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Re:RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOTT THREAD (1 viewing) (1) Guest
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TOPIC: Re:RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOTT THREAD
#84848
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Re:RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOTT THREAD 8 Years, 2 Months ago  
.
Some upcoming shows in the U. S. and Canada:

Fri, 9/9/2011

7:00 PM Show; 8:00 PM Set

Langley WA

Mukilteo Coffee


Fri, 9/23/2011

8:00 PM

Kingston, Ontario

Octave Theatre


Sat, 9/24/2011

9:00 PM

Toronto, ON

Hugh's Room


Thu, 9/29/2011

8:00 PM

Staunton VA

Mockingbird's Roots Music Hall


Sat, 10/1/2011

8:00 PM

West Minster MD

Carroll County Farm Museum


Sun, 10/2/2011

6:30 PM

Easton MD

Night Cat


Wed, 10/5/2011

8:00 PM

New York NY

Highline Ballroom


Thu, 10/6/2011

8:00 PM

Larchmont NY

Watercolor Cafe
 
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Re:RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOTT THREAD 8 Years, 2 Months ago  
how interesting
 
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Re:RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOTT THREAD 8 Years, 1 Month ago  
.
What follows is a review of Elliott's SE 24th gig, in Toronto, but it is equally as much about the man, himself. The article includes observations, insights and anecdotes for those who are interested. Cited are more than a few musicians, from Bob to Butch Hawes - who penned "Arthritis Blues" - to Bascom Lamar Lunsford, Elliott's source (via Derroll Adams) for "The Cuckoo."

I particularly like the tale of the club owner who became upset because his act arrived with manure on his boots.


James Strecker Reviews the Arts

RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOTT AT HUGH'S ROOM IN TORONTO

Posted on September 26, 2011:

"We come with the dust and we go with the wind" is one of the most haunting lines in the folk canon. It was penned by Woody Guthrie when he hitched a ride on the melody of Pretty Polly to compose Pastures of Plenty, his tribute to migrant workers. It's most appropriate that the line mirrors the quintessence of Ramblin Jack Elliott on whom, since their first meeting in the late 1940s, Woody Guthrie has been a profound and diverse influence. "Jack sounds more like me than I do," Guthrie once quipped and each man from square one was famously made of wanderlust.

Ramblin Jack Elliot is an elusive constancy who comes and goes according to the dictates of some calling that only he knows, a calling that roots him in the essential magic of each life he encounters. If he finds no magic, he creates it, for he is the story teller who embodies the story he tells and remakes it anew. In turn, we become part of the story he tells and that is how it should be. He is the unbreakable thread in the fabric of folk culture he embodies, an everyday guy who seems to find new substance in life to quietly enchant him every day. He belongs everywhere and nowhere specific that might hold him down. We belong everywhere with him as he tells his tale. And then he is gone.

I first met Ramblin Jack around 1961 at a club, one with a pretense of sophistication, in Hamilton. "The guy has manure on his boots," said the owner disparagingly, trying to summarize an entertainer with a cowboy hat who didn't subscribe to a slick and shallow image of what folksingers were taken to be at the time. But does anybody really care to remember The Limelighters or The Brothers Four? "We met fifty years ago," I told Jack last year at Hugh's Room in Toronto, but you didn't have time to talk much because you were waiting "for your woman from Toronto." "When was that?" asked Jack. "1961 or so" He reflected for a minute and answered with an undercurrent of surprise in his voice, "You know, I married her," as if that union was a lifetime of wandering ago, and it was.

I've tried to interview Jack a couple of times since the sixties and on each occasion he has talked about everything but my questions. His words like the man tend to wander away when any imposition is sensed. They don't like to be corralled and confined, but instead like to take off and riff until they are spent. Part of it might be a need for self preservation in Ramblin Jack, who knows? Every man is a paradox, after all, and doesn't owe his accessibility to the world. In return, from Ramblin Jack we get a priceless and unforced stream of consciousness full of surprising connections that are profoundly delightful. Jack didn't answer my questions, to be sure, but I did learn about Rick Danko, tying knots, Rod Stewart, and especially Jack's beloved dog.

Ramblin Jack was back to Hugh's Room last Saturday, a genuine legend with a National Medal of Arts from Bill Clinton and two Grammy statues back home and a flat pick in his pocket here in Toronto. Hugh's is a perfect venue for warm human connection and you find that conversation oozes around the room with ease. It's a good place for Ramblin Jack, who is now eighty and as always likes to meet people. He hangs out in the audience before and after his set and meets many who want to make affectionate connection with him. At one point he drops an imitation of Bob Dylan, who many say copied Ramblin Jack down to the last detail in the early days, into the conversation and then smiles with enjoyment. The raconteur takes delight in himself - and he should, because he is funny and without guile.

