In more or less chonological appearance, here are examples of one of our very own still extant national musical treasures:Ramblin' Jack Elliott - Talking Merchant Marine
Ramblin' Jack Elliott - San Francisco Bay Blues
Ramblin' Jack Elliott - Salt Pork West Virginia
And here, from SXSW 2006, is Ramblin' Jack Elliott & Billy Bragg - The Ballad of Pretty Boy Floyd
Also from SXSW 2006, Jack Elliott & Marty Stuart - Engine 143
From last year, here is Ramblin' Jack Elliott - Old Shep
and Ramblin' Jack Elliott - South Coast
And from last week's Bill Graham's Birthday Bash
, here is Phil Lesh, Jackie Greene & Ramblin' Jack Elliott - Friend of The Devil
From his official, albeit maintained in a rather desultory manner, web site, here is a Ramblin' Jack biography
, with a note about his legendary semi-talking blues 912 Greens
, which is the very best of the two or three songs written by Ramblin' Jack. And here
is another take on the same song. I first heard him sing it at the Sky River Rock Festival in 1968--And there was this three legged gray cat named Gray that useta to lope along and *snap* fall down because Gray, he had stroke and he couldn't run on those three legs so good no how...
and loved him and the song ever since. (As does at least one other member
here, or so I suspect.) I only wish there were a free mp3 of it available at this moment. Oh, well, it's on his Young Brigham
album. so get thee to a record store forthwith. Young Brigham
was his horse at the time the album was recorded. I only just this moment reversed the name Young Brigham, by the way.
In addition, his daughter Aiyana had made a film entitled The Ballad of Ramblin' Jack
There's a version of Ramblin' Jack's version of Don't Think Twice, It's Alright
in this episode of A Prairie Home Companion
. Supposedly the story goes--and I have heard this from Elliott himself in person--that a young and drunken Bob Dylan, upon hearing Elliott's take on the song, bequeathed the song to him for eternity. Somehow, I rather doubt that included royalties... It's a funny story in person with Elliott's Dylan impersonation. Not to mention the delicious irony involved in hearing Vanguard's Ramblin' Jack impersonating Columbia's Ramblin' Jack. It adds a whole other dimension of absurd. But, for a fact, he does own
the song, singing alone....
And then there is....
To ask Ramblin’ Jack Elliott a question is to tug at a snag in a sweater, only to see the yarn unfurl of its own volition, dropping in aimless loops, curling and snaking itself into a variegated fable. Every answer is a folk tale. Conversation is an exercise in free association, switchbacks, good-humored evasion, meanders, and box canyons. Jack Elliott does his talking without aid of a compass.On the Road
Oh, man, tell it brother... I once interviewed Ramblin' Jack for Seattle's own Rocket magazine. I had done my research, knew about him singing harmony on Bob Dylan's first studio recording of Mr. Tambourine Man in 1964 and had been to 912 Toulouse Street, to boot. And I had pictures to prove it--Wow, man, I've had people tell me they'd been to 912 Toulouse before but you're the first person to show me pictures
and I got Ramblin' Jack ramblin' for near onto ninety minutes. And here's tip for future interviewers: don't eventhink of cutting him off. Go with the flow--for he brooks no interruption.
And never a word of it has as yet been printed, don't you know ? Not in the Rocket, that's for sure. Mr. Elliott didn't have any 'product' out at the time. GrrCharlesCrossGrr...