A music critic dubbed singer/acoustic guitarist Dave Van Ronk (1936-2002) "the Mayor of MacDougal Street" and, if truth be told, this garrulous New Yorker seldom strayed far from his beloved Greenwich Village. He was a key part of the folk music revival, not only as a talented performer, but as an avuncular figure, friend, and, as this memoir demonstrates convincingly, a storyteller. The Mayor of MacDougal Street (which was completed after his death by Elijah Wald) offers an on-the-spot social and musical history of the changing music scene of the fifties and sixties. (P.S. This movie tie-in edition is issued in anticipation of the December release Coen Brothers' Cannes Grand Prix award-winning film Inside Llewyn Davis, which is loosely based on this book.)
The Mayor of MacDougal Street [2013 edition]: A Memoirby Dave Van Ronk, Elijah Wald
Dave Van Ronk (1936-2002) was one of the founding figures of the 1960s folk revival, but he was far more than that. A pioneer of modern acoustic blues, a fine songwriter and arranger, a powerful singer, and one of the most influential guitarists of the '60s, he was also a marvelous storyteller, a peerless musical historian, and one of the most quotable figures on the Village scene.
Featuring encounters with young stars-to-be like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, The Mayor of MacDougal Street is a vivid evocation of a singular time and place--a feast not only for fans of folk music and blues, but for anyone interested in the music, politics, and spirit of a revolutionary period in American culture.
“[A] wonderful memoir.”
“Your best guide when it comes to Inside Llewyn Davisapart from what follows, of courseis Van Ronk’s posthumous memoir, The Mayor of MacDougal Street.”
New York Times, 11/30/13
“[A] sharp cantankerous memoir.”
The Culture Trip, 4/1/16
“Gives the play-by-play for a musical movement that was humble in origin, but huge in populous fervor. Woody Guthrie; Joan Baez; Pete Seeger; Richie Havens; Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary; plus dozens more, they all live and breathe within these pages One of folk’s unsung heroes, Van Ronk mixes poetry and revolution, rolled into a posthumously released autobiography as much a history of the Village, and the folk venues that made it famous, as the life story of its ‘Mayor.’”
- Da Capo Press
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- Hachette Digital, Inc.
- NOOK Book
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Meet the Author
In the course of his forty-year career, Dave Van Ronk recorded more than two dozen albums, toured on four continents, was nominated for two Grammys, and received an ASCAP Lifetime Achievement Award.
Coauthor Elijah Wald wrote the acclaimed study of the myth, music, and life of blues legend Robert Johnson, Escaping the Delta. He also wrote the biography Josh White: Society Blues as well as Narcocorrido: A Journey into the Music of Drugs, Guns, and Guerrillas. A musician and journalist, he lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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Very good auto-biography of the performer himself as well as a popular music era. I think the cultural equivalent of this pre "Woodstock" era may well be underway during the current internet revolution in the musical scene. Artists and material are once again being chosen by the people and not a large recording "industry". Perhaps the people's choice will be suported by the internet and "creativity" may return to that magical time of the "Great Folk Scare" when individual's flocked to picking up guitars, banjos, mandolins, ukes and bongos to make their own music. I for one miss Mr. Van Ronk as well as others from that era. This was a very good read!
This is an interesting book. Dave Van Ronk has a lot of stories and opinions to tell. Unfortunately, Dave died of cancer before the book was completed but Elijah Wald did an excellent job of pulling things together and creating a very readable and historically interesting story. RIP Dave Van Ronk. You were one in a million.
Dat's whuh she did.
Oui! I looooooooove it! O.O
Please keep going!
Keep going! I love it!
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