The late Dave Van Ronk’s previously unreleased Live in Monterey is will be released on May 13, 2014.
From the press release:
Live in Monterey looks back on his entire career. Recorded at Monterey, Calif.’s Carleton Hall, the album works both as a retrospective and an introduction. The 16 tracks include traditional numbers, blues classics and originals, touching on every aspect of what makes Van Ronk revered by musicians of every generation. The album features just Dave, his voice and his guitar. That’s all that’s needed.
“Dave’s voice is a wonder,” writes set co-producer Rick Chelew (who recorded the set) in his liner notes, “going from a delicate, almost feminine whisper to a powerful frightening growl that would make a punk-rocker shut up and listen — sometimes within the same song.”
Fellow Greenwich Village folk denizen Happy Traum, who also contributed liner notes to Live in Monterey, observes: “Those of us who had a chance to know Dave Van Ronk were treated to a larger than life, contradictory, ultimately lovable personality. He was generous, opinionated, sharply intelligent, hypercritical, hospitable, cranky, an unapologetic Trotskyite communist, a sci-fi aficionado, a musical polymath with wide-ranging tastes, a darn good cook, and a friend, mentor, and teacher to many a young, aspiring guitarist.”
“At one point in his career,” Traum continues, “Dave would surely have liked to become famous, but he lived his life and made his music on his own terms an settled reluctantly for being a ‘legend.’ The irony is that none of his peers, no matter how commercially successful they became, were dubbed ‘The Mayor of MacDougal Street,’ had a Greenwich Village street named after them, or are remembered with such affection.”
Yes, there have been other live Van Ronk releases, but all live performances are not equal, and it was a stroke of good luck that tape was rolling in this old Monterey church when the artist, in fine form, played an extraordinary set. “As soon as Dave started to play it was clear that this was one of those rare occasions …,” says Chelew. Van Ronk’s widow Andrea Vuocolo, who attended countless Van Ronk shows, concurs, recalling it as “a particularly strong performance.”
It is time again for an audience with The Mayor.
1. You’ve Been A Good Old Wagon But You Done Broke Down |
2. Blood Red Moon
3. Jesus Met The Woman At The Well
4. Going Down Slow
6. Cocaine Blues
7. Winin’ Boy Blues
8. Did You Hear John Hurt?
9. Jelly Jelly
10. Spike Driver Blues
11. Sportin’ Life Blues
12. Come Back Baby
13. Candy Man
14. He Was A Friend Of Mine
15. St. James Infirmary
16. Four Strong Winds
Here’s a cool 1997 version of “St. James Infirmary” that is different from the one on the album: