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Down in Washington Square (3CD) [Box set]

Dave Van Ronk Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £19.47 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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The extraordinary folk and blues singer and guitarist Dave Van Ronk is inextricably linked, first and foremost, to the folk music scene in New York City's Greenwich Village in the 1960s. Van Ronk, born in Brooklyn on June 30, 1936, and of Irish origin, has been performing for more than four decades. He made his first record for Moses Asch's Folkways label in 1959 and won far-reaching ... Read more in Amazon's Dave Van Ronk Store

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Down in Washington Square (3CD) + Inside Llewyn Davis: Original Soundtrack Recording + Inside Dave Van Ronk
Price For All Three: £37.42

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Product details

  • Audio CD (18 Nov 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Smithsonian Folkways
  • ASIN: B00EV5I886
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,327 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Disc 1:

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Duncan and Brady 3:06£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. River Come Down (Bamboo) 3:48£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Spike Driver Blues 3:15£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. John Henry 2:29£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Backwater Blues 3:04£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. K.C. Moan 3:03£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Haul on the Bowline 1:21£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Just a Closer Walk with Thee 3:03£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Gambler's Blues 2:46£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Sweet Substitute 2:34£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Bed Bug Blues 2:48£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Winin' Boy 2:40£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Georgie and the Irt 3:33£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Betty and Dupree 3:38£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen15. Come Back Baby 3:55£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen16. My Baby's so Sweet 2:36£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen17. Black Mountain Blues 4:04£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen18. Yas-Yas-Yas 2:06£0.69  Buy MP3 

Disc 2:

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Willie the Weeper 2:51£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Dink's Song 3:46£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Santy Anno 1:46£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Leave Her, Johnny 1:31£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Tell Old Bill 4:30£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Careless Love 2:58£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Standing by My Window 4:58£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Please See My Grave Is Kept Clean 2:58£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Had More Money 3:09£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen10. If You Leave Me, Pretty Mama 3:09£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Hesitation Blues 2:35£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen12. In the Pines 3:09£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Oh, What a Beautiful City 3:16£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Mean Old Frisco 2:58£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen15. Stackalee 2:46£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen16. How Long 3:52£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen17. Ain't No Grave Can Hold My Body Down 4:53£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen18. House of the Rising Sun 6:10£0.69  Buy MP3 

Disc 3:

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Hootchie Kootchie Man 3:15£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Reckless Blues 2:31£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Trouble in Mind 2:26£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Oh Lord, Search My Heart 3:57£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. God Bless the Child 3:18£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Losers 3:19£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Another Time and Place 4:30£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Garden State Stomp 2:52£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Motherless Children 3:13£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Don't You Leave Me Here (I'm Alabama Bound) 4:43£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Spike Driver Blues 6:50£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Down South Blues 5:12£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen13. St. James Infirmary (Gambler's Blues) 4:26£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Ace in the Hole 4:23£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen15. Going Down Slow 3:30£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen16. Buckets of Rain 3:55£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen17. Jelly Jelly 3:03£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen18. Sometime (Whatcha Gonna Do) 2:37£0.69  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Product Description

Nicknamed the Mayor of MacDougal Street, Dave Van Ronk(1936-2002) established himself as an outstanding folk/blues guitarist and singer in the early days of the Greenwich Village music scene and continued to perform for over 40 years. As Bob Dylan wrote in Chronicles ...... Van Ronk was king of the street, he reigned supreme

Released to coincide with the Coen Brothers film Inside Llewen Davis, inspired by Van Ronk s memoirs, this collection includes 16 never before released recordings coupled with tracks from the Smithsonian Folkways archive spanning the years 1958 to 2001

3CD set and 40 page booklet with extensive notes.

