The Mayor of MacDougal Street: A Memoir

The Mayor of MacDougal Street: A Memoir

Elijah Wald, Dave Van Ronk

Language: English

Pages: 228

ISBN: B01N3MEB8G

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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</Div>

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The Climb: The Autobiography

American Racist: The Life and Films of Thomas Dixon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and went to work. I have never applied myself to any project with such intensity before or since. Paley had provided the key, but mastering the technique took time. I did not take any lessons—there was nobody around then, as far as I knew, who was giving any—but Sunday after Sunday I hit Washington Square, watching other fingerstyle guitar players, meeting them, and picking their brains. A few of them lived in the Village, but most were still living with their parents in the burbs. I made friends

Blow Up the World on Saturday, and the Locofoco Party of Baluchistan on the first Monday of each month. I enjoyed it and felt that in an atheistic sort of way I was doing the Lord’s work. And, though I have typically found that working for Reds is the pits—they all learned about labor relations from book two of Das Kapital, “Chain them to the factory bench!”—they were not entirely heartless and would usually slip us a few bucks. And a few bucks was really all I needed. Rent was next to nothing. I

should be, I understand what the structure should be, measure by measure. But getting my goddamn hands to do it is really a brute, and I had to accept the fact pretty early on that I was never going to be a superchops guitarist. Even while I was fooling around with barbershop and pop songs, I had never stopped listening to and loving jazz. I wanted to play it, but there was nobody around that I could pick it up from, the way I had the other music. Finally, I realized I would have to bite the

bullet and take some guitar lessons. There were not a lot of jazz guitarists teaching in Richmond Hill, so at first I wasted some time studying with a local hamfat who tried to teach me stuff like “Oh Mein Papa” and “Flight of the Bumblebee.” Then I got lucky, and somehow found out about Jack Norton. Jack, or “the Old Man,” as we used to call him, had played in the Jean Goldkette band and known Bix Beiderbeck and Eddie Lang. He taught most of the band instruments, including some he didn’t even

technically and in terms of staying power, and the ideology of the scene allowed for a great degree of sloppiness, which meant that nobody had to push themselves. Most of the songwriters were writing well below their abilities, and people who were capable of learning and employing more complicated harmonies and chord structures confined themselves to 1-4-5 changes. Some of them were enormously talented, but they were like an enormously talented boxer who insists on fighting with one hand behind

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