Album Review: Ramblin' Jack Elliot
A Stranger Here
Facts about this album:
* Ramblin Jack Elliot was born Elliott Charles Adnopoz.
* He ran away from home at the age of 15 to join the rodeo.
* HIs fingerpicking guitar style was a huge influence on Bob Dylan.
After 50-odd years, the former Dylan mentor who learned his trade finger-picking at the feet of Woody Guthrie has sidestepped the folk arena in favour of reinterpreting a bluesy collection of Depression-era songs. Elliott’s weather-beaten voice makes ominous work out of Blind Willie Johnson’s ‘Soul Of A Man’ and Son House’s ‘Grinnin’ In Your Face’, while Blind Lemon Jefferson’s ‘Rising High Water Blues’ is reworked as stunning New Orleans dirge. The eerie, bare-bones guitar and piano-driven shuffles on ‘Death Don’t Have
No Mercy’ and ‘Please Remember Me’ sound as pure and uncontrived as a field recording. These dark, old
blues tracks have never sounded more haunting.