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The Mayor of MacDougal Street [2013 edition]: A Memoir

The Mayor of MacDougal Street [2013 edition]: A Memoir [Kindle Edition]

Dave Van Ronk , Elijah Wald
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Review, 9/30/13 "[A] wonderful memoir.""Slate, " 12/2/13 "Your best guide when it comes to Inside Llewyn Davis--apart from what follows, of course--is Van Ronk's posthumous memoir, "The Mayor of MacDougal Street".""New York Times", 11/30/13 "[A] sharp cantankerous memoir.""New York Review of Books"blog, 12/16/2013"The movie extensively mines Van Ronk's remarkable posthumous memoir"The Mayor of MacDougal Street"(seamlessly compiled from interviews by Elijah Wald; Da Capo, 2005) for scenes, anecdotes, and details of background, and its protagonist, Llewyn Davis (played by Oscar Isaac) sings songs closely associated with Van Ronk.""Seattle Times, "12/15/2013"[A] delightful, keenly-observed, cantankerous autobiography...which, if you love 'Inside Llewyn Davis' you owe it to yourself to read.""Paste Magazine", 12/12/2013"[An] acclaimed and enjoyable memoir.", 1/22/2014""The Mayor of MacDougal Street" is one of the dozen best books ever written about a New York life and time: dense with wisdom, humor, judgment, and an amazingly vivid recreation of the rites and rituals and characters of a whole lost world and scene."

Product Description

Dave van ronk (1936-2002) was not only one of the founding figures of the 1960s folk music revival; he was a pioneer of modern acoustic blues, a fine songwriter and arranger, a powerful singer, and one of the most influential guitarists of his era. He was also a marvelous storyteller, a peerless musical historian, and one of the most quotable figures in The Village.

The Mayor of MacDougal Street is a unique firsthand account of the sixties folk scene that includes encounters with young stars-to-be like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell and older luminaries like Woody Guthrie and Odetta. Colorful, hilarious, and engaging, The Mayor of MacDougal Street will appeal not only to folk and blues fans but also to anyone interested in the music, politics, and spirit of a revolutionary period in American culture.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1358 KB
  • Print Length: 274 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0306822164
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; Second Edition, 2013 edition edition (15 Oct 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #182,678 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, if frustrating 4 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Van Ronk's original idea was to write a wide-ranging history of the Greenwich Village scene, with his collaborator Elijah Wald. Sadly he died while the project was under way. What we have, then, is essentially a truncated memoir of his own time in the Village, which pretty much stutters to a halt some time in the mid-1960s (he lived another 40 years). It's true that this means that it covers the time most readers will probably be interested in, but there is a sense throughout of a project that is only partly realised. At times, the narrative lapses into lists of names - people whose role in the story are thereby acknowledeged, but never expanded upon. Also, the fact that he saw the project as being historical rather than autobiographical means that much of the information about himself and his background is vague and sketchy. Whether this is because he was deliberately resisting letting the potential reader into aspects of his life that he considered not relevant to the story he wanted to tell, or whether it's another mark of a project that remains unfinished is impossible to tell. So much for what we don't get - what we do get is enormously valuable as an account of that time and place, its joys and its frustrations, its heroes and villains, Much of it reads very well, too - on the face of it, you get the impression that Wald has succeeded much of the time in capturing the man's voice, of conveying his delight in talking, in words, in telling stories. This is a fascinating and important story and while this is very far from telling it all, it offers enough to make it required reading for anyone who is interested in that story - in what went into it, and what came out of it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars and funny, insight on Dave Van Ronk's world 5 Aug 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am an old folkie, so I may be prejudiced. But this was a lovely, honest, and funny, insight on Dave Van Ronk's world, especially in the late 50's, early 60's, when he was making his way as a musician (folk, jazz, blues) in New York. A very moving introduction fills in some of the gaps, left by his dying before his story-telling was completed. Elijah Wald worked collaboratively with Van Ronk, and it feels as if Van Ronk's voice shines through. No pretension, lots of honesty, and an interesting overview into a fascinating time.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars 6 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A good read of you are interested in the Greenwich Village music scene of the early sixties.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  74 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not to be missed! 30 Nov 2013
By Scott Ainslie - Published on
For my money, you can forget Dylan's 'Chronicles' and simply dive into this wonderful portrait of a musician and the scene that grew up in the Village in the late 50s and through the 60s. Van Ronk's laconic and intelligent voice ring through Elijah Wald's wonderful telling of the stories of that time.

Anyone who is the slightest bit interested in what they missed by not being in the Village in the midst of the Great Folk Scare of the 1960s will enjoy this work, as will those of us blessed enough to hear and remember Van Ronk's remarkable career singing and playing for us. It is a great book.

Scott in Vermont
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars warm, funny, lively 23 Dec 2013
By mike mayo - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Van Ronk's "autobiography" is everything that "Inside Llewyn Davis" isn't. It's an affectionate look back at the music scene, primarily folk, in Greenwich Village in the '50s and '60s. Not much score-settling here. Instead, his love for the music is what comes through most strongly, as it did not in the Coen brothers' film. Much as I enjoyed the film, I'm enjoying the book more for different reasons.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It far exceeded my expectations 7 Jan 2014
By Donald Nelson - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I knew that I would be interested in Van Ronk's memoir just because of its subject matter: the folk music revival and the Greenwich Village scene that produced Bob Dylan and other famous musicians. What I didn't expect was that Dave Van Ronk and his co-author would write a book that is both witty and deep in its analysis of both musical and social trends of the 1950s and 1960s. Van Ronk's views on the folk music scene and American society deserve serious attention, and some of his escapades such as going to California in a drive-away car had me laughing out loud.

Van Ronk did not become a star like the people who he wrote about but, in the end, he was more than satisfied with having been able to live his life as a professional musician, and I was more than satisfied with reading his entertaining account.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real deal 30 Nov 2013
By Rick Ilowite - Published on
I was tangentially connected to that scene and knew Dave Van Ronk, as well as getting to pick with him a few times. I have to say that in my humble opinion, Elijah's book is an unqualified success - not only does he paint an accurate picture of the vibe and the various characters, but Dave's unique personality and spirit comes roaring through on every page. If you didn't experience that scene or weren't lucky enough to have the chance to trade a few words, a tune, a drink, or a smoke with Dave, this is absolutely the next best thing. A great read about one of the treasures of our times.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Music lovers: do yourself a favor and read this book. 30 Nov 2013
By Eve Silber - Published on
This is a must read for anybody who listens to and loves the American music scene of the 50s, 60s, and on! Here is a chance to hear from Dave Van Ronk. Do not miss this opportunity. If you knew him alive, then you already know how important this book is. If you never knew or saw him alive, then you do not know what you are missing. Fill in your gaps, and hear about it all from Dave himself. Enjoyable and transformative. Music lovers: do yourself a favor and read this book.
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