Friday Folk Musings


I haven’t seen the Coen Brothers film, “Inside Llewyn Davis,” but I will, when it comes on cable. I’ve read many reviews and many opinions of the film, but they do not matter to me since I am just so happy that the music from the film will, hopefully, gain momentum and bring folk music (or “Americana”) to a new high that it hasn’t had in over 40 years. I did see the Town Hall Concert on Showtime (Another Day, Another Time) that presented the artists in the movie and it was so beautiful.  The Coen Brothers are Baby Boomers like me, in fact, they are one year younger. It is inspiring and uplifting that they, along with T Bone Burnett, felt or knew that a story about Greenwich Village in the 60s warranted a movie. I don’t fault them for inaccurate facts, portrayals of folksingers, dates or locales, it’s a movie, it’s fiction. Elijah Wald’s book, The Mayor of MacDougal Street may have impacted them and propelled them to make a movie, but we all know the real Dave Van Ronk is not represented in this movie. Perhaps a movie about Dave Van Ronk and the other folkies who walked the streets of Greenwich Village and played in the clubs will be on the horizon due to “Inside Llewyn Davis,” I can only hope. Recently folksinger Happy Traum weighed in with his opinion after seeing the movie: “In the end, it was a Coen Brothers movie and there were enough flashes of humor, creativity and artful filmmaking that it won me over. It was the story of one guy and his misadventures, and it didn’t have to represent an entire musical community. Best of all, how wonderful that Elijah Wald’s excellent book, Dave Van Ronk’s music, and the phenomenal music scene that had its birth in ‘60s Greenwich Village were given such a huge platform, and generated such heated discussion.”

As for me…I’ve been singing “Dink’s Song” as I drive to mom’s each morning this week. It’s a song I first learned when I took a couple of singing lessons from folksinger Ed McCurdy, probably in the early 70s. Ed was living on the Upper West Side with his wife. He wrote the legendary song, “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream” and was a character in his own right. Ed was a huge man physically and wasn’t in the best of health when I met him. I liked him, he was bold, brash and held nothing back. The folksingers of the 50s, 60s, early 70s still impact our lives whether we know it or not. The words, the messages of the songs are true to this very day in 2014. Music is understood all over the world and hasn’t lost its power to transform or heal.



6 thoughts on “Friday Folk Musings

  1. Nice post, thanks Ilene. I’m not sure I ever met a version of “dink’s Song” I didn’t like, more or less. But this is a goodie.

    I don’t seriously expect we’ll see another folk revival, but maybe a few more ears will be exposed and get curious. And this is such a fabulous time to explore music! Nobody has to scrounge for hours through dusty, out-of-the-way record store cutout bins, or hold rabbit-ears out the window for better reception of low-power, distant radio stations while searching for interesting music any more! Not that I’ve ever been that crazed of course … not much! There’s almost too much available — so much great music, so little time! Thanks again, – Linda

    • The “Americana” revival is hopeful, don’t you think? I do agree that there probably won’t be a serious revival, but the door has been opened and let’s hope it stays open and a “few more ears” enjoy what we’ve enjoyed for so many years. Always a pleasure to hear from you! -Ilene

  2. I found Martin Scorsese’s documentary on Bob Dylan – No Direction Home did a pretty good job of describing as you put it, ‘Dave Van Ronk and the other folkies who walked the streets of Greenwich Village and played in the clubs’. I don’t think anyone could aptly do a period peace about actual characters like Dave Van Ronk. Such history is so sensitive and people still have vivid memories about how things really were. I think the Llewyn movie is a smart undertaking because it isn’t meant to be biographical, rather a vague homage to the scene and music.

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