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 was one of the central figures in the folk movement which flourished during the late 1950s and early 1960s and nurtured such performers as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and Peter, Paul and Mary. He was the founding father of the blues and ragtime guitar revival and played an important roll in presenting this music to a wider audience. He emerged from this era as one of the most distinctive folk blues performers with a tough, gravelly voice and an intricate and delicate guitar style combined with a colorful, bawdy and powerful personality. His impact on the way in which people play guitar, and how the notion of 'interpretation' -- particularly within the folk and blues idiom -- is viewed, has arguably had a deep and lasting impact, one which will resound long, long after he is gone.
Two years before Dave passed away it was suggested to him that we could release his 1980 concert recorded in Athens, Ohio but that it would be interesting to do an interview with his memories of that concert as well as stories about the tunes he performed. The idea was to combine this interview with the concert footage recorded over twenty years earlier. Dave was a great story teller and it was a joy to listen to his stories as well as the concert performance which presented Dave's music at its finest.
Titles include: Green Green Rocky Road, Sunday Street, He Was A Friend of Mine, Urge For Going, Stackerlee, God Bless The Child, Candyman, Would You Like To Swing On A Star, Cocaine Blues, Song To Woody, Losers and Song To A Seagull.
Running Time: 71 minutes
Review: The Master at work... Dave Von Ronk's legacy seems to always be documented according to the influence he had on other musicians, and in my opinion it is unfortunate that this aspect of his life has often overshadowed the fact that he was an incredible musician in his own right. This concert from 1980 displays this clearly: Van Ronk was at the top of his game, and his voice and guitar playing are both excellent. I was unaware prior to purchasing this DVD that interviews with Van Ronk from later in his life were interspersed with the songs, in which he explains how he came to discover the songs he covered during this concert or shares his memories of the concert itself. I really enjoyed this aspect of the program, it doesn't get any better than hearing Van Ronk expound on the roots of his material if you are a music lover. Van Ronk's material during the concert was varied, and I enjoyed hearing his takes on two of Joni Mitchell's songs as well as the classics “Candyman” and “Cocaine Blues.” I was thrilled also that “Sunday Street” was included in this concert, one of my favorite of Van Ronk's original songs. As far as the picture quality and camera work during the show, both are top notch. The late career interview with Van Ronk was also filmed well. While the price of this DVD is high, if you are a fan of Dave Van Ronk this is a must have. – B. Bowman/Amazon Customer Review
Review: Master songster in his prime. This concert from 1980 shows Dave at his best. It seems that when the Bottom Line concert was made in 2001,7 months before he died, Dave wanted to perform the songs he loved, not covered in 1980. These two conserts together show his broad repertoire. Also here he tells stories and comments the songs, gives us a historic perspective on American folk music. A lot of blues with a salty voice and incredible guitarpicking but also examples of sweet and soft songs. In this concert his guitar playing is not afflicted of his illness as in the Bottom Line concert. I doubt there are any songster of his size today. – Yvin Johansen/Amazon Customer Review