Dave van Ronk harks back to the early days of the Greenwich Village coffee house culture of the Beat poets and the folksingers.
A staple sixties song of the seamy side of life was House of the Rising Sun, sung here in a deeply bluesy fashion by van Ronk. Dave also sang Cocaine Blues, a song whose narrator tells of the craziness of being drug dependent.
In this teaching video, he gives the chords and hammer-ons for Green Rocky Road, a tune van Ronk picked up at a club called The Common, and called his "theme song." In a lighter vein, here's a traditional song called Chicken is Nice. But Dave didn't only sing the old traditional stuff; here he does Both Sides Now, written by Joni Mitchell and made famous by Judy Collins.
Dave van Ronk died in 2002. According to The Rolling Stone, it was he who inspired the recently released movie called Inside Llewyn Davis.
A denizen of New York coffee house culture from an earlier generation, this legendary folkie great championed newbies including Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan when they arrived in Greenwich Village.