The Mayor of Macdougal Street

The Mayor of Macdougal Street

A Memoir

Book - 2005 | 1st Da Capo Press ed.
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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 1960s, he was also a marvelous storyteller, a peerless musical historian, and one of the most quotable figures on the Greenwich Village scene. Holding court in legendary venues like Gerde's Folk City and the Gaslight Caf8E, Van Ronk's influence was so great that a stretch of Sheridan Square-the heart of the Village-was renamed on June 30, 2004, and is now Dave Van Ronk Street. The Mayor of MacDougal Street is a unique first-hand account by a major player in the social and musical history of the '50s and '60s. It features encounters with young stars-to-be like Bob Dylan (who survived much of his first year in New York sleeping on Van Ronk's couch), Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs, Joan Baez, and Joni Mitchell, as well as older luminaries like Reverend Gary Davis, Woody Guthrie, Mississippi John Hurt, and Odetta.Colorful, hilarious, engaging, and a vivid evocation of a fascinating time and place, The Mayor of MacDougal Street will appeal not only to folk and blues fans but to anyone interested in the music, politics, and spirit of a revolutionary period in American culture.
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : Da Capo Press, 2005.
Edition: 1st Da Capo Press ed.
ISBN: 9780306814075
0306814072
Branch Call Number: 782.42164092 V275v
Characteristics: xv, 246 p. : ill.
Additional Contributors: Wald, Elijah

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lukasevansherman
May 21, 2016

As the cover explains, this is "the life story that inspired the Coen Brothers movie 'Inside Llewyn Davis.'"
Hardly a household name, Dave Van Ronk was nonetheless a key figure in the 60s folk revival and a staple of the bohemian Greenwich Village scene. A musician, raconteur, and scenester, Van Ronk seemed to know just about everybody and this book is full of anecdotes about figures like Dylan (whom he seems mildly jealous of), Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Rev. Gary Davis, Joan Baez, Phil Ochs, and others. If you enjoy this period, you'll definitely groove on this man! Co-written with Elijah Ward, who also wrote about Dylan at Newport. Also check out "Positively 4th Street" and Dylan's "Chronicles." "Bobby was not the greatest songwriter in history, but he was far and away the best on the scene, and whether we admitted it or not, we all knew that. Still, there were a lot of poor slobs who were working very hard and in some cases producing very good music, and who were getting nowhere at all. So it is not surprising that some of them got awfully bitter--I cannot deny that at times I felt a pang myself."

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