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.
Dave Van Ronk's DVD lesson spans a wide variety of exciting and powerful music. The blues of Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell; the "old fashion" picking of Rev. Gary Davis, the ragtime bounce of Blind Blake, the sophisticated blues of Brownie McGhee, the country blues of Jim Jackson, a children's ring song and a Van Ronk original, all receive the unique Dave Van Ronk treatment. Each arrangement is discussed and explained in detail. This is a complete lesson for the intermediate guitarist that clearly illustrates how traditional music can be placed in a fingerstyle setting.
Titles include: Green Green Rocky Road, Kansas City Blues, Sportin' Life Blues, Sunday Street, Spike Driver's Moan, That Will Never Happen No More, Midnight Hour Blues, Cocaine Blues and Down South Blues
80 minutes • Level 2/3 • Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD
Review: Essential to a Guitarists DVR Collection. This DVD is filled with song lessons for guitar taught by Dave Van Ronk in 1993 – it is not a concert. Most non-musicians will probably be bored by it. If you're unsure of this release and want to sample it, while also owning a full concert of his, you can see two of the video lessons (“Green, Green, Rocky Road” and “) as bonus material on Dave Van Ronk in Concert at the Bottom Line June 2, 2001; a tab booklet with both of those songs is included. Dave Van Ronk Memories in Concert 1980 is another concert currently available. I highly recommend both for guitarists and non-musicians. They are great performances all around and offer clear shots of what he's playing on the fretboard for interested guitarists.
Now, back to this DVD...
For each song lesson he talks about the tuning and sometimes tells a story related to the song. Then he plays and sings the song at regular speed, slowly walks you through the song by each chord (during this part the camera is zoomed in on the fretboard), then he plays the song slowed down with a split screen (the top half of the screen is the fretting hand; bottom is picking). Through all of that, he gives advice on how to play everything. He teaches with a capo on his guitar in various positions throughout all of the lessons, so I recommend having one if you're a beginner or want to play along with him in the proper key. A booklet of tabs for each song is included with the DVD.
Simply put, this is a goldmine for fans of Dave Van Ronk that play guitar.
For more guitar lessons taught by Dave, you can get tabs and audio lessons for all of these songs (“Down South Blues”) and more from both of the Mel Bay books – Blues and Ragtime Fingerstyle Guitar and Folk and Blues Fingerstyle Guitar. Dave taught many of the same songs every time he recorded a lesson for release. I'm not sure why, but all of them are worth it. – Ruvare/Amazon Customer Review
Review: For the Van Ronk fans out there, a must have. He has two other instructional books available, both recommended. Van Ronk had a way of imitating others but staying true to the intent of the original by making it his own. This video to me will give you a window into that style. Buy it by all means. – Mike Gordon/Amazon Customer Review