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Sweet & Lowdown

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Album Review

Rekindling his love for classic jazz, Van Ronk puts together a string of American standards and, along with a seven-piece band of seasoned session players, makes the kind of music he grew up listening to. The tunes swing along with Van Ronk's mildly Louis Armstrong-flavored rasp, which holds up throughout. As on his 1990 release, Hummin' to Myself, Van Ronk is accompanied (as opposed to his usual solo outings), and he is joined by female vocalists Sarah Partridge on "Thanks for the Memory" and "Zoot Suit" and Andrea Vuocolo (his wife) on "I'd Rather Charleston." On songs like "Cottage for Sale and "Comes Love," the sound may be slightly over-produced for the "days gone by" mood of the set but, for the most part, this is indispensable Van Ronk, whose forte, apart from his gift for songwriting, has always been classic interpretation that contains as much of his own distinct personality as it does respect for whatever form of American music he is delving into.


Born: 30 June 1936 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Guitarist, singer, songwriter, and native New Yorker Dave Van Ronk inspired, aided, and promoted the careers of numerous singer/songwriters who came up in the blues tradition. Most notable of the many musicians he helped over the years was Bob Dylan, whom Van Ronk got to know shortly after Dylan moved to New York in 1961 to pursue a life as a folk/blues singer. Van Ronk's recorded output was healthy, but he was never as prolific a songwriter as some of his friends from that era, like Dylan or Tom...
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Sweet & Lowdown, Dave Van Ronk
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