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Aug 9, 2020 - 11:37:58 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

52129 posts since 10/5/2013
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Some of you might have cut your musical teeth, like I did, during the “folk scare” centered in NYC's Greenwich Village. I had the Dylan and Arlo albums, and of course Dave Van Ronk’s. His re-arrangement of the old folk blues song “House of the Rising Sun” was copped by Dylan. Eric Burdon heard it and with his band The Animals turned it into a huge hit. Dave got nary a penny.
youtu.be/OTjd5ISUX0g

Van Ronk in an interview: 

"I had learned it sometime in the 1950s, from a recording by Hally Wood, the Texas singer and collector, who had got it from an Alan Lomax field recording by a Kentucky woman named Georgia Turner. I put a different spin on it by altering the chords and using a bass line that descended in half steps—a common enough progression in jazz, but unusual among folksingers. By the early 1960s, the song had become one of my signature pieces, and I could hardly get off the stage without doing it.

Then, one evening in 1962, I was sitting at my usual table in the back of the Kettle of Fish, and Dylan came slouching in. He had been up at the Columbia studios with John Hammond, doing his first album. He was being very mysterioso about the whole thing, and nobody I knew had been to any of the sessions except Suze, his lady. I pumped him for information, but he was vague. Everything was going fine and, "Hey, would it be okay for me to record your arrangement of 'House of the Rising Sun?'" Oh, s***. "Jeez, Bobby, I'm going into the studio to do that myself in a few weeks. Can't it wait until your next album?" A long pause. "Uh-oh". I did not like the sound of that. "What exactly do you mean, 'Uh-oh'?" "Well", he said sheepishly, "I've already recorded it"."

Edited by - chuckv97 on 08/09/2020 23:47:56

Aug 10, 2020 - 3:38:27 AM
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OM45GE

USA

100164 posts since 11/7/2007

Dave Van Ronk was one of my favorites and a huge influence on my musical growth. He inspired me to learn Joplin rags on the guitar.

I was fortunate to see him perform several times. It was always a great show. Sometimes he would anchor fret the bass string with his thumb and then move the rest of his hand up and down what seemed like half the neck.

Another great from that time was Paul Geremia

Aug 10, 2020 - 6:42:24 AM
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R Buck

USA

2818 posts since 9/5/2006

I was more into the older Black blues artists when I met Dave. He was good guy or so it seemed. I was more interested in Son House, Skip James and those fellas like Booker White.

Aug 10, 2020 - 7:43:10 AM
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Viper

USA

1091 posts since 12/12/2007

His book is such fun to read.

Aug 10, 2020 - 4:13:26 PM
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4189 posts since 6/15/2005

I was - and still am - a great fan of Dave's. I know this sounds strange, but one of my favorites is his rendition of "Teddy Bears' Picnic" on one of his later recordings. Right up there with "Green, Green, Rocky Road." I still have the record. I was lucky enough to see him perform both in the Village and at Caffe Lena in Saratoga.

In late 1965 I took a date to see Doc Watson at the Gaslight Cafe in Greenwich Village. After the show, as we were leaving, there in the doorway, taking up the entire space, was Dave Van Ronk.

He was a big guy with a raspy, powerful voice full of emotion, and an amazingly sensitive and varied touch on the guitar.

His book - the title is the same as this thread's - is terrific.

Aug 10, 2020 - 5:05:56 PM

chuckv97

Canada

52129 posts since 10/5/2013
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Thanks for chiming in, Arnie. I was hoping some of you folks from NYC would comment with your recollections. I grew up an hour from Toronto where we had Yorkville - Toronto’s Greenwich Village - incubating singers and songwriters like Ian and Sylvia, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Cockburn, Buffy Saint Marie, Murray McLauchlin, etc. But we looked to NY City’s “Village” as ground zero. I’d love to hear more of you from NYC or frequent visitors there to post your memories. I was pleased a few years ago when Bob Yellin responded on this august forum with some anecdotes of that time period. 
Here is Elijah Wald who wrote the book with Dave Van Ronk.
youtu.be/BWr76dJZ7pw

Edited by - chuckv97 on 08/10/2020 17:11:47

Aug 10, 2020 - 5:32:23 PM
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578 posts since 8/14/2018

In my younger days, if Van Ronk was playing somewhere I could get to, I would go. I really don't know how many times I saw him play. I was going to the Caffe Lena and Passim pretty often in those days anyway. One time, c. 1988, we hired him to come play at our college coffeehouse, and put him in a larger room, to expose him to more of the students (who for the most part did not get it). The guys from the AV club who ran the sound that night did not know how to mike his voice. I still have an autographed poster framed in the living room.

Edited by - MacCruiskeen on 08/10/2020 17:34:57

Aug 11, 2020 - 1:48:33 PM

1322 posts since 11/15/2010

For those of you who are big Van Ronk fans, what did you think of the movie "Inside Llewyn Davis" and the soundtrack from that film?

Aug 11, 2020 - 6:18:13 PM

4189 posts since 6/15/2005

I know about the movie but have not seen it.

Aug 12, 2020 - 6:20:40 AM

carlb

USA

2149 posts since 12/16/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Joe Connor

For those of you who are big Van Ronk fans, what did you think of the movie "Inside Llewyn Davis" and the soundtrack from that film?


Can't say that I'm a big Van Ronk fan, but I do like him and listen to him quite a bit in the 50s and 60s. As for the movie, it's been many years since I've seen it, though I did remember not caring for many aspects of the film. I'd have to view it again to say which portrayals I wasn't crazy about. Here are comments from two who were closer to Dave van Ronk and the Village scene at the time.

https://carpetbagger.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/06/a-folkie-takes-issue-with-llewyn-davis/

https://carpetbagger.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/10/suzanne-vega-has-her-own-issues-with-llewyn-davis/?mtrref=undefined&gwh=C8630252D8F98858F7C7ABE3182B8208&gwt=pay&assetType=REGIWALL

Aug 12, 2020 - 11:18:48 AM

Viper

USA

1091 posts since 12/12/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Joe Connor

For those of you who are big Van Ronk fans, what did you think of the movie "Inside Llewyn Davis" and the soundtrack from that film?


I love the movie. I think a lot of people who didn't like it saw that it was "inspired by" Dave Van Ronk's memoir and expected it to be a biopic, but that's not what the movie is. It certainly pays homage to him and events in his life in a lot of ways, especially the title of the movie and the album cover from which it takes its name and the songs he sings, but Llewyn Davis is not supposed to be Dave Van Ronk. 

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