My favorite singers are Dave van Ronk, Jack Elliott, Peter Stampfel, Jim Queskin (sic) and Rick von Schmidt.
Folklore Center flier, Oct-Nov 1961)
Dave van Ronk's wife, Terri Thal, for a short while (in 1961) acted as Dylan's manager, trying to get him out-of-town gigs at places like Caffé Lena in Saratoga Springs, Club 47 in Cambridge, or The Second Fret in Philadelphia.
The owner of The Second Fret... heard a tape of some of Dylan's early Guthrie interpretations and snapped: "Why should I hire a Jack Elliott imitation when I can get Jack Elliott for nothing?" (Elliott had filled in... for the dying Cisco Houston a couple of months earlier, without pay, ...and apparently they figured... that Elliott felt a desperate need for work and would perform just for the exposure...)
Anthony Scaduto, Bob Dylan, London, 1973 (Abacus edition), p. 86.
DAVE VAN RONK at Club (47) Passim 8/10/96 DYLAN CONTENTI caught Dave van Ronk in Harvard Square tonight. Nice little show (short) but sweet. He told two Dylan stories. The first was really about Noel (Paul) Stookey (of Peter, Paul and Mary fame) who was at that time performing his own brand of standup comedy in the local clubs with Dylan, Van Ronk et al. He was famous for his imitations of the Indiana 500 and a toilet flushing which he would execute with the help of a microphone. He also liked to do an imitation of Charlie Chaplin with the help of a hat and cane and apparently, BOB DYLAN's jacket. Dave went on to say that they got pretty tired of this Charlie Chaplin routine and ambushed him one night with a lemon meringue pie.
The best story of the night came as an introduction to "He Was A Friend Of Mine." First he explained, "I learned this song from Eric von Schmidt, who learned it from DYLAN, who learned it from ME" and then went on to say that each had added and changed the song to suit his own inclination until really neither of them could make claim to it's original authorship.
"About 20 years ago," he said, "we finally all got together to try to figure out where the song started," Dave, Bob, Eric and a bottle of rum. Half way through the bottle they came to a vote to split the royalties for the song three ways. "It was a democratic vote... two to one"
On his 1995 CD release, "Dave Van Ronk, From Another Time And Place" he credits two tracks to Dylan: "The Old Man" and "He Was A Friend Of Mine."
Delia ain't dead, but all the friends she ever had are gone...