOn't even think about it....just get it! Some hilarious stories and a first hand account of Greenwhich Village late 50's to early 60's. Good books tores will have it...as well as on line stores. I got it at Barnes & Noble.


07 May 05 - 01:18 PM (#1480087)
Subject: RE: Dav Van Ronk book
From: Jerry Rasmussen

I just orderded mine from amazon.com. I was in the Village from 1960-64 and took lessons from Dave, so I know there'll be a lot of familiar names and places in the book.

Jerry


07 May 05 - 02:38 PM (#1480125)
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk book
From: GUEST,Scott W.

Jerry,

Just curious: how much were your lessons with Dave at the time, and what skills did he teach you?


07 May 05 - 02:57 PM (#1480135)
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk book
From: GUEST,Tunesmith

Must get the book!! Talking of Dave, he once - amazingly - turned up as a guest on the British version of the tv show "This is your life". The subject of the programme was Scottish boxer Jim Watt, who once held the world light-weight title. It turned out that he was a big Dave Van Ronk fan.


07 May 05 - 03:19 PM (#1480147)
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk book
From: Jerry Rasmussen

Scott:

From what I remember, the lessons were either $5 or $10 for a half hour session, which always ran closer to an hour. Hard to compare to today's money.

I took lessons from Dave for about three months. I wanted to learn to finger pick... not blues, necessarily. Dave taught me basic picking patterns with tablature (which I still have kicking around here somewhere) beginning with more of a Travis picking style. I learned You'e A Good Old Wagon, Daddy But You Done Broke Down, and several of the earliest songs he recorded. Once I had a good grasp of finger picking, including Mississippi John Hurt's style, Dave gave me a few lessons on a blues style without an alternating bass. When I asked for lessons, I made it clear up front that I didn't want to play blues, and that was fine with him. He had a good grasp of all styles of picking and was an excellent teacher.

The few blues chops he showed me kinda kicked around in my mind over the years, and there were always a small number of country blues songs I did (none of which I learned from Dave.) When I started a gospel quartet, doing old black gospel music, the blues licks that Dave had showed me so many years ago turned out to be invaluable. Perhaps the most important thing he taught me was not to be intimidated or feel limited by what a guitar can do. Like all good teacher's, Dave wasn't interested in creating Dave Clones. He encouraged me to develop my own style. I think he would have gotten a kick out of my guitar style with black gospel music. He could hear faint traces of those lessons he taught me forty years ago, and would appreciate breaking up the rhythm and using the guitar to support the vocal, not the other way around.

Dave was also the person who finally encouraged me to play in public for the first time at a hootenanny at the Gaslight Cafe. I thought that I stunk, and I probably did, but he was very complimentary. Maybe that was in part because the more songs I'd get up do, the more time he could spend up in the Kettle Of Fish drinking...

Jerry


07 May 05 - 05:15 PM (#1480215)
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk book
From: GUEST,Scott W.

Jerry,

Did he explain other things like transposing,etc? Also, what was NY like in those days?

Scott


07 May 05 - 05:20 PM (#1480218)
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk book
From: GUEST

The book is just great---and, as Elijah Wald says, with few exceptions it is all Dave Van Ronk's words and writing.

The anecdotes and the rememberances of the era, as well as Dave's early life, are memorable. The book only goes as far as the folk boom of the 60s ---and as Dave's grandmother used to say (Elijah Wald explained thatto me)..."the story ended and the tin pan bended".

Along with the book there is also a CD available of songs (with the exception of 2 or 3) that were never commercially recorded. Truly gems.

I am happy to say that Elijah Wald will be my guest on WFDU's Traditions program on May 29. We plan to spend about an hour on the book and the music of DVR.

Bill Hahn


09 May 05 - 04:32 PM (#1481044)
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk book
From: dwditty

Jerry,

Your recollection of the Gaslight hoots matched DVR's to the letter - I am surprised he did not mention you by name!!!! : )

dw


09 May 05 - 05:39 PM (#1481083)
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk book
From: GUEST

Here's a link to Mike Regenstreif's review of Dave Van Ronk's book.

link to Mike Regenstreif on Dave Van Ronk book


09 May 05 - 07:13 PM (#1481149)
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk book
From: PoppaGator

I just went to my local public library's website in hopes of placing this book on hold.

The New Orleans Public Library does not (yet) show Dave's book as part of its collection, but they do show one item with Dave as "author":

"Dave van Ronk presents Uncle Moose and the Kazoo-o-phonic Jug Band (Sound Recording)" -- classified as "Children's."

I wonder why this wasn't mentioned in the recent discussion of Dave's various with-a-band projects (one or two jug bands, Red Onion Jazz Band, Hudson Dusters, etc.)


