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Somebody Else, Not Me

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Album Review

Originally released in the late 1970s, this album was a follow-up to Sunday Street, an album on which Dave Van Ronk had abandoned any attempts to accommodate contemporary popular music and returned to an acoustic context and a repertoire of blues and jazz standards. He did much the same thing here, including material by Jelly Roll Morton and Scott Joplin, as well as Furry Lewis and Brownie McGhee, fingerpicking with his usual care and singing in his usual comforting growl. "Did You Hear John Hurt?," "Pastures Of Plenty," and "Song To Woody" nodded to mentors Mississippi John Hurt and Woody Guthrie, and peers Tom Paxton and Bob Dylan. If the result was not quite the equal of Sunday Street, it was in the same league and continued Van Ronk's mature renaissance.

Customer Reviews

Great and Varied Repertoire

Sometimes he growls a second or two too long, and it sounds forced, but I think it's just that he's really into it. He's dead, so we'll never know. "Somebody Else, Not Me" is a brilliant little bit of sardonic wit. "The Entertainer" is an incredible transfer to guitar of the Scott Joplin piano classic. "Did You Love John Hurt" is a great version of a beautiful tribute to one of the defining voices of folk music, and "Song to Woody" is another to another. Speaking of Woody, it's too bad Van Ronk didn't do more Guthrie songs cause he does a great job on "Pastures of Plenty." Van Ronk left behind a wonderful collection of material and this is one of the better ones. His influence on Bob Dylan, Patrick Sky, David Massengill, Dante Mazzetti, Chris Fuller and Andrew Gregory is also obvious, impressive and significantly contributory for the genre of folk music. In fact, Massengill's new cd on Gadfly Records is a tribute to Van Ronk. RIP, DVR!


Born: June 30, 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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