A ten song set that takes an hour begins with Jesse Fuller's San Francisco Bay Blues, moves on to The Cuckoo - with its haunting descending scale in a minor chord and learned from buddy Derroll Adams who learned it from Bascom Lunsford on Folkways - and slides into the Carter Family's Engine 143. "I was nineteen and Woody was thirty-nine when I hung around with him," reminisces Jack and then, to explain how he ended up on a week-long trip by car to California without a change in clothing, declares "My motto is to never say no." Then he backtracks, telling us "I ran away from home when I was fifteen to join the rodeo ... I made only two dollars a day ... so I ended up eating my horses' oats." And then forward in time again to Guthrie's Talking Columbia, with the explanation that Jack's mentor wrote twenty-six commissioned songs in thirty days for the Department of the Interior.

Ramblin Jack's unique flat picking style, one which I've long considered a musical wonder, remains beyond the emulation of mere mortals. It has a conversational feel to it with distinct punctuating bass notes that stand assertive and immaculate in their placement. Meanwhile, a subtle brushing of one or several treble strings has each note or partial chord sounding like a remote echo to the bass note runs that drive each song's momentum. Jack's magical touch produces sounds of crisp delicacy and clarity while the seemingly perfect balance between bass and treble notes is one I've heard nowhere else. Part of the secret is the way Jack holds the pick with the tips of his thumb and index finger, I've come to believe, but who can account for the incredible lightness of being in his sound?

Next comes the Stones' Connection whose chords Jack once realized are not too far off Jesse Fuller's in San Francisco Bay Blues. He does Don't Think Twice It's All Right in a wistful and personal manner whose mood he demolishes in the last verse with an exaggerated and slurred emphasis on a few words. Then "another Woody song" in Ranger's Command, then Bedbug Blues from "was it Bessie Smith or Ma Rainey?" We also have, along the way, a tasteful but evocative accompaniment from Stan, a veteran guitarist from Yorkville years, who has climbed on board for the second half of the set. He shines in Jack's Arthritis Blues by Butch Hawes which enumerates many aches and pains in an ironically pulsating tempo. Who ever heard pain sound like so much fun?

There are asides and anecdotes throughout about the authorship of Diamond Joe, about Jack getting a shot at flying a plane with Jerry Jeff Walker sitting behind him, and about Winston Young, who I saw at the second Mariposa Folk Festival, allowing Jack to operate his crane and move a girder to the 40th floor. A requested I Threw It All Away gets a caressing intro and then, because Jack hasn't "done it for years" it goes unsung. Jack leaves the stage, strums his way through the audience, and then sits down for the many conversations that are to come before he heads off to his next gig in Virginia, a man unowned yet open to the hearts of all.

http://jamesstrecker.com/words/?p=340
 
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Re:RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOTT THREAD 8 Years, 1 Month ago  
QUOTE:
A ten song set that takes an hour

Well, we took a little drive last night to hear Ramblin’ Jack over in a Blue Ridge Mountain valley and got two five-song sets separated by a 15-minute break that totaled close to 90 minutes. Jack would tell stories about his travels and his musician friends for five or ten minutes, then play for three or four. My wife doesn't get what all the fuss was about, but I had a great time.

I used to live in downtown Staunton 20-some years ago, but that was before all the upscale restaurants opened and the old-time music scene took root. It's a college town, but a little college town, and I don't know where all the new money is coming from. The handsome streets are narrow, but dark and pretty much deserted by mid-evening. The place is charming in a homey kind of way, and lonesome at the same time. The evening’s venue was one of those part restaurant, part club places. At one point in the second set, Jack kept strumming but stopped singing and took notice of a waitress down front, asking her, not unkindly, to finish her business before he continued. Opening and closing doors were another pet peeve, and I was reminded of his set at Newport a few years ago when photographers were the issue.

Jack came in 45 minutes before show time and chatted with a couple of guys wearing handlebar mustaches and – I’ll wager - Civil War re-enactor duds. Before the show, the M.C. announced that it would be up to Jack if this was to be a one or two set night, and that Jack would stick around for photos afterwards –“ he has a real pretty face, you’ll look good next to him.” The M.C. apologized for not having merchandise for sale - Jack had sold it all at previous gigs, but there was plenty on his web site. This led Jack to say later that he couldn't figure out a computer to save his butt, but that he didn't have much butt left, having lost his ass in the music business, so that he needs suspenders to keep his pants up.

The opening act was a young couple – he in a work shirt and cap, she in a turquoise dress with her hair in two long black braids, and an unfortunate mess of red and green ink up and down her right forearm – playing "old time mountain music," as it's called around here, on the fiddle and the banjo. Now I think it’s really wonderful that young people are taking up traditional music, and sometimes I’m even in the mood to hear it. Other times, as the saying goes, it’s better than it sounds. In this case, I was in the latter mood, but they played well and they were so sweet, they were impossible not to root for. And they only did four tunes, the best of which was when the young lady danced – “flatfooted” – to the young man’s banjo.

