Dave Van Ronk

Somebody Else, Not Me

BY Rob CarsonPublished Aug 1, 1999

The re-release of Somebody Else, Not Me, an uneven hodgepodge of folk and ragtime standards recorded in the late ‘70s, will not likely cause much of a stir even in folk circles. It certainly doesn’t rank among Van Ronk’s best work, but nevertheless it offers a few moments of genuine interest. Highlights include his jovial rendition of Tom Paxton’s “Did You Hear John Hurt?” and his eerie and powerful take on Woody Guthrie’s “Pastures of Plenty.” His decision to cover Dylan’s “Song to Woody” seems a rather odd choice, but makes for a compelling curiosity. Other tracks, however, such as Furry Lewis’s “Casey Jones” and Brownie McGhee’s “Sportin’ Life,” sound tired and redundant. Fans of the big man will find the record rewarding; novices would be best advised to start elsewhere.

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