Thursday, August 23, 2012

#33: Ramblin' Jack Elliott - Takes the Floor (1958)

Have you ever heard of Ramblin' Jack Elliot? Me neither. He's actually a key component with the transition to what we consider popular music today. His stories are good, the guitar picking is very good, and he influenced many of the musicians that really helped shape pop music (Dylan, Cash, McCartney, Jagger, Clapton, Richards). His music reminds you of someone just relaxing, playing a guitar, singing the blues while hitchhiking on a train. His performances seem very intimate, while his guitar picking is superb. They call him Ramblin' Jack because of his intros where he tells you a little bit about the song before he begins singing.

San Francisco Bay Bluesues
As soon as I heard this, all I could think about was Clapton Unplugged. Clapton does a cover of this and it was always one of my favorite parts about the concert. Really, Clapton didn't screw with the song too much - which is a good thing. It's the best song on the album. It has a really solid blues feel, good melody, good lyrics and it moves right along like a guitar on a freight train.

Bed Bug Blueses
It's actually, kind of funny. I never thought I'd hear a song like this, especially from 1959. "Bedbugs is mean and evil and they sure done me no good." Despite it's humorous look at bedbugs the music actually quite good, and really the picking on the guitar is phenomenal. Each note carries so much weight while the dynamics tend to move in and out depending on the transition to the next phrase.

All in all, it's another historical album. It's interesting to listen to it once, considering he was a huge influence on Bob Dylan and was good friends with Johnny Cash. Unfortunately for every 'San Francisco Bay Blueses' there's another 7 'Grey Gooseose's... It's really well done, it's just not my style. It's not something I'd see myself listening to again - it's not quite old country, but it feels that way - without the country. It's definitely folk that relies on lyrics, excellent picking, and simple melodies. There's definitely still a market out there for his music, it's a shame I don't hear his name enough.

Tomorrow's album: Damien Rice's O.

No comments:

Post a Comment