Jack ambled onstage about 10 minutes later, chatted a bit, sang a quick San Francisco Bay Blues, and put his sunglasses on. He asked for more bass in his microphone – “more Johnny Cash, less Tiny Tim.” The song list was largely the same as Toronto show : The Cuckoo, Talkin’ Columbia Blues and Talkin’ Sailor Blues (both of which he credited to Woody Guthrie – is that correct?) and Diamond Joe.

After the break, during which he kept his sunglasses on as he talked with fans, he took them off and played Engine 143, then the Arthritis Blues, then another train disaster song, Wreck of the Old ‘97. Somewhere in there came the story about his dog Caesar, who could drive – “I didn’t teach him to drive; that would have been irresponsible” – and drove 25 miles while Jack napped in the back for two hours before calling the club he was supposed to play that night and placating the club owner who called him “Rambling Jack” by singing the audience songs over the telephone.

Then Don’t Think Twice with the one line of Dylan imitation, preceded by the story he told at Newport about being holed up in a cabin with a friend during a snowstorm with a bottle of Cutty Sark and a Dylan record, and learning that song and singing it the first before a packed audience of folkies that included a drunken Bob slurring out “I relinquish it to you, Jack.” For a last verse, he ad-libbed a few lines about going up to Maryland; Maryland is his next stop. He was in good voice for a man his age all night long, singing with plenty of volume and mostly on key, but he gave this this song his strongest performance.

Before the encore he asked for a half shot of good bourbon – “not Jim Beam” – for his throat, and told us a sad and remarkably revealing thing, that he’d “introduced” his wife to Jim Beam, and that “she fell in love with him” and died about 10 years ago, and he still feels bad about that.

The encore was the longest story of the night, maybe 15 minutes, about another road trip that ended up in New Orleans, in Jackson Square and the Café Du Monde and with a good look at the Mississippi River. He strummed through most of it, then sang just one line, “Did you even shiver, just because you were lookin’ at a river,” and that was the set. No photo ops afterwards.

The audience gave Jack a huge hand when he came on, and standing ovations after each set, and he really basked in their affection. Like I said, I had a great time and it was nice to see a few audience members in their twenties, even if the majority were older. The tall tales, one-liners and reminiscences, and the legend embodied in the reminiscences, very quickly became the focus of the evening. The songs punctuated the stories, and the songs were mighty good too.
 
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Last Edit: 2011/09/30 15:42 By saut de basque.
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#85237
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Re:RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOTT THREAD 8 Years, 1 Month ago  
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Very nice review, saut. I enjoyed the read.

I'm not sure why you would wonder if Elliott's attributing of authorship of "Talkin' Sailor" and "Talkin' Columbia" to Woody Guthrie might not be so. Anyway, here's some background for you:

http://www.woodyguthrie.org/Lyrics/Talking_Sailor.htm

Here's Woody singing "Talkin' Columbia:"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z58V-NxJcEI


This video is about 9 minutes long. It describes how Guthrie got a contract with the Bonneville Power Administration (Columbia River) to write songs. It opens with Studs Terkel saying a few words.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUoh2QSjXAw


The next link is the full 56-minute documentary (Roll On Columbia: Woody Guthrie and the Bonneville Power Administration) that begins, first, with the 9-minute segment, above. Jack Elliot (misspelled), Woody's first wife, kids Arlo and Nora along with Pete Seeger and others all tell anecdotes about Guthrie that aren't always that well known. This is quite an amazing film with Depression-era photos and film clips. It also includes remarkable footage of the building of the Grand Coulee Dam. It was a colossal project.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8gr2EOmlv8

Btw, that tale of Ramblin' Jack traveling to New Orleans to see Billy Faier is the song Elliott will forever be remembered by. It's called "912 Greens" and is on his album, "Young Brigham." Sounds like you got a mailed-in performance. Elliott was traveling with Guy Carawan who had a hand in the development, if you will, of "We Shall Overcome," and Frank Hamilton whose name is synonymous with the Old Town School of Folk Music, in Chicago. They were all in the 20s, at the time:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Faier

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Carawan

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Hamilton_%28musician%29
 
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#85245
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Re:RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOTT THREAD 8 Years, 1 Month ago  
Thanks, Warren, so glad you enjoyed it, and thanks a lot for the info. I just wondered if I'd understood Jack correctly, and Woody had written those songs or Jack had just learned them from him. I found 912 Greens on Spotify. The picking on the Young Brigham and Kerouac's Last Dream versions is a little more elaborate than what we heard last week, but not much. So nice to hear the song again.
 
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Re:RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOTT THREAD 7 Years, 11 Months ago  
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"I personally think Ramblin' Jack Elliott should be on the $100 bill."

