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March 28, 2009

Dave Van Ronk - Inside Dave Van Ronk

One more from the Mayor, walkin up Beale St.. Mr. Fancy-Fret Screaming Kingboy. Mr. Bob Dylan slept on my couch and then stole my arrangements and took all the credit. Mr. I hate to leave New York, and one time when I finally did they left my guitar on the friggin airport runway. Bastards. He's been a good old wagon, and he'll tear this building down. Mr. Long John, he's dead and gone. But he was a friend of mine. No stranger to whiskey either. Mr. I'm not a folksinger, which was a lie. Mr. Noah, he has a hard time when his mother is gone. He buried him a little dog and He never came back. Shortiga hortiga thymiga thu, shortiga hortiga thymiga thu, shortiga hortiga thymiga thu. Baralith mahegash mehi housemenadine, I'll marry you both and sleep in the middle says Brian O'Lynne.

I was sitting in the back yard sucking on a Good Humor
Along comes a Doc, says my wife has a tumor
And it was malignant

Now the AMA and the medical highers
They don't agree with Liggette & Meyers
They say smoking is bad for you
Hell of a cough, too

Well, there is cancer of the liver; there is cancer of the lung
Cancer of the lip, the throat, the tongue
There's 17 malignant tumors in one filter tip king size
Now light up

Well, a cigarette was needed that was relatively clean
They come out with filters, low tar & nicotine
All that research gone to waste
No harmful ingredient, no cigarette taste

Well, the companies panicked, they had to find an answer
They increased the tobacco strain and everybody's getting cancer
Look what I got free with these cigarette coupons
A chest X-ray

Well, the hashish interest in Mexico
Has found a way to redouble their dough
Let's all get the habit, marijuana's here to stay
So if you want a treat and you don't mind the treatment
Smoke pot! It's the thinking man's cigarette

And then he went and died.
Poor Lazarus.

(if you want to hear my real commentary, check out my first Van Ronk post)

and some snippets from elsewhere:
Van Ronk refused for many years to fly and never learned to drive (he would use trains or buses or, when possible, recruit a girlfriend or young musician as his driver), and he declined to ever move from Greenwich Village for any extended period of time (having stayed in California for a short time in the 1960s. Van Ronk's trademark stoneware jug of Tullamore Dew was frequently seen on stage next to him in his early days.

Robert Shelton described Van Ronk as, "the musical mayor of MacDougal Street, a tall, garrulous hairy man of three quarters, or, more accurately, three fifths Irish descent. Topped by light brownish hair and a leonine beard, which he smoothed down several times a minute, he resembled an unmade bed strewn with books, record jackets, pipes, empty whiskey bottles, lines from obscure poets, finger picks, and broken guitar strings. He was Bob's first New York guru. Van Ronk was a walking museum of the blues. Through an early interest in jazz, he had gravitated toward black music -- its jazz pole, its jug-band and ragtime center, its blues bedrock.....his manner was rough and testy, disguising a warm, sensitive core. Van Ronk retold the blues intimately....for a time, his most dedicated follower was Dylan."

Five years older than Dylan, Van Ronk was one of the few native New Yorkers among Village folkiedom's big names. After departing "Our Lady of Perpetual Bingo" in the staidest corner of Queens, Van Ronk turned anarcho-Marxist out of orneriness and common sense. Initially a Dixieland banjoist who doubled on foghorn vocals, he was an interpreter who mastered blues and kept going. His repertoire encompassed not just his mentor Gary Davis and the Harry Smith canon but old pop, jazz, and vaudeville material, a few self-penned gems, and, soon enough, the cream of the singer-songwriters he insists were folk only by loose-thinking association. He was an ace guitarist who made up in practice what he lacked in dexterity and a brainy arranger whose book was raided on his protégé Dylan's Columbia debut.

Dave Van Ronk - Inside Dave Van Ronk

Year: 1962 & 1964 (rec); 1990 (reissue)
Label: Prestige (original); Fantasy (reissue)

Review by Richie Unterberger:
Somewhat confusingly titled, this CD reissue includes both the 1962 album of the same name and the Dave Van Ronk, Folksinger LP (recorded around the same time), encompassing 25 tracks in all. Anyway, this is certainly Van Ronk's most enduring work, and indeed one of the few relics of the early-'60s traditional folk boom that holds up well today. With the possible exception of Bob Dylan (whom Van Ronk and his wife helped immensely when Dylan was a struggling unknown in New York), Dave was the finest interpreter of traditional folk tunes of that time, with a big bear of a voice that was both anguished and tender. One of the few white folkies who could sing acoustic blues without embarrassment, Van Ronk was also an accomplished acoustic guitar picker; instrumentally and vocally, he brought an intensity to his covers that made the songs his own. Of the two albums brought together on this CD, Inside has the edge because of its more varied instrumentation, including 12-string guitar, dulcimer, and autoharp (Folksinger only has Dave's vocals and guitar). Dominated by classics like "Motherless Child," "Silver Dagger," "Poor Lazarus," and "Fixin' to Die," this also has an arrangement of "He Was a Friend of Mine" that Van Ronk learned from Dylan, who apparently claimed the traditional song as his own at the time. [WRONG! Bob Dylan stole Van Ronk's arrangement of the traditional song and recorded it before Van Ronk could, even though VR had explicitly asked him not to. This is after little Bobby Zimmerman slept on VR's couch for months and VR had introduced him to the ways of fingerpicking and surrealist writing.]

1 Samson and Delilah - Traditional - 2:35
2 Cocaine Blues - Jordan - 4:16
3 You've Been a Good Old Wagon - Henry - 2:19
4 Fixin' to Die - White - 2:52
5 Hang Me, Oh Hang Me - Traditional - 3:07
6 Long John - Traditional - 2:08
7 Chicken Is Nice - Traditional - 2:30
8 He Was a Friend of Mine - Traditional - 3:29
9 Motherless Child - Traditional - 3:48
10 Stackerlee - Traditional - 3:35
11 Mr. Noah - Traditional - 1:26
12 Come Back Baby - Davis - 3:49
13 Poor Lazarus - Traditional - 5:08
14 House Carpenter - Traditional - 3:30
15 The Cruel Ship's Captain - Traditional - 1:55
16 Sprig of Thyme - Traditional - 2:35
17 Talking Cancer Blues - Rhodes - 1:45
18 I Buyed Me a Little Dog - Traditional - 3:59
19 Lady Gay - Traditional - 3:40
20 Fair and Tender Ladies - Traditional - 5:40
21 Brian O'Lynne - Traditional - 1:15
22 Shanty Man's Life - Traditional - 3:20
23 Silver Dagger - Traditional - 2:20
24 Kentucky Moonshiner - Traditional - 2:35
25 He Never Came Back - Traditional - 2:10

run all round my brain.
m4a (AAC) 128kbps | w/ cover | 75mb

original album covers:


Anonymous said...

Indeed, very unfortunate title....good music, though--thanks!

Prof. Moses said...

Thanks for the Dave Van Ronk - one of my all-time favorites!

Unknown said...

Find more Dave Van Ronk in my mp3blog and forum searches: