10
Jul
18

Dave Van Ronk “Dave Van Ronk Sings Ballads, Blues & a Spiritual”

I never really listened to any Dave Van Ronk before, aware of him primarily as a name in the early Sixties (was it late-Fifties, as well?) NYC folk music scene—a time, place, and music I’ve pretty much ignored as not being my bag, exactly. But DVR had come to the forefront of my attention because of the movie, Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), which was supposedly inspired primarily by Dave Van Ronk—though the main character, Llewyn Davis, doesn’t seem to resemble DVR in appearance, sound, or biography—at least not too much, to my knowledge. Anyway, these are some pretty serious folk tunes, performed well and reverently, and this is a serious record, put out by the label DOXY, full title: “dave van ronk accompanying himself on guitar sings ballads, blues & a spiritual”—and includes liner notes by DVR and detailed track by track analysis on the inner sleeve by Kenneth S. Goldstein.

I just listened to the whole record and it’s very good, surprisingly compelling. (I mean, for me, not a real cheerleader for traditionally played traditional music and seriousness, etc.) DVR’s voice is pretty great—it’s unique and expressive, and I especially like the more blues oriented stuff. Anyway, I’m not going to get too much into the history of this right now; there are lyrics and notes about each song on the inner sleeve, but I’m not taking a college course here! It’s just nice to know that I feel like I’ve had a big, heaping, hot meal of Van Ronk, and next time he’s on the radio I won’t change the station.

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2 Responses to “Dave Van Ronk “Dave Van Ronk Sings Ballads, Blues & a Spiritual””


  1. 1 J Curtis
    July 10, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    If DVR has ever been on the radio, I’ve missed it. I probably wouldn’t recognize it anyway. The seriousness with which people of his era took the music they were performing is probably the biggest deterrent to anyone actually enjoying it, usually. At least for me it is (though I keep hoping to find some good stuff from that era; some of the New Lost City Ramblers stuff isn’t terrible..).

    • July 15, 2018 at 5:54 am

      It’s been awhile since I listened to DVR now, since I’ve been re-posting some reviews from my “North Woods”/no internet visit a year or so ago. But I recall really liking his voice. I bet there is something of his that would fit very well into your WRUW Cleveland “What You Need” radio show.


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