Dave Van Ronk 'Live in Monterey' to be Released May 13

Posted on April 9, 2014

Call it “Inside Dave Van Ronk.” At least that’s how Omnivore Recordings is framing its release of a 1998 live performance from the late Greenwich Village folk singer who found posthumous fame earlier this year thanks to the Coen Brothers’ movie Inside Llewyn Davis, whose title character was based loosely on Van Ronk.

Slated for release May 13, Live in Monterey features a sixteen-track set list of songs spanning Van Ronk’s 40-plus-year career, from traditional numbers to blues classics to originals. 

Nicknamed “the Mayor of MacDougall Street,” in honor of the renowned Greenwich Village thoroughfare, Van Ronk was a fixture on the 1950s and ‘60s music scene that gave birth to Bob Dylan, Peter Paul & Mary and Joni Mitchell, among others. Though he never rose to the level of fame reached by some of his contemporaries, Van Ronk’s folk-blues stylings earned him a lofty status among folk aficionados. At the time of his death in 2002--from a heart attack following surgery for colon cancer—he was considered a living embodiment of the 1960s folk revival.

 “Now that the media hubbub surroundingInside Llewyn Davis …has settled down, the time is perfect to take a closer look at therealDave Van Ronk,” say Omnivore officials in a press release about the album.

Folk singer and fellow-Greenwich Village denizen Happy Traum wrote the liner notes to the album. He says few folk artists are remembered with the affection reserved for Van Ronk.

“At one point in
his career, Dave would surely have liked to become famous,” says Traum. “But he lived his life and made his music on his own terms and settled reluctantly for being a ‘legend.’”

For more info, visit www.omnivorerecordings.com.

Check out the above video of Van Ronk performing "St. James Infirmary" recorded live in 1997 for the Smithsonian Folksways Collection.

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