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Saturday’s Song – Dink’s Song, by Dave Van Ronk

February 22, 2014

Well, Saturday’s song this week is a repeat of last week’s song. But this time it’s performed by Dave Van Ronk.

In talking around through the past week, I’ve learned that Dink’s Song (which has, over time, also come to be called Fare Thee Well) is an old American folk song, best recorded (many think) by Dave Van Ronk. Having listened to Oscar Isaac’s version as well as Bob Dylan’s, Pete Seegers, Jeff Buckley and others, I’d agree that Van Ronk’s studio version is the best. But that’s just opinion. You might feel differently.

The Wikipedia page about the song informs that, “The first historical record of the song was by ethnomusicologist John Lomax in 1908, who recorded it as sung by an African American woman called Dink, as she washed her man’s clothes in a tent camp of migratory levee-builders on the bank of the Brazos River, a few miles from College Station, Texas and Texas A&M College.”

Now Dink’s version is the one I’d love to hear, but it’s long gone. And I suspect that’s the one I’d put at the top of the list. Read more here and note that this article cites 1904 as the first recording date. 

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