Dave Van Ronk is refreshing, even 50 years later. I only feature two songs in a post, but if you have time also check out Stackerlee, (also known as Stagolee and Stagger Lee), the classic blues about the death of Billy Lyons.
The Richmond Hill (Queens, NY) Historical Society has a nice profile of Van Ronk:
Dave Van Ronk was a regular in Greenwich Village throughout the 1960′s and a regular at the Newport Folk Festival as well. His primary notoriety to the mainstream these days is due mainly to his connection to Bob Dylan, but amongst musicians and folk listeners, he is a legend, and deservedly so. It was clear not only in his musical presentation, but in his between-song commentaries, that Van Ronk approached the often obscure, Black composers of the songs he sang with a love and respect that borders on reverence. His often humorous, often poignant personal recollections
This site — I am unsure of the name — has an impressive discography.
This comment from Wikipedia appears to do a good job of summing up Van Ronk:
Robert Shelton described Van Ronk as, “the musical mayor of MacDougal Street, a tall, garrulous hairy man of three quarters, or, more accurately, three fifths Irish descent. Topped by light brownish hair and a leonine beard, which he smoothed down several times a minute, he resembled an unmade bed strewn with books, record jackets, pipes, empty whiskey bottles, lines from obscure poets, finger picks, and broken guitar strings. He was Bob [Dylan]‘s first New York guru. Van Ronk was a walking museum of the blues. Through an early interest in jazz, he had gravitated toward black music – its jazz pole, its jug-band and ragtime center, its blues bedrock… his manner was rough and testy, disguising a warm, sensitive core. Van Ronk retold the blues intimately… for a time, his most dedicated follower was Dylan.”
Above is “Sunday Street” and below is “Green Green Rocky Road,” which is introduced by the story of how the song came into being.
Acoustic Guitar Masters
R&B, Soul and Funk
The Binghamton University Glee Club perform Timshel by Mumford & Sons as part of its Sandcastles in the Sand end of semester show. The arrangement is by Maura Lewis.
Speaking with extreme objectivity, I only can conclude that the girl at bottom right is particularly good.
The great man turns 94 today. Here he performs Down By the Riverside with Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee.
Canadian folks singer Stompin’ Tom Connors — who died March 6 at age 77 — recorded an amazing 61 albums. Ten of them have not even been released.
Here is part of the bio at his website:
Born Thomas Charles Connors in Saint John New Brunswick on February 9th 1936, he was separated from his mother at a young age and raised by foster parents in Skinners Pond, P.E.I. until he was 13 years old. His life of poverty, orphanages, hitchhiking and playing bars would eventually turn into a life of hit songs, national concert tours and fame in spite of a constant uphill battle to be recognized by the music industry in Canada. In 1979 in a fit of frustration and disappointment he returned all 6 of his Juno awards as a statement of personal protest against the Americanization of the Canadian Music Industry, a sentiment he continued to express to this day. In 1989 Tom signed with EMI Music Canada, teamed up with talent promoter Brian Edwards and returned to the stage where fans young and old embraced his music once again as he quickly became one of the biggest concert draws and sought after performers in the country.
Due to the unwavering love for promoting his home country, some of the many accolades he has received include becoming an Officer of the Order of Canada, his own Canadian postage stamp, he was invited by the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson to receive the Governor Generals Performing Arts Award, he was the recipient of both the Queens Gold and Diamond Jubilee Medals and he earned 3 honorary doctorate degrees (Saint Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick; “Laws”, University of Toronto; “Laws”, and the University of P.E.I.; “Letters”). (Continue Reading…)
The Toronto Star has a nice obit. This is how it starts:
Stompin’ Tom Connors , the lanky, cranky country-folk music legend who extolled Canada’s pastoral and working-class virtues in song for more than 40 years in saloons, festivals and concert halls across the country — all the time railing against a global music industry that he considered had betrayed the nation’s character and song treasury — has died. He was 77. (Continue Reading…)
Connors fought the influence of the American music industry. This brings up one of the great lines ever, which is credited to Mexican president José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori: “Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States!”
Connors wrote and performed The Hockey Song (above, sung at the 1993 celebration following The Montreal Canadians, Stanley Cup win). It is to hockey what Take Me Out to the Ball Game is to baseball. Below is Bud the Spud.
Calexico has released eight albums. This is how AllMusic describes the band:
Calexico, a Tucson collective of musicians focused around Joey Burns and John Convertino, forged an eclectic identity through their exploration of Southwestern culture. Composer Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti Westerns as well as Portuguese fado, Afro-Peruvian music, and ’50s and ’60s jazz, country, and surf music all factored into Calexico’s music. Burns studied classical music at the University of California, Irvine, before starting his rock career, and Calexico formed after Burns met John Convertino in Los Angeles in 1990. At the time, Convertino had been playing with Howe Gelb’s experimental rock group Giant Sand after serving as their upright bassist for a European tour. Burns and Convertino found their voice as a duo during a Giant Sand break, moved to Tucson in 1994, and began collecting instruments from the Chicago Music Store.
First, they worked with Tucson’s neo-lounge combo Friends of Dean Martinez, playing marimba, cello, accordion, and vibraphone in addition to their usual work on bass, guitar, and drums. After a split with Friends of Dean Martinez founder Bill Elm in 1996, the duo began to get session work with Barbara Manning, Richard Buckner, Victoria Williams, Michael Hurley, Bill Janovitz, Vic Chesnutt, and Lisa Germano (as the trio OP8). Burns and Convertino also experimented on their own with their new instruments in a home recording studio in 1996, releasing their debut CD, Spoke, on Germany’s Haus Musik Records. After signing with Quarterstick/Touch & Go Records in Chicago, they released The Black Light in 1998 and The Hot Rail in 2000. (Continue Reading…)
Odetta was an influential singer in the 1960s folk/protest movement era. Here is how Wikipedia starts its profile:
Odetta Holmes (December 31, 1930 – December 2, 2008), known as Odetta, was an American singer, actress, guitarist, songwriter, and a civil and human rights activist, often referred to[by whom?] as “The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement”. Her musical repertoire consisted largely of American folk music, blues, jazz, and spirituals. An important figure in the American folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s, she was influential to many of the key figures of the folk-revival of that time, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Mavis Staples, and Janis Joplin. Time included her song “Take This Hammer” on its list of the All-Time 100 Songs, stating that “Rosa Parks was her No. 1 fan, and Martin Luther King Jr. called her the queen of American folk music.” (Continue Reading…)
Above is This Little Light of Mine and below is Glory, Hallelujah.