Saturday, June 25, 2011

Coen Brothers to Make Dave Van Ronk Film?

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the Coen Brothers might make a movie about Dave Van Ronk based on the book The Mayor of MacDougal Street.

Mike Regenstreif spread the news over at Folk Roots / Folk Branches and included some nice memories of his encounters with Van Ronk.

Van Ronk's Going Back to Brooklyn was a signature album for me during my early teenage years. (What 13-year-old wouldn't memorize "The Whores of San Pedro" and then go around singing it at summer camp after all?) I also was a huge fan from an early age of his recording of "Cocaine Blues" to be found on the Blues with a Feeling disc that collected recordings from the Newport Folk Festival. By my late teenage years, I was listening to the classic Vanguard sides that Van Ronk recorded and just learning a whole lot about the blues.

I saw Dave Van Ronk twice -- once at the Old Songs Festival, where he told some risque story that mildly offended my eight-year-old ears and then later on (when I was a bit more equipped to appreciate such things) at the University of New Haven, where Van Ronk sadly struggled to keep his breath on stage.

I can't say that I listen to Van Ronk all that much these days, although interestingly enough, some sort of best-of album became part of the soundtrack for my recent bus ride from Galway to Dublin. I sat there, listening to "Cocaine Blues," and thinking to myself, "Man, if I could just learn to play this song..." Well, maybe that should be a new goal for the summer.

Regenstreif appropriately cites Tom Russell's "Van Ronk" from his album Hotwalker in which Russell gives the rundown on what it was like to hang out at Van Ronk's place. It's a great piece and one that Tom nicely ornaments live, too, although here is the album version for you:

"Shut up and listen!"

1 comment:

Nick Toloudis said...

I hope this happens.