Called the Mayor of MacDougal Street, Dave Van Ronk (1936-2002) was a leading figure in the Greenwich Village music scene for more than four decades. He epitomized the urban folksinger apprenticing through immersion in the music revival s New York City epicenter of Washington Square Park. Drawing from and developing a wide repertoire of songs, guitar techniques, and performing skills, he mentored younger musicians and songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Jack Hardy, Suzanne Vega, Christine Lavin, and many others. Down on Washington Square includes 16 never-before-released recordings coupled with tracks from the Smithsonian Folkways archive, and features early live recordings made in 1958 (one year before his first Folkways album) to his final studio recordings in 2001, just months before his death. It paints a musical mosaic of Van Ronk s artistry and expands his legacy, keeping alive the genius of a legendary performer who inspired audiences, musicians, and a major motion picture - Inside Llewyn Davis, written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. 54 tracks, nearly three hours of music, 40-page booklet with extensive notes.

Product Description

(3CD) 54-track set from this leading figure in the Greenwich Village folk scene includes 16 previously unreleased recordings (links; BOB DYLAN, COEN BROTHERS 'INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS')

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you only buy one 1 April 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Dave Van Ronk, this is the one.

Always regarded the man as a rough diamond...but having read Mayor of and llstened to more of his recordings he was far more than this and I've allowed his gravelly voice to understate his musicality and the quality of his playing, never mind the excellent choice of material He was a very accomplished artist and no wonder he was a mainstay of the Greenwich Village set. (and no wonder Dylan nicked his material).
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The earliest recordings (previously unissued) and the last ones (also unissued) of a folk music legend. 3 Nov 2013
By Steven I. Ramm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Realizing that they could have a "movie-tie-in" to spread the gospel of the legendary Greenwich Village folksinger, Dave Van Ronk, the December release of the new Coen brothers film, "Inside Llewyn Davis" - loosely based on Van Ronk's autobiography, Smithsonian Folkways archivist/producer Jeff Place dug into the archives, as well as connecting with Van Ronk's widow, Andrea Vuocolo, to create this three-CD album. Van Ronk reordered for a number of labels during his nearly 50-year career (he died in 2002 at age 68) but he started with Mo Asch's Folkways label in 1959 and his last commercially released recording (a concert from 2001) was issued by SF in 2004. His first two Folkways albums are still available and those fill part of Discs One and Two on this set, but Place was able to go back further to find early live recordings from the year before Asch signed him to the label and Disc 3 contains five studio recordings made by Matthew Fritz just a year before Van Ron's death. There are a few other "previously unissued " tracks throughout the album as well as some sides from the Fast Folk Magazine series recorded in the 1980s.

The set includes a nice 40-page booklet of detailed track note and some photos. Van Ronk was nothing if not influential to the New York folk music scene and, after his career hit a peak, he was there to ask as counselor, father, and friend for the next generation of songwriters like Christine Lavin, John Gorka and Suzanne Vega. I was lucky enough to be able to "hang" with Van Ronk at the Philadelphia Folk Festival in the 1970s and, like others who got to meet him in person, treasure those moments. He sounded "gruff" but there was a true compassion and tenderness behind that voice - a voice that introduced the world to Joni Mitchell ("Clouds")as well a (in a few cases) Billie Holiday ("Gof Bless The Child").

It may have taken the Coen brothers film to initiate this project - but, whatever, I'm glad it's out.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ain't Much You Can't Do in Washington Square 6 Nov 2013
By Rabbit Hole - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
With the release of this compilation, Van Ronk's early years (1958-1963) are filled out much better and should be easier to comprehend. The later material is a bonus glimpse into what he was doing from 1997-2001. Much has been said about Dave Van Ronk, and his excellent memoir, The Mayor of MacDougal Street: A Memoir, is available for the curious. Further, Steven Ramm and K.H. Orton sum this set up nicely in their reviews. So then I'm going to cut straight to the contents.

Down in Washington Square includes Van Ronk's first two albums in their entirety (Ballads, Blues and a Spiritual and Dave Van Ronk Sings). This renders Dave Van Ronk: The Folkways Years, 1959-1961 useless unless you want the booklet from it. Also collected are all 3 songs that he sings lead on from Foc'sle Songs and Shanties ("Haul on the Bowline" / "Leave Her Johnny" / "Santy Anno"). His last studio recordings from 2001 are what I see as the huge bonus ("Ace in the Hole" / "Going Down Slow" / "Buckets of Rain" / "Jelly, Jelly" / "Sometime (Whatcha Gonna Do)"). Four of them were performed regularly during his later years and can be heard on And The Tin Pan Bended and The Story Ended and Dave Van Ronk at the Bottom Line, but hearing them from a studio is the greatest. Another bonus is that four of the six recordings from Fast Folk Musical Magazine are also included. I suspect that the two that were left off would have been retreading ("Garden State Stomp", 1982 - vol. 1, no. 1 and "Losers", 1994 - vol. 8, no. 2).

