Watching the Coen Brothers' new film Inside Llewyn Davis brings to my mind the fact that the setting they use in the film, early 1960s New York was where my parents met and they frequented the milieu fictionalized in the film, that of the "folk revival." My father was an amateur musician from Texas who loved the folk and "old time" music which was enjoying a resurgence among denizens of NYC's bohemia at that time. My parents went to see acts like the young Bob Dylan and Dave Van Ronk, whose autobiography The Mayor of MacDougal Street became the Coen Brothers' inspiration. A few years later my dad took up a position teaching English at a small college in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina, largely because he wanted to hear the local musicians, many of them the last surviving links to traditional ballads and folksongs that were rapidly disappearing. Here's to Pat Patrick (1933-1967) and the song-chasers of the folk revival. You can also listen to the late, great Dave Van Ronk here and read his ex Terri Thal's recent appraisal of Inside Llewyn Davis here.
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