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Sunday Street

Dave Van Ronk

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Album Review

This album, originally released in 1976, may or may not be, as annotator (and former Dave Van Ronk guitar student) Elijah Wald claims, "Dave's greatest single album" (frankly, Van Ronk has made so many albums for so many fly-by-night labels that it is hard to endorse so sweeping a statement), but it is certainly a very good one. Van Ronk had made various efforts in recent years to accommodate pop and rock music on his albums, but this one was a return to his usual repertoire of folk-blues tunes and jazz and ragtime transcriptions for guitar, with one Joni Mitchell song ("That Song About the Midway") and an original, the title song, thrown in. And it was a solo album on which Van Ronk sang and accompanied himself on acoustic guitar. Thus, it approximated what a good set in a club by this artist would sound like, minus the singer's witticisms, of course. Van Ronk never hid his influences, but he never sounded exactly like them, either, and on this album he was very much himself. Maybe it is his greatest single album; it is certainly one of his most representative.

Biography

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...
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