09 May 05 - 10:04 PM (#1481247)
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk book
From: dwditty

Uncle moose is a great album (also available on CD). Guy Van Duser, Billy Novick, and lots of others. A complete rendition on Peter and the Wolf (Was Sergei(sp?) thinking Jug Band when he wrote it?) as well as 6 or 8 other great songs that kids of all ages will certainly enjoy.


09 May 05 - 10:23 PM (#1481255)
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk book
From: Jerry Rasmussen

As for transposing... yes, Dave would give me songs in one key and ask me to work them out in another. Interestingly, looking back, Dave didn't use bar chords much (I don't remember him using them at all.) Suited me fine, as I never have, either. That's why God gave us opposable thumbs.

I've ordered the book, and am looking forward to reading it. I've been cruising through another book that really captures the feeling of those days, Hoot: A 25-Year History Of The Greenwich Village Music Scene by Robbie Woliver, published by St. Martin's Press.

What was it like in the Village in those days? I swear the copys could pull you over for suspicious behavior if you weren't carrying a guitar case. When I came there in 1960, everything was still very low key. Dave had recorded one album on Folkways, and most of the musicians I heard were just getting started. Tom Paxton recorded his first album on the Gaslight label (put out by the Gaslight Cafe) Peter LaFarge was just starting to record, Peter, Paul and Mary, The Loving Spoonful and the Even Dozen Jug Band weren't even ideas yet. Pete Stampfel and Steve Weber were playing all the small coffee houses.. even the pass the hat places. Reverend Gary Davis played the pass the hat hole in the wall places, and I saw him break down and cry of stage more than once, because someone had stolen his big Gibson guitar. Around 1962, everything started changing. Much of it was because recording companies were starting to realize they could make a few bucks off folk music. There was a real buzz in the air, as people started to get signed to recording contracts. Ken Goldstein was checking out the open mike nights and coffee houses and signing people, and when Dylan arrived, and then got signed to Columbia, the excitement was beyond control. As a friend of mine said to me, after he'd been signed to a now-defunct new label, "They oughta record you. There are people worse than you who are being recorded." Somehow, I didn't find that comforting.

I remember going down into the Gaslight Cafe one evening when Peter LaFarge was playing there and I'd talked to him casually a few times. He said, "you'd better start writing songs. That's what people are looking for." And he was right, of course. Meanwhile, I was trying to sound like a scratchy old 78 rpm, singing in my most irritating nasal, no-vibrato old fogie voice.

Mostly, everyone seemed genuinely excited about everyone else, and I saw very little jealousy. I don't think that I am glorifying those days out of nostalgia. I see that same attitude on Mudcat from 95% of the Catters..

I could go on and on, but others have done it far better than me.

Jerry


10 May 05 - 12:30 AM (#1481309)
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk book
From: dwditty

The 25 Year History is a fun book, Jerry....although I admit that I stopped once I didn't recognize anyone. I bought it on ebay a year or so ago.


10 May 05 - 01:07 PM (#1481753)
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk book
From: GUEST,Tracy in Kansas

Jerry R. and Others (who were there in the Village),

What were your thoughts on seeing and hearing artists like Judy Collins, Odetta and Judy Collins (especially in their early years?)

Tracy


10 May 05 - 02:14 PM (#1481801)
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk book
From: Jerry Rasmussen

I heard Judy Collins at the Bitter End, very early on in her career. As it turned out, Theodore Bikel came that night to hear her and sat at my table. Like every other full-blooded male, I immediately fell in love with her. She was the whole package... a wonderful, warm performer, a beautiful woman with a stunning voice. This was before she became a folk diva and was still doing mostly traditional folk.
I thought that Odetta was an enormously powerful singer, but at that time she had a very limited repertoire that she was performing. I reached a point where I really didn't want to hear Water Boy any more.
That may just have been her management trying to plug her early albums, but I felt that was a limitation in her music. I also would have liked to hear a wider range in delivery than she was presenting at that time. I haven't really heard her much in later years .. never "live", or even on record. She might have become much more multi-dimensional since then.

One of the singers who impressed me most was Fred Neil. He was an amazing singer, and a very approachable person. Like most of the performers at that time, he was very happy to receive kind words and would sit down and talk with a stranger, if someone approached him.
He seemed to be a major talent that got lost in the shuffle. I'm glad that they re-issued some of his material. At the time I heard him, he didn't have an album out, but had cut a couple of 45 rpms. That sounds funny to me now. Who wuld expect to hear a folk song by a little known singer, on a juke box? He never seemed to carry any around for sale, so I don't know what became of them..

Jerry


10 May 05 - 03:21 PM (#1481863)
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk book
From: Mike Regenstreif

Thanks to whoever posted the link to my review of Dave's book. As I mentioned in the review, it's the best book that I've ever read about the Village folk scene (and I've read most of the ones that have been written over the years).

