David Van Ronk, 30 June 1936, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, d. 10 February 2002, New York, USA. Van Ronk was a leading light of the Greenwich Village folk scene in the 60s, acting as a mentor to the young Bob Dylan. After a spell in the merchant marines Van Ronk became a professional performer in the mid-50s. Highly proficient on the guitar and banjo, his first love was New Orleans jazz and he began his musical career playing in jazz groups. His initial involvement with folk music did not come about until 1957 when he worked with Odetta. From this, his interest in blues grew, inspired by Josh White. A regular at Greenwich Villages Washington Square, Van Ronks reputation for playing blues, together with his distinctive gruff voice, grew until he was signed by Folkways Records in 1959 for Sings Ballads, Blues & A Spiritual. An album with the Orange Blossom Jug Five appeared the previous year on the Lyrichord label. After one further release,...
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