An important figure in the acoustic folk revival of the 1960s, his work ranged from old English ballads to Bertolt Brecht, blues, gospel, rock, New Orleans jazz, and swing. He was also known for performing instrumental ragtime guitar music, especially his transcription of St. Louis Tickle and Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag.
Van Ronk was a widely admired avuncular figure in "the Village", presiding over the coffeehouse folk culture and acting as a friend to many up-and-coming artists by inspiring, assisting, and promoting them. Folk performers whom he befriended include Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Patrick Sky, Phil Ochs, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Guthrie Thomas, and Joni Mitchell.
In this second series of lessons Dave presents blues and ragtime arrangements.
For the intermediate/advanced guitarist. 32 page tab/music book with three compact discs.
Lesson One: This lesson begins with Leroy Carr’s Midnight Hour Blues played in 12/8 time. Blood Red Moon follows played in dropped D tuning. The lesson ends with Blind Lemon Jefferson’s One Kind Favor.
Lesson Two: Sunday Street is an original Dave Van Ronk song and is an excellent example of Dave’s arranging skills. Four choruses are taught demonstrating how this tune can develop. Bessie Smith’s classic blues You’ve Been A Good Old Wagon played in the key of E is taught.
Lesson Three: Dave’s arrangement of St. Louis Tickle was the first great challenge for fingerpickers interested in classic ragtime. This four sectioned rag is played in the keys of C and F.
Level 2/3 • tab/music book with three compact discs
Review: Great songs for expanding your fingerpicking skills. While most of these songs are a bit on the obscure side of the folk-blues-ragtime spectrum, they are all a real treat to learn and play. Dave Van Ronk himself is the teacher, so it's great to learn arrangements from the actual writer/arranger of most of these tunes. The recorded instruction moves at a good pace (and you can always pause the CD to work out a difficult passage before moving on.) Also included is the tablature for the tunes.
If you are not familiar with alternate-thumb picking, also called “travis-picking” this book may be very difficult for you. I recommend first spending some time with something a bit easier (like the style of Mississippi John Hurt). But if you are comfortable with your thumb picking go for it! These tunes are full of interesting chord shapes and new ideas. They start on the simpler side with “Midnight Hour Blues” and end with the very complex “St. Louis Tickle.” My personal favorite is the hilarious Van Ronk original “Sunday Street.”– Eric T.Miller/Amazon Customer Review
Review: The Grandfather of the 60's folk revival. Dave Van Ronk has not only had a street in New York City renamed after him after he passed away, but he was often known as the Mayor of Macdougal St. He was a great story teller and possessed wonderful taste in jazz, folk, and blues music. He is the grandfather of the 1960's folk revival. Bob Dylan used to listen to records at his house and crash on Dave's couch. I've collected every bit of material I could find by him, including this great educational CD/book of Dave explaining how to play the music to you. Now, I doubt if this is a great book for beginners. I tried it when I was beginning and it was a little over my head. But, if you want to take your fingerpicking to the next level, then this is it. Every song in this book is a winner. Blood Red Moon is a Van Ronk original. It's one of my favorites: a funny, witty, growling Drop D blues tune. And Sunday Street (another original) is one of most fun pieces to play on a guitar. Dave didn't write a lot of songs, but when he did, they were arranged perfectly. I've been studying the blues through Stefan Grossmans Guitar Workshop for the last 5 or more years and I can honestly say that this is the best material I've ever seen or heard. I lost this book and after a few years I decided it was time to give these songs another go. Take it from me, if you love the blues and jazz and folk music and if you love to play guitar, “Blues And Ragtime Fingerstyle Guitar” by Dave Van Ronk is for you. – Josh Archamabault/Amazon Customer Review