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Folk Heritage; Dave Van Ronk

Part of Folk Heritage with Dick Pleasants.


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Folk Heritage
Dave Van Ronk
Series Description

Folk Heritage premiered Sunday, October 1, 1978 with Dick Pleasants and Marie Rhines as co-hosts. In September 1979 Rhines left and Pleasants became the solo host of the series, a position he would hold until his retirement in 2004.

Folk Heritage was a broadminded series that explored the traditional and the contemporary, bluegrass and American folk to ethnic instruments. Pleasants was involved in the local and regional folk music community. This personal commitment led to the program featuring live, in-studio performances by musicians from all around the New England area and beyond. By stressing quality and diversity in the music, Pleasants was broadening the audience: "..there is a whole new class of folk instruments popular today listeners who may only think of themselves as 'classical' lovers, for instance, are learning that folk music can really be very complex and intricate. And accessible," Pleasants noted.

Although the series switched from Sunday evenings to Saturday afternoons, it consistently featured a wide range of songwriters and musicians in live performances and interviews, including Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, Odetta, Patty Larkin and BeauSoleil. For his farewell program on March 13, 2004, Pleasants welcomed Sparky and Rhonda Rucker into the studio for conversation and music.

Source: Prime Time WGBH Program Guide (October 1978); On Air WGBH Radio Program Guide (September 1979) GBH Members Guide (May 2004)

Program Description

Radio: Taped Dec. 1st, broadcast De. 30th, 1979.

Dave van Ronk recorded live on December 1st at the First Encounter coffeehouse in Eastham, Massachusetts.

Dave Van Ronk was a veteran of the Greenwich Village folk music scene. His fiery personality, solid guitar technique and unmistakable voice made him one of the stars of the folk circuit. In this performance for The Folk Heritage, recorded on Cape Cod for broadcast December 30, 1979, Van Ronk draws on his repertoire of blues and folk classics, including his moving rendition of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Urge for Going.’

After he opens the set with “Green, Green Rocky Road,” Van Ronk takes several minutes to loosen up the audience while he retunes his guitar, free-associating his way to the next tune. Van Ronk’s casual repartee contrasts with his exacting musicianship, which is on display throughout the set. The song list for this show included:

Green, Green Rocky Road (Traditional, Bob Kaufman and Len Chandler) God Bless the Child (Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog, Jr.) Mamie’s Blues (219 Train) (Traditional) Sunday Street (Dave Van Ronk) The Entertainer (Scott Joplin) Urge for Going (Joni Mitchell) Candyman (John Hurt) Somebody Else, Not Me (Dave Van Ronk, Bert Williams)

Duration: 45:59

Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “Folk Heritage; Dave Van Ronk,” 12/30/1979, GBH Archives, accessed December 6, 2022,
MLA: “Folk Heritage; Dave Van Ronk.” 12/30/1979. GBH Archives. Web. December 6, 2022. <>.
APA: Folk Heritage; Dave Van Ronk. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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