Several live performances are also included; Some for the first time. However, the 1997 concert from The Barns at Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA is the only uncut concert. I'm not sure about the reasoning behind scattering the included performances, but it is better than nothing and still offers a wider glimpse into Van Ronk's early years. For me, his excellent performance of Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child" from Cambridge, MA in May 1963 is the highlight of the live material.

The 39-page booklet includes the words to the last song Van Ronk wrote, "Down in Washington Square", as well as written contributions by his widow, Andrea Vuocolo, and Jeff Place, the latter of whom also provides annotations for every song. There are several photos padding the case and booklet, too. Most of which are new to the general public.

I'm very pleased with this release and highly recommend it.

With that said, I hope any newcomers check out what he did from the years not covered here: 1964-1985. There are great albums to be heard (Just Dave Van Ronk / No Dirty Names / Sunday Street / Somebody Else, Not Me / Going Back to Brooklyn). Going Back to Brooklyn is the only album comprised entirely of Van Ronk's own songs and my favorite. Even his full band experiments from 1968-1973 (Dave Van Ronk and the Hudson Dusters / Van Ronk / Songs for Ageing Children) are worth purchasing for the great songs sprinkled throughout them. Lastly, Inside Dave Van Ronk is essential and goes well with this compilation.

Here's a full list of contents for this release:


(1959) Ballads, Blues and a Spiritual

1 Duncan and Brady
2 Black Mountain Blues
3 In the Pines
4 My Baby's So Sweet
5 Twelve Gates to the City
6 Winin' Boy
7 If You Leave Me Pretty Momma
8 Backwater Blues
9 Careless Love
10 Betty and Dupree
11 K.C. Moan
12 Gambler's Blues
13 John Henry
14 How Long

(1959) Foc'sle Songs and Shanties (Paul Clayton and the Foc'sle Singers)

3 Haul on the Bowline
9 Leave Her Johnny
13 Santy Anno

(1961) Dave Van Ronk Sings

1 Bed Bug Blues
2 Yas-Yas-Yas
3 Please See That My Grave Is Kept Clean
4 Tell Old Bill
5 Georgie and the IRT
6 Hesitation Blues
7 Hootchy Kootchy Man
8 Sweet Substitute
9 Dink's Song
10 River Come Down
11 Just a Closer Walk with Thee
12 Come Back Baby
13 Spike Driver's Moan
14 Standing by My Window
15 Willie the Weeper

(2001) Last Studio Sessions

Ace in the Hole
Going Down Slow
Buckets of Rain
Jelly, Jelly
Sometime (Whatcha Gonna Do)

LIVE (all songs have fade-outs except The Barns at Wolf Trap)

(1958-06-27) New York, NY (Folksinger's Guild)

Reckless Blues
Trouble in Mind
Oh Lord, Search My Heart

(1958-11-14) New York, NY (American Youth Hostels)

Ain't No Grave Can Hold My Body Down

(1961-xx-xx) New Haven, CT (Yale University)

Had More Money
Mean Old Frisco
House of the Rising Sun

(1963-05-xx) Cambridge, MA (Club 47)

God Bless the Child

(1997-10-24) Vienna, VA (The Barns at Wolf Trap)

1 Don't You Leave Me Here (I'm Alabama Bound)
2 Spike Driver Blues
3 Down South Blues
4 St. James Infirmary (Gambler's Blues)

Fast Folk Musical Magazine (all live performances)

(1982) Another Time and Place (vol. 1, no. 8)
(1984) Motherless Children (vol. 1, no. 6)
(1988) Losers (vol. 4, no. 5)
(1992) Garden State Stomp (vol. 6, no. 3)

I hope this helps.