Mike Regenstreif


10 May 05 - 09:31 PM (#1482127)
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk book
From: GUEST,Tracy in Kansas

Hi Jerry,

I also meant to ask about Joan Baez and Carolyn Hester (during their early days in the Village.) Were you surprised when Baez, Judy Collins and Dylan became folk superstars/legends?

Tracy


10 May 05 - 10:41 PM (#1482149)
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk book
From: Jerry Rasmussen

Hi, Tracy: Dylan burst on the scene so dramatically that it was no surprise that he hit it big. It seemed like one day word started getting around and the next day he was scheduled to be on the Ed Sullivan Show. Joan Baez was much more of a Boston scene discovery. I never heard her, or even saw that she was singing anywhere in the Village, or anywhere in New York City in the years I was there.. from 1960-64. Judy Collins already seemed well known by the time I first heard her, although her evolution into an art and pop singer was somewhat of a surprise.

Jerry


11 May 05 - 08:18 AM (#1482376)
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk book
From: Big Al Whittle

They seem to keep Elijah Wald's books on a very high shelf. the Josh White one took ages to arrive and now this Van Ronk one seems to be travelling to my house the pretty way, taking in a few sights, stopping off for drinks with its pals ........

If its anything like the Josh White one though, it will be well worth the wait.


11 May 05 - 08:46 AM (#1482394)
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk book
From: GUEST,Dylanology major

Dylan burst on the scene so dramatically that it was no surprise that he hit it big. It seemed like one day word started getting around and the next day he was scheduled to be on the Ed Sullivan Show.

You must have been smoking those funny cigarettes if your sense of time is so warped. Dylan started out in Greenwich Village in January 1961 and was scheduled for the Sullivan Show of May 12, 1963. 28 months (well over two years)is not exactly the next day.


11 May 05 - 08:58 AM (#1482404)
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk book
From: Jerry Rasmussen

Sheesh, Dylanology. I said that it "seemed" like the next day. Not everyone was aware of Dylan the day that he arrived in Greenwich Village. It wasn't until September 29, 1961 that Dylan first played at Folk City. After the New York Times review, I think everyone realized that he was going to be a big "star." Exactly how "big" was still a surprise.

I don't claim to be an expert on anything. I am only responding with my personal awareness of people on the Village folk scene, which was probably closer to the average person's awareness than the inner circle of musicians, like Dave Van Ronk. I only heard Dylan once at the Gaslight when he and Johnny Cash dropped in, spur of the moment. They both were having ozone moments, and Dylan only played guitar behind Cash, sitting down on the stage in the background.

While I spent a lot of time in the Village during those days, I wasn't into the drug scene, or the heavy drinking, so I lived mostly on the surface. By choice.

There was plenty on the surface to enjoy, though.

Jerry


15 May 05 - 01:13 AM (#1485161)
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk book
From: Big Al Whittle

Received the book yesterday. it is totally utterly brilliant, an absolute joy. A really inspiring document about a talented man - the slings and arrows, the dedication, the humour, the intelligence......
A public thank you to Elijah Wald.

and to the rest of you - read it!

all the best

big al whittle


15 May 05 - 11:34 AM (#1485386)
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk book
From: GUEST,Allan S.

Does anyone remember or know what happened to Anne Byrd who sang in the village at that time?? I understand she was on a recording "Folksingers of Washington Square" we have been looking for her.


03 Jun 05 - 10:09 PM (#1499847)
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk book
From: Joybell

hildebrand here: Dave's lady, Andrea Vuocolo very kindly sent us a copy of the book, which i have been devouring. it is an absolute delight, unputdownable. Dave was so perceptive, so insightful, so honest, and so articulate that he brings that world, the music, and the musicians, to life with great vividness. you don't have to be a New Yorker (i'm from iowa) to find this totally absorbing. fanatically recommended. hildebrand


13 Apr 06 - 03:11 AM (#1717051)
Subject: Motherless Children
From: GUEST,jzatkin@yahoo.com

I've been trying to figure out how DVR played Motherless Children - it's still a complete mystery!! Anybody have any hints to pass along - PLEASE!!


13 Apr 06 - 08:03 PM (#1717650)
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk book
From: Tannywheeler

Does anyone know if there is a DvR songbook from the 1970s or '80s put out by a small outfit called Wings Press (from Houston, Tex.)? Tw


13 Apr 06 - 08:06 PM (#1717655)
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk book
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)

Tannywheeler, PM dwditty he is a big fan of Dave Van Ronk and knows all his music. I believe he knew Dave too!

Yours, Aye. Dave


14 Apr 06 - 02:39 PM (#1718250)
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk book
From: GUEST,Harvey Andrews

Just bought it in a bookshop in Bakewell, England. Am now going to settle down and read!