Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Ramblin' Jack Elliott|
Kerouac's Last Dream
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop
"Kerouac?s Last Dream" is regarded as a definitive Ramblin? Jack Elliott CD, even by Ramblin? Jack, who says, "I think this album is better than any of my previous albums." It has also been also cited as his best-sounding ... more »
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"Kerouac?s Last Dream" is regarded as a definitive Ramblin? Jack Elliott CD, even by Ramblin? Jack, who says, "I think this album is better than any of my previous albums." It has also been also cited as his best-sounding recording prior to his 1995 Grammy-winning "Sun Coast." On this reissue of a rare 1980 German LP, with eight previously unreleased tracks added, Ramblin? Jack performs classic songs by his primary inspiration and early-?50s traveling companion, the late Woody Guthrie ("Pretty Boy Floyd," "Talkin? Fishin?," "1913 Massacre"), by a younger Guthrie acolyte, Bob Dylan ("Don?t Think Twice," "I Threw It All Away"), by seminal country music artists Ernest Tubb ("Soldier?s Last Letter") and Roy Acuff ("Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain"), and some traditional folk standards ("Freight Train," "Roving Gambler," "Cuckoo," "Buffalo Skinners," and "Nightherding Song"). For good measure, there are even a couple of Elliott originals ("Cup of Coffee" and "912 Greens! "), always a rare commodity. Performing solo on acoustic guitar and vocals, Elliott has assembled a showcase of timeless songs and unaffected delivery. As "the last of the Brooklyn cowboys," as Arlo Guthrie has called him, Elliott could be singing these songs at a lonely campfire after a hard day on the trail. Listeners are lucky to be within earshot.
Pure Ramblin' Jack
Jerome Clark | Canby, Minnesota | 05/11/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Recorded in 1980 in Germany, this CD saw its first American release 17 years later. It's a good introduction to Ramblin' Jack Elliott's work (he's been recording since the 1950s), with a nice mix of the folk and country songs (including, of course, Woody Guthrie covers) for which he's long been known. Even by 1980 Elliott had been doing nearly all of these songs for so long that he could have performed them in his sleep, but that familiarity gives them a cozily lived-in feeling. It's hard to beat Willie Nelson's version of "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain," but Elliott's distinctive, raggedly eccentric one (incorrectly attributed to Roy Acuff) gives Nelson's a good run for its money. Nobody, including Dylan, has a better reading of Dylan's "Don't Think Twice," and Elliott provides, yet again, a grand version of the bloody, authentic Western ballad "Buffalo Skinners." As the saying goes, if you like this sort of thing, you'll like this sort of thing."
The RJE spectrum covered and surpassed
A Connolly | Finstock, Oxfordshire United Kingdom | 07/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have never been quite so astounded as when this record began. As someone who has heard several old-time versions of 'Pretty Boy Floyd', I couldn't quite comprehend how Elliott had re-styled and stripped down the song until it was totally him and his. Of course, in hindsight, I should have known what to expect from Elliott.
I was given no time to recover from this masterpiece as the opening chords of Roy Acuff's 'Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain' sounded. Hold up. Two slices of perfection? I wasn't ten minutes into the album and it was already the best I'd ever heard. By anybody.
As the album progressed, I began to realise that every one of the 17 tracks was a gem, superbly crafted, faultlessly delivered, and impossibly polished.
The highlights are extensive. An incredible turn on 'Roving Gambler' is followed by the excellent 'Cuckoo', made to Elliott's specfications by including several maverick stanzas to keep you guessing. In 'Don't Think Twice' and 'I Threw It All Away', Elliott tips his hat to his former student, Bob Dylan, and slyly outdoes him to boot.
Best-ever versions of '1913 Massacre' and 'The Buffalo Skinners' will set the heart and mind racing, and there is a trademark comical turn in 'Mean Mamma Blues'.
But just as you think Elliott may be easing off to wind down the collection with a soulful 'Riding Down Canyon', he brings out two self-penned classics.
'Cup Of Coffee' is a wonderfully vivid and mischievous illustration of Elliott undertaking one of his many pastimes, driving trucks. To many RJE fans, this song is at best a one-trick pony and at worst a self-indulgent gabble. I say its some of the most entertaining talking blues you'll hear.
But, try as it might, nothing on this record can prepare you for its ten-minute finale. Elliott brings out the song Jackson Browne described as "a time travelling, spoken-word masterpiece", in '912 Greens'. Elliott teases the distinctive, haunting backing for the song with such care and power that by the time he eventually, almost alarmingly speaks you are ready to break down and cry.
I have never been one for lengthy albums or indeed lengthy songs, but this record is the best I've heard in any genre, and its length and content is nothing short of perfect.
"...Here come this little blue car...""
Spike | Earth | 09/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album is a unique Ramblin Jack album from many vantage points, one being the era (1980) in which Jack recorded it over in Germany... Jack was in the midst of a 25 year hiatus from studio's, in that (between 1970 and 1995's South Coast), Jack toured relentlessly, worked on sailboats, rambled, toured, toured and toured but did not record an album)... this was recorded in Germany and released in America 17 years later... it captures the Jack in between the young Jack that lived/travelled with Woody Guthrie, was friends with Kerouak, tutored a young Dylan, played all over Europe alone and with Derroll Adams on banjo, introduced Kris to Janis, toured w/ the Rolling Thunder review ---- with the Jack we know today that has re-emmerged with several great albums over the late 90's and tours around the west coast today hanging with the likes of former Beachboys and Deadheads and Cowboys and poets.... think Jack in a dungeon with his guitar and just singin' a lot of the songs we all know him to sing.... plus a great version of Jacks own '912 Greens' ("...here come this.. blue car.. i think it was a plymouth--") and Cup've Coffee, and an excellent version of Cuckoo and a touching Soldiers Last Letter and, really, just outstanding versions of all these tunes.... i could write a review on all Ramblin Jack's albums, but i'll choose this one for several reasons as noted mostly above.. it's a great album, i've been looking for the original, vinyl version in Europe for some years now, and i'll find it some day....