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The Mayor Of MacDougal Street: Rarities 1957-1969

August 11, 2005 | Format: MP3

$8.99
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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2005
  • Release Date: August 11, 2005
  • Label: Rootstock Recordings
  • Copyright: 2005 Rootstock Recordings
  • Total Length: 55:46
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B000QZU3J2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #203,213 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Jerome Clark on April 24, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Dave Van Ronk died on February 10, 2002, remembered only by friends and acquaintances who knew him as a one-of-a-kind character, and by the (only relatively) larger world of folk-music fans and scholars as an important figure in the mid-century revival. That revival produced, most famously and lastingly, Bob Dylan, whose genius Van Ronk was the first to recognize.

Van Ronk's role as a figure in America's cultural history and as influence on the direction of its popular music seems only now to be coming into scrutiny and appreciation. Perhaps in death Van Ronk will be more famous than he was when he was alive. I hope so.

This CD is a companion piece to his recently published posthumous memoir of the same title, written with music journalist Elijah Wald. Though often pigeon-holed as a blues singer, Van Ronk had a range of musical interests, prominently including traditional jazz, theater songs, singer-songwriters, and non-blues folk. This retrospective, taken from private and concert recordings from 1957 to 1969, is one that all Van Ronk fans will want to have. It showcases a dizzying range of material, from a serious reading of "On Top of Old Smoky" to unaccompanied ballads like "The Cruel Ship's Captain" to the scatological humor of "Shaving Cream." Not to mention Brecht-Weill's "As You Make Your Bed" and Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now," the latter a true stunner, perhaps the finest version ever recorded by anybody, including its composer. Or the biting and very, very funny parody of the Stalinists who dominated the '50s urban-folk movement, "Way Down in Lubyanka Prison," set preposterously and hilariously to the "Columbus Stockade" melody.

In a small number of instances, the sound quality is not good.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Paul Hislop on April 27, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Dave Van Ronk's voice was amazing, you'll never forget it, and his music and songs are so varied you won't believe he could make you angry on the one hand and make you cry on the other. Don't even get me started about how he could make you laugh. This CD is a smorgasbord of styles and genres, spanning ballads, rock, blues, traditional folk and political song. They are all from 1957 to 1969 and have never been released, except the one oddity from a weird stereo recording session in New York City. You have to hear Van Ronk's version of "Both Sides Now" which Joni Mitchell has called her favorite of all time, even better than her own version. This truly astonishing compilation has come out at the same time an amazing memoir entitled "Dave Van Ronk: The Mayor of MacDougal Street" has been published by DaCapo. Check it out in the book section.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By D. Sean Brickell on May 2, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Make yer best claims about who's been the most influential artist in folk music. But if you're realistic and serious, either at the top or pretty-damn-close will be Dave Van Ronk. Here are 19 superlative reasons why. Rediscover the depth and emotion simple music can evoke. Or if you're uninitiated, you won;t find a better jumping-in point anywhere.

And anyone who sez it's possible to name the best tracks on this CD obviously needs to listen just a touch longer to every one of 'em. Top-notch start to finish.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Twice-lived on March 21, 2007
Format: Audio CD
As great as Van Ronk's Folkways material was, his live shows were always more interesting, a pastiche of folk blues, Tin Pan Alley, Kurt Weil, Joni Mitchell (always), hokum, and anything else he felt like singing, after he'd get around to feeling like singing.

As if deliberately conceived to send the strokes home before he unveiled to the good stuff, his first set or two would consist of inebriated haranguing with a couple of songs sprinkled in. Then, around 11 o'clock, he'd get serious about singing, and songs like these kept us hanging on his every note.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William J. Dempsey on September 1, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Kind of a mixed bag but classic none the less. Two of my favorites: Buddy Bolden's Blues & Shaving Cream. Also, you can't miss with Dave singing a Joni Mitchell song. Here he does Both Sides Now.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Alfred Johnson on March 19, 2006
Format: Audio CD
When I first heard folk music in my youth I felt unsure about whether I liked it or not. As least against the Rolling Stones and my favorite blues artists. Then on some late night radio folk song show I heard Dave Van Ronk doing 'Come All You Fair and Tender Ladies' and that was it. That old gravelly voice (even though he was young at that time)still commands my attention in the same way.

The last time I saw Dave Van Ronk perform was not a particularly good show for he was prety sick by then. Moreover, his politics seems to have crumbled over time from that hardened Trotskyist of his youth going out to do battle with the benighted Stalinists for the soul of the working class. Any man who can write an interesting ditty about the notorious Moscow Lubyanka political prison (which is on this album) is definitely a political man. But I will always have that late night radio experience in my head.

This album is very uneven in quality and I do believe that the reason some of the songs presented here were not previously released by him is that they were not up to Dave's musical standards, which were quite high. Somebody has done his memory a disservice.
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