11/12/2014

Jack Takes The Floor

Ramblin' Jack Elliott
1958

If I hadn't read up on the history of Jack Elliott and of this album, I would have assumed that this was some sort of take off. The hill billy "yee-haw" persona sounds so fake and overdone, and the whole sound is a dead ringer for Bob Dylan on his first couple of albums.

In fact this is partly true. The main thing to note is that the influence ran the other way round: early Dylan albums were heavily influenced by Jack Elliott, hence its inclusion in the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. It's not so much that you can trace the lineage from Elliott to Dylan, more that Dylan shamelessly copied Elliott lock, stock and barrel. And not just the sound either, but the whole persona. Both "Jack" and "Bob" were suburban Jewish boys who reinvented themselves in Woody Guthrie's image.

The music is not my kind of thing - unremarkable traditional dirge-like songs with hokey introductions. I've only listened to the album a few times but I can't pick any out. Of historical interest only, and little of that frankly.

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