Ramblin' Jack Elliott: I Stand Alone (EMI)

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Ramblin' Jack Elliott: Rake & Ramblin' Boy
Ramblin' Jack Elliott: I Stand Alone (EMI)

To be honest, I thought he'd died years ago. Most people who influenced Bob Dylan back in New York in the early 60s -- like Woody Guthrie who mentored Elliott -- are long gone.

But not Jack, it seems.

For one of Dylan's first gigs he was billed as "the son of Jack Elliott" (who was born Elliot Adnopoz 75 years ago) because Ramblin' Jack's narrative, folk style had so influenced him.

Dylan remained a devotee and Elliott was hooked into the Rolling Thunder Tour in 75.

For this album his wit remans intact (he sings Arthritis Blues) and he keeps the folk lineage alive by performing traditional songs (Mr Garfield, Leaving Cheyenne, Willy Moore among them), Hoagie Carmichael's Hong Kong Blues and Leadbelly's Jean Harlow, and salutes Guthrie again in his moving memoir Woody's Last Ride.

Elliott sounds in remarkably good voice and unbelievably chipper (even when he sings Drivin' Nails in My Coffin), has some young admirers in tow in places (Flea, Lucinda Williams, Corin Tucker from Sleater-Kinney), and the humour and unprepossessing nature of this album has it winning on all fronts.

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