A Chrestomathy

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A Chrestomathy
Compilation album by Dave Van Ronk
Released 1992
Recorded 1960-1991
Genre Folk
Label Gazell
Producer Dave Van Ronk
Dave Van Ronk chronology
The Folkways Years, 1959–1961
A Chrestomathy
To All My Friends in Far-Flung Places

A Chrestomathy is a retrospective two-CD compilation of songs by Dave Van Ronk released in 1992.

Van Ronk recorded for many record labels. This compilation was released by Gazell Records.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [1]

Writing for Allmusic, critic William Ruhlman wrote of the album "his affection for the pop music of his childhood ("Two Sleepy People," sung with Christine Lavin, "Swinging on a Star"), makes for a more varied chrestomathy than those who think of Dave Van Ronk simply as a folksinger might expect. It's hard to summarize more than three decades in the career of a steadily working musician in less than two hours, even one who recorded in as piecemeal a fashion as this one, but this compilation does a good job."[1]

Track listing[edit]

Disc 1[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Tell Old Bill" Traditional 4:24
2. "Cocaine Blues" Luke Jordan 4:19
3. "Motherless Children" Traditional 3:51
4. "Poor Lazarus" Traditional 5:11
5. "Mr Noah" Traditional 1:32
6. "Come Back Baby" Traditional 3:52
7. "If I Had to Do It All Over Again" Bob Dylan 3:34
8. "Kentucky Moonshiner" Traditional 2:40
9. "Fair and Tender Ladies" Traditional 5:42
10. "Alley Oop" Frazier, Kaverin 3:39
11. "Chelsea Morning" Joni Mitchell 2:37
12. "Clouds" Mitchell 4:38
13. "Swinging on a Star" Johnny Burke, Jimmy Van Heusen 2:37
14. "Dink's Song" Traditional 3:34
15. "Romping Through the Swamp" Stampfel 1:59
  • Tracks 10-15 originally on The Hudson Dusters.

Disc 2[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "My Little Grass Shack" Cogswell, Harrison, Nobel 3:39
2. "You's a Viper"   2:35
3. "Temptation Rag" Lodge 3:10
4. "Stealin'" Shade 3:15
5. "John Hurt" Paxton 3:14
6. "Sunday Street" Van Ronk 3:29
7. "The Entertainer" Scott Joplin 4:57
8. "Candy Man" Davis 3:05
9. "Teddy Bear's Picnic" Bratton, Kennedy 3:07
10. "Mack the Knife" Brecht, Weill 2:36
11. "Tango Ballad" Bratton, Kennedy 4:44
12. "Losers" Van Ronk 3:14
13. "Garden State Stomp" Van Ronk 3:33
14. "Two Sleepy People" Carmichael, Frank Loesser 3:38
15. "The Fresno Shuffle" Frandsen 2:47
  • Track 1 originally on Songs for Ageing Children
  • Tracks 2-4 originally on the Ragtime Jug Stompers
  • Track 9 originally on Peter and the Wolf
  • Tracks 10-11 originally on Let No One Deceive You


  1. ^ a b Ruhlman, William. "A Chrestomathy > Review". Allmusic. Retrieved June 15, 2011.