Tom Russell

Link: http://www.local-iq.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2250&Itemid=54


Here's an obscure song featuring Jack Elliott (before he was known as Ramblin' Jack) with the City Ramblers Skiffle Group. The song, "Midnight Special," was recorded in England sometime from 1955 to 1957, inclusive:

http://www.sendspace.com/file/yk4li1
 
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Re:RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOTT THREAD 7 Years, 8 Months ago  
.
Bobby Bare interviewing Ramblin' Jack and John Prine, in 1985:




FTR, Bob sang Bare's "Detroit City, in East Lansing," in 1990.
 
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Re:RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOTT THREAD 7 Years, 8 Months ago  
.

University of California, Santa Cruz, 1973


Here is a heretofore rare film clip of Derroll Adams singing "Payday at Coal Creek:"


Paris, France, also 1973

To the uninformed: Derroll Adams was one of the great banjo players and was Elliott's singing partner during the late 1950s in England and Europe. It was there and with Adams, in particular, where Elliott made a name for himself. Adams appears in the hotel room scene with Donovan in Dont Look Back where Dylan excitedly addresses Adams, telling him about listening to the duets that he and Jack sang on The Rambling Boys album.

Elliott returned to the U. S. of A. in 1961. Adams chose to live out his life in Europe where he accumulated a devoted following of fans. He died in Antwerp, Belgium, in 2000.
 
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Last Edit: 2012/03/11 11:17 By Warren. Reason: Video fixed
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Re:RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOTT THREAD 7 Years, 7 Months ago  
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Recent recordings by Ramblin' Jack:

He sings a song titled, "The Guitar," on a recent double CD tribute album to Texas songwriter Guy Clark.




Elliott will also be making a contribution on Loudon Wainwright III's
album, Older Than My Old Man Now, scheduled to be released in April. The photo, below, of Wainwright and Elliott was taken by Jack's daughter, Aiyana.

 
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Re:RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOTT THREAD 7 Years, 7 Months ago  
.

Singin' and talkin' in the studio:
 
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Re:RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOTT THREAD 7 Years, 7 Months ago  
Great thread! thanx for the clips
 
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Re:RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOTT THREAD 7 Years, 7 Months ago  
yes - great thread Warren!
 
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Re:RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOTT THREAD 7 Years, 7 Months ago  
^
Thanks, people.

Wolfgang's Vault has released another Elliott gig from the Ash Grove, in Los Angeles. This one - a 35-minute set, from AU 25 1964 - is happening on a Tuesday night. That doesn't always mean a full house. Performers like Elliott were usually booked for a week, sometimes two, starting on a Tuesday and finishing on Saturday night and usually played about three or four sets.

You can hear the full performance, here, where it says Play Ramblin' Jack Elliott:

http://www.wolfgangsvault.com/ramblin-jack-elliott/concerts/ash-grove-august-25-1964.html

Once again,, Elliott was simply known as Jack Elliott at this time, and had turned 33 that month. Dylan, ten years his junior, had released his fourth album (Another Side of Bob Dylan) a few months earlier.

Elliott is in much looser form than on his excellent Town Hall performance from a few seasons, later (on Vanguard). You'll either laugh or cry if you listen to his parody of "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll."

There are some very good performances, here, IMO. It's available in both mp3 and flac formats from the Vault.
 
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Re:RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOTT THREAD 7 Years, 6 Months ago  
.

The Old City Hall Performing Arts Center, Redding, CA

The link below is to a 90 minute performance (it begins after 40 seconds) of Elliott playing in the above setting on OC 23, 1988. This is an excerpt of what the posters of the video say:

Published on Apr 22, 2012 by austinpickers.

This is a show we did back in 1988 with the great storyteller, Ramblin' Jack Elliott. Redding Community Access Television was only months old when the Prism Music Society brought Jack to Redding.

This is an incredible 90 minute concert from one of America's great treasures. Just a note about the video...It's an old, old tape. There are a few audio dropouts during the first song but after that [it] looks and sounds great. Enjoy!




[Warren, here.] I will just add that the the filming is superb. There are sound dropouts beyond the claim made above. Otherwise, the sound is in very good quality, and Elliott's Martin guitar is a joy to hear.

As for Ramblin' Jack, himself (57 years of age at the time), he's in pretty good form. He tells a great tale about a guy named Kris Kristofferson knocking on his motel room door in Nashville.

There's also a pretty funny comment about Renaldo and Clara and also his own movie "career." And for any hardcore Elliott fan, there are rare performances of "Cool Water," "All My Trials," and "Philadelphia Lawyer."

He closes after the credits roll with Tim Hardin's "If I Were a Carpenter."
 
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Last Edit: 2012/05/14 02:27 By Warren. Reason: to change \"Trails\" to \"Trials\"
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