Folkways Years (1959-1961)

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
In his characteristically sardonic liner notes to this compilation of his earliest recordings, Dave Van Ronk denies that he was ever a folksinger. While such a declaration may seem ludicrous on its face, Van Ronk's perspective contributes to an understanding of his musical approach. When he made these recordings for Folkways Records between 1959 and 1961, he was coming out of years of playing banjo and singing (unamplified) with a traditional jazz band; he turned to fingerpicking an acoustic guitar and singing the songs of old folk-blues musicians like Blind Boy Fuller, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and the Reverend Gary Davis as the "trad" fad gave way and the folk revival ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
In his characteristically sardonic liner notes to this compilation of his earliest recordings, Dave Van Ronk denies that he was ever a folksinger. While such a declaration may seem ludicrous on its face, Van Ronk's perspective contributes to an understanding of his musical approach. When he made these recordings for Folkways Records between 1959 and 1961, he was coming out of years of playing banjo and singing (unamplified) with a traditional jazz band; he turned to fingerpicking an acoustic guitar and singing the songs of old folk-blues musicians like Blind Boy Fuller, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and the Reverend Gary Davis as the "trad" fad gave way and the folk revival gained momentum in the late '50s. But he continued to play and sing hard, as if still trying to be heard over Dixieland arrangements. That sounded unusual to the more polite folk audiences of the time, in contrast to singers who played tame versions of traditional folk and blues tunes. But more than three decades later, it keeps Van Ronk's performances from sounding as dated as those of many of his peers do. Nobody worries much anymore about an articulate, urban white man trying to sound like an unlettered, rural black man, and these recordings have proven very influential. For example, it's possible to hear a good part of Hot Tuna's acoustic repertoire in the music Van Ronk was making here a decade earlier. If he was imitating the originators at the time, now he sounds like a master whose work has been emulated by the rock musicians who followed him (and who made a lot more money doing so than he ever did).
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/13/1992
  • Label: Smithsonian Folkways
  • UPC: 093074004128
  • Catalog Number: 40041
  • Sales rank: 46,848

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Dave Van Ronk Primary Artist, Vocals
Technical Credits
Walter Davis Composer
W.C. Handy Composer
Dave Van Ronk Liner Notes
Moses Asch Engineer
Marty Bloom Composer
Kenneth S. Goldstein Engineer
Martha E. Koenig Composer
Jeff Place Reissue Supervision Assistant
Spencer Williams Composer
Alan Yoshida Remastering
Lori Elaine Taylor Reissue Supervision Assistant
Leslie Spitz-Edson Reissue Supervision Assistant
Kip Lornell Liner Notes
Christopher Jerde Reissue Supervision Assistant
Alex Sweda Reissue Supervision Assistant
Walter Melrose Composer
Grant Rymal Composer
András Goldinger Reissue Supervision Assistant
Traditional Composer
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