So on this date in 1931 another music legend, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot was born! Ok let’s see Buddy Guy turned 77 this week and Kenny Burrell 82 yesterday – I guess this is old greats week. Now I will admit that I have never been a big fan of Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, and after listening to some of his early songs today and his impact on folks I like I don’t know why! so here’s a little information about Ramblin’ Jack most of which I didn’t know!
Elliot Charles Adnopoz was born in Brooklyn, New York to Jewish parents in 1931. Elliott grew up inspired by the rodeos at Madison Square Garden, and wanted to be a cowboy. Though encouraged to follow his father’s example and become a surgeon, Elliott rebelled, running away from home at the age of 15 to join Col. Jim Eskew’s Rodeo, the only rodeo east of the Mississippi. They traveled throughout the Mid-Atlantic states and New England. He was only with them for three months before his parents tracked him down and had him sent home, but Elliott was exposed to his first singing cowboy, Brahmer Rogers, a rodeo clown who played guitar and five-string banjo, sang songs, and recited poetry. Back home, Elliott taught himself guitar and started busking for a living. Eventually he got together with Woody Guthrie and stayed with him as an admirer and student.
With banjo player Derroll Adams, he toured the United Kingdom and Europe. By 1960, he had recorded three folk albums for the UK record label Topic Records. In London, he played small clubs and pubs by day and West End cabaret nightclubs at night. When he returned to the States, Elliott found he had become renowned in American folk music circles.
Woody Guthrie had the greatest influence on Elliott. Woody’s son, Arlo, said[where?] that because of Woody’s illness and early death, Arlo never really got to know him, but learned his father’s songs and performing style from Elliott. Elliott’s guitar and his mastery of Guthrie’s material had a big impact on Bob Dylan when he lived in Minneapolis. When he reached New York, Dylan was sometimes referred to as the ‘son’ of Jack Elliott, because Elliott had a way of introducing Dylan’s songs with the words: “Here’s a song from my son, Bob Dylan.” Dylan rose to prominence as a songwriter; Elliott continued as an interpretative troubadour, bringing old songs to new audiences in his idiosyncratic manner. Elliott also influenced Phil Ochs, and played guitar and sang harmony on Ochs’ song “Joe Hill” from the Tape from California album. Elliott also discovered Singer-Songwriter Guthrie Thomas, in a bar in Northern California in 1974, bringing Thomas to Hollywood where Thomas’ music career began’
….Elliott’s nickname comes not from his traveling habits, but rather the countless stories he relates before answering the simplest of questions. Folk singer Odetta claimed that it was her mother who gave him the name, remarking, “Oh, Jack Elliott, yeah, he can sure ramble on!” Read Full Biography
So let’s go “into the night” was Jack a “Happy Birthday” and watch a great cover of one of my favorites songs of Bob Dylan…. “Don’t Think Twice”