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TIP OF THE HAT TO THE MAYOR 30 Oct 2013
By K. H. Orton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
With the release of The Cohen Brother's Inside Llewyn Davis, chances are Dave Van Ronk's name will be dropped for 15 minutes. And hopefully that's enough time to shine a spotlight on the man who not only influenced but helped usher in the fabled 1960's Village Folk Boom. Spanning from rare early unreleased live recordings in 1958 through final studio recordings in 2001, this is by no means complete but a generous helping of the man once hailed as the "Mayor of MacDougal Street".

While he wasn't the songwriter Dylan was, Van Ronk served not only as mentor but major influence on the kid who wrote "Blowing In the Wind". Not to mention, providing an occasional couch to crash on. Van Ronk's big gruff, boisterous voice and braying delivery lent all the edge and grit missing from the more wistful, polished likes of Peter, Paul & Mary. Obviously a young Dylan took note. White Bread collegiate outfits like The Kingston Trio pale in comparison. Van Ronk sang like there was no tomorrow and learned his trade among the buskers in Washington Square. And while everyone back then owed a lot to Woody Guthrie and Josh White, Van Ronk learned any Rev Gary Davis tunes from the man himself. And if there was something kind of anemic and academic about Pete Seeger, Van Ronk was just as book-smart but far more visceral, idiosyncratic and acerbic.

Despite some commendable originals, Van Ronk's legacy lies in digging up Tradition's corpse and kicking new life into it. In terms of repertoire, his was wildly more varied and eclectic than most of his contemporaries. Unlike a lot of Folkies Van Ronk's major influence was Jazz, his heroes Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton. From Blues to Appalachian Folk to Spirituals and Sea Shanties, Van Ronk not only held the torch but put his own big personal stamp on it all. If John Hurt's "Stackalee" and "John Henry" are now standards, it's in part due to Dave Van Ronk. Another case in point, is "House of the Rising Sun". Deriving from an old English ballad, Van Ronk's arrangement is the one Dylan copped for his first album (much to Van Ronk's exasperation since he wanted to cut it himself first). Of course, Alan Price of The Animals soon pulled the rug out from under both. Herein lies Van Ronk's original, unadorned arrangement.

At 3 discs, this set far out surpasses any other collection on the market. And while, Blues, Ballads and A Spiritual is a Van Ronk/Folk classic, this pretty much covers the same ground. Beyond this, seek out Inside Dave Van Ronk for more.

While far from the only luminary in the 60's Folk Music boom, Van Ronk was undeniably a driving force. And where many of his contemporaries sound quaintly dated, Van Ronk's raw,uncommerical recordings sound as fresh today as they did then. While he never achieved the success of Collins, Dylan or Baez the Mayor of MacDougal Street is far more deserving than a historical foot note. Same could be said of Karen Dalton and Fred Neil who also lent their unique character and talents to a scene that changed the face of American Popular Music forever.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VAN RONK FOR THE AGES 7 Dec 2013
By Franz Douskey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Back in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Dave Van Ronk was a strong interpreter of songs and an awesome presence in the strange land of the East Village. He was not a gentle soul. He sang from a dark deep place that few folksingers could touch. That might be because Dave Van Ronk often said he wasn't a folk singer, but a jazz singer. Peggy Seeger was around, along with the New Lost City Ramblers, Lambert Hendricks and Ross, David Amram, Bill Manville, Kerouac, Ginsberg, Lord Buckley and Robert Frank, a fecund, wild place for every creative act. At the center was Dave Van Ronk. While most musicians seemed to be passing through, Van Ronk was the guy who kept the music centered and solid. Finally, here is an attempt to put Van Ronk's work together. DOWN IN WASHINGTON SQUARE is a great contribution for its overview of Van Ronk's very early performances to five recordings near the end of his life. This collection speaks history, captures the essence, and I hope reminds some of us and introduces others to this unique, deep digger of spirituals and ditties who transformed a segment of American music.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it, love it, love it! 2 Jan 2014
By Floydo - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This is an awesome collection. When I listen to it, I get lost in the music. It is very pure and simple. One can literally trace the roots of Dylan, Baez, Judy Blue Eyes, and others in this music. Thank you Smithsonian Folkways! I am anxious to sample others of their collection.
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