Dave Van Ronk

A highly influential folk singer who was part of the Greenwich Village folk scene of the 1960s, Dave Van Ronk (1936-2002) sang everything from 1920s classic blues to newer folk songs, helping to revive “House of the Rising Sun” and “He Was a Friend of Mine.”

Born in Brooklyn, Van Ronk served in the merchant marine and in the 1950s at first played with trad jazz bands. By the latter part of the decade, he was a well-respected folksinger playing at Greenwich Village coffeehouses. Van Ronk first recorded in 1957 and, with the rise of the folk/blues revival, he was kept busy playing at folk festivals and clubs. An early mentor to Bob Dylan and a supporter of Joni Mitchell, Van Ronk was an impressive guitarist who could play instrumental ragtime, blues, and traditional jazz, and a spirited and raspy singer who always showed enthusiasm in his music. He was nicknamed “the Mayor of Greenwich Village” due to his encyclopedic knowledge of jazz and blues. In later years, in addition to touring and recording, he taught guitar.

In his career, Dave Van Ronk recorded over 20 albums. Inside Dave Van Ronk has all of the music from two of his Prestige albums. Recorded in 1962, the eclectic repertoire includes “Samson and Delilah,” “Cocaine Blues,” “You’ve Been a Good Old Wagon,” “Stackerlee,” “Kentucky Moonshiner,” and “Sprig of Thyme,” giving listeners a well-rounded portrait of this significant and unique folksinger.