Folk, blues and jazz singer Dave Van Ronk, best known for his early mentoring of Bob Dylan, died Sunday, Feb. 10, in Manhattan from colon cancer. He was 65.
Van Ronk, aka the Mayor of Greenwich Village, was a cult favorite from the early 1960s until his death. Credited as an early influence on a young Robert Zimmerman, who showed up in New York City from his native Minnesota in 1961, the future Bob Dylan often hung around with Van Ronk and stayed at his Greenwich apartment. On Dylan’s debut, the future folk superstar credits Van Ronk with introducing him to “House of the Rising Sun.” Not a hugely prolific songwriter, Van Ronk excelled at rearranging blues, folk, American songbook and old-time jazz nuggets.
The guitarist and gruff-voiced singer cut Sweet & Lowdown (Justin Time) last year, the most jazz-oriented recording among his more than 30-CD discography. Van Ronk was preparing the tapes for a concert CD, recorded at his last show on Oct. 22 in Adelphi, Md., before he died.
Van Ronk is survived by his wife, Andrea Vuocolo.Originally Published