Engineers: Chuck Ellis, Alan Mattes, Bruce Bartone.
Recorded at The Barn, North Ferrisburg, Vermont. Includes liner notes by Rosalie Sorrels.
Personnel: Dave Van Ronk (vocals, guitar).
When Dave Van Ronk defined urban folk music in the late-'50s/early-'60s, songwriting wasn't much of an option; one sang the folk and blues standards of the time and tried to invest them with some originality. It wasn't until people like Bob Dylan and Eric Andersen came along that original material found its way into the folk boom. Thus, others wrote the majority of material in Van Ronk's esteemed catalogue.
On this 1991 recording, though, he looks back at his small-but-powerful cache of original songs written over the course of his long career. Though some of the songs were written many years earlier, the older Van Ronk invests them with an added level of emotion and subtlety. From the humorous existentialism of "Losers" to the ominous, surreal blues "Head Inspector," Van Ronk proves as talented at composition as he is at performance--no small task.
Mojo (Publisher) (p.132) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Sometimes tender, sometimes bawdy, frequently hilarious but always honest, Van Ronk was the very embodiment of the best in American folk."