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Ballads, Blues, and a Spiritual

Dave Van Ronk FW03818 / FS 3818

"Not infrequently I am taken to task for the manner in which I approach my material," folk singer and guitar player Dave Van Ronk (1936-2002) wrote in the liner notes to Ballads, Blues, and a Spiritual. A white New Yorker singing traditional Southern black songs, he distinguished himself from others who adopted this repertoire by imitating the way he heard black musicians perform. "Although I can appreciate the ‘white approach’ to Negro folksongs and enjoy the work of many of its adherents, I still reserve the right to sing these songs in the style to which I am accustomed, partly because of habit, and partly, I confess, because I feel that my way is the ‘right way'."

This 1959 release was Van Ronk’s first record. It contains the tracks "If You Leave Me Pretty Momma," "Backwater Blues," "K.C. Moan," "How Long," and "John Henry," which were not featured on the Van Ronk collection The Folkways Years, 1959-1961.

Liner notes include photos, lyrics, song histories, and an introduction by Van Ronk.

Year Released 1959
Record Label Folkways Records
Source Archive Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Copyright 2004 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings / 1959 Folkways Records
Genre(s) American Folk; Blues
Country(s) United States
Instrument(s) Guitar; Vocals
Subject(s) Blues; Folk songs--United States; Folksong revival; Spirituals (Songs)

Download Liner Notes

101 Duncan and Brady Dave Van Ronk 3:02
102 Black Mountain Blues Dave Van Ronk 4:02
103 In the Pines Dave Van Ronk 3:08
104 My Baby's So Sweet Dave Van Ronk 2:35
105 Oh, What a Beautiful City (Twelve Gates to the City) Dave Van Ronk 3:15
106 Winin' Boy Dave Van Ronk 2:38
107 If You Leave Me Pretty Momma Dave Van Ronk 3:09
201 Backwater Blues Dave Van Ronk 3:04
202 Careless Love Dave Van Ronk 2:59
203 Betty and Dupree Dave Van Ronk 3:37
204 K.C. Moan Dave Van Ronk 3:04
205 Gambler's Blues Dave Van Ronk 2:30
206 John Henry Dave Van Ronk 2:28
207 How Long Dave Van Ronk 3:56
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