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Inside Dave Van Ronk – Fixin’ to Die and the Art of the Folk Guitar

In the spring of 1962, Prestige Records produced sessions with Dave Van Ronk, singing and accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. It was prestigious enough, for a scruffy denizen of the cafés of Greenwich Village’s MacDougal  Street, to be recorded by the label that released the work of Miles, Monk, Coltrane and many others. But the [...]

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Saint Louis Tickle – Ragtime Guitar and Dave Van Ronk

It is the early 1960s, in New York City’s Greenwich Village, a burly yet underfed guitarist fusses over a record player, the smoke from a lit cigarette curling around his head. He drops the needle again and again on a scratchy 78rpm record. As the strains of a turn-of-the-century piano rag Saint Louis Tickle warble forth, he is creating one of the first guitar arrangements for a classic ragtime piano piece. Once other musicians hear it, it will kick off what will become a movement of ragtime guitarists.

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How Simple Folk Guitar Accompaniment Really Works

In this video, Folk-blues artist Mokai performs “Poor Lazurus” from the repertoire of 1960s folk-icon, Dave Van Ronk, demonstrating how a simple folk guitar accompaniment works to enhance the drama in telling a story.

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Coen Brothers Take on 60s Greenwich Village Folk Scene

Mokai is a devotee of the music and the persona of Dave Van Ronk, hotly anticipating this Coen Brothers’ film “Inside Llyewn Davis” since it was announced a few years ago. The film is loosely based on Van Ronk’s autobiography “The Mayor of MacDougal Street”.

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Duck Baker-Modern Fingerstyle for the Ages

I’m pretty much obsessed with guitar technique, especially fingerstyle, so I was excited to get a chance to hear the legendary Duck Baker perform and catch one of his teaching workshops. Duck Baker jumped on the instrumental guitar circuit in the early 1970s, at a time when the glow was still warm on the 1960s [...]

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Dave Van Ronk, the Real Folk Blues

In my early teens, a friend gave me a Dave Van Ronk album. Seeing that I was into guitar, this young wiseman wanted to assure himself I understood what the combination of Acoustic Guitar and Voice was really capable of. Through Van Ronk I quickly found Blind Lemon Jefferson, Reverend Gary Davis and Leadbelly. My idea of what singing with the guitar meant was permanently pegged to the soulful funkiness etched on those recordings.

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