The Mayor of MacDougal Street

The Mayor of MacDougal Street

A Memoir

Book - 2005
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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 '60s, he was also a marvelous storyteller, a peerless musical historian, and one of the most quotable figures on the Village scene. The Mayor of MacDougal Street is a 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, Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs, and Joni Mitchell, as well as older luminaries like Reverend Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt, and Odetta. Colorful, hilarious, and engaging, The Mayor of MacDougal Street is a feast for anyone interested in the music, politics, and spirit of a revolutionary period in American culture
Publisher: Cambridge, MA : Da Capo Press, c2005
Edition: 1st Da Capo Press ed
ISBN: 9780306814792
Call Number: 780.2 V358a
Characteristics: xv, 246 p., [8] p. of plates : ill., ports. ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Wald, Elijah

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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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