20 Songs, 1 Hour

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though Dave Van Ronk is fondly remembered for his patriarchal role in the East Village Folk scene of the early sixties and for his influence on the singing and playing of a young Bob Dylan, his recordings remain sadly underappreciated. His gravelly, authoritative voice was ideally suited to rough and tumble country blues, but as this fine collection of his early sixties recordings demonstrates, his wide ranging repertoire embraced a host of more obscure folk styles and even, on occasion, slightly tongue in cheek renditions of tin pan alley pop tunes. His deft, fiercely syncopated finger picking style owes a great deal to Delta Blues innovators like Mississippi John Hurt and Scrapper Blackwell, but his renditions of Blues standards like Sam Collins’ “Hesitation Blues,” Blind Lemon Jefferson’s “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean,” and Blind Willie McTell’s “Gambler’s Blues” are distinguished from the originals by Van Ronk’s free wheeling improvisational delivery and his warm, personable vocalizing. These recordings document the moment when Americans began to recognize the true value of the folk canon, and Dave Van Ronk’s influential interpretations are partly responsible for the cultural awakening that it inspired.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though Dave Van Ronk is fondly remembered for his patriarchal role in the East Village Folk scene of the early sixties and for his influence on the singing and playing of a young Bob Dylan, his recordings remain sadly underappreciated. His gravelly, authoritative voice was ideally suited to rough and tumble country blues, but as this fine collection of his early sixties recordings demonstrates, his wide ranging repertoire embraced a host of more obscure folk styles and even, on occasion, slightly tongue in cheek renditions of tin pan alley pop tunes. His deft, fiercely syncopated finger picking style owes a great deal to Delta Blues innovators like Mississippi John Hurt and Scrapper Blackwell, but his renditions of Blues standards like Sam Collins’ “Hesitation Blues,” Blind Lemon Jefferson’s “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean,” and Blind Willie McTell’s “Gambler’s Blues” are distinguished from the originals by Van Ronk’s free wheeling improvisational delivery and his warm, personable vocalizing. These recordings document the moment when Americans began to recognize the true value of the folk canon, and Dave Van Ronk’s influential interpretations are partly responsible for the cultural awakening that it inspired.

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