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The Mayor of MacDougal Street: Rarities 1957-1969

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iTunes Review

Dave Van Ronk ranged freely between the worlds of folk, jazz, blues, pop, and theater music. The Mayor of MacDougal Street—released in conjunction with Van Ronk’s 2005 posthumous memoir of the same title—draws upon recordings made between 1957 and 1969, arguably his most influential period as an artist. These (mostly) previously unreleased tracks trace the singer’s development from a jazz-influenced blues shouter into a nuanced interpreter of songwriters as different as Joni Mitchell (“Both Sides Now”) and Kurt Weill (“As You Make Your Bed"). Van Ronk’s ragtime-shaded guitar work is showcased on “Buddy Bolden’s Blues,” while “The Butcher Boy” and “The Cruel Ship’s Captain” showcase his compelling ability to deliver a ballad a cappella. His comedic gifts are evident in his droll rendition of “Shaving Cream” and a spot-on impersonation of W.C. Fields. What comes through most is Van Ronk’s impeccable blend of studied technique and raw, primal emotion, heard in tracks as different as “Willie the Weeper” and “Romping Through the Swamp” (the latter recorded with his rollicking rock combo The Hudson Dusters).

Customer Reviews

A great influence

this album was one of the few albums that literally changed my life. i only wish that i could thank mr. ronk for inspiring me to become a part of this music myself and for opening my eyes to a whole new world. GREAT album, I strongly recomend

great record

i'm shocked there's only one review of this album


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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