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Dave Van Ronk

"Dave Van Ronk" (June 30 1936 – February 10 2002) was a folk singer born in Brooklyn, New York, who settled in Greenwich Village, New York City, and was nicknamed the "Mayor of MacDougal Street."

He was best known as a pioneer of the acoustic blues revival, but his work ranged from old English ballads to Bertolt Brecht, rock, New Orleans jazz, and swing. He was a pioneer of instrumental ragtime guitar, as well as an early supporter of Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, among many others. Van Ronk was very influential on the music scene in New York City in the 1960s.

Van Ronk moved from Brooklyn to Queens in 1951 and began attending Richmond Hill High School. He had been performing in a barbershop quartet since 1949, but left before finishing high school, and spent the next few years bumming around lower Manhattan, except for shipping out twice with the Merchant Marine.

His first professional gigs were with various trad jazz bands around the New York area, of which he later observed: "We wanted to play traditional jazz in the worst way...and we did!" The jazz revival didn't take off though, and Van Ronk turned to performing blues music he'd stumbled across an...

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