The Songs by Ramblin' Jack


Ridin' Down the Canyon (with Arlo Guthrie)
"This was the first song we recorded for the album. I've known Arlo since he was four years old, but this is the first time we've recorded together. I played some good guitar on this song and I'm sure Arlo's presence inspired me."


Me & Billy the Kid (with Peter Rowan)
"I spent several hours with Joe Ely, who wrote this song, trying to capture the energy of his version. I never felt that I could match his style, so I did it in a more natural, story-tellin' approach."


Last Letter (with Rosalie Sorrels)
"This is one song I learned from a bull rider friend of mine, who was also a singer and guitar player. His name was Todd Fletcher, and he was an early influence on me. It was great to do it with Rosalie; we go back 30 years or so."


Louise (with Tom Waits)
"I've known Tom for over 20 years. He sent me a letter with a tape of this song. I didn't know how our voices would sound together, but we got a good take."


Rex's Blues (with Emmylou Harris and Nanci Griffith)
"Susanna Clark, Guy's wife, suggested this song in a call I made to their home after they had come back from Townes' funeral in Nashville. Emmylou and Nanci were also there and we started rehearsing together over the phone. It was magic."


Walls of Red Wing (with John Prine)
"John Prine chose this song, which I actually hadn't heard before. But it came off really well."


Hard Travelin' (with Jerry Jeff Walker)
"The first Woody Guthrie song I ever learned off a record, before I'd even met him. I later sang it with him at a party in Greenwich Village in 1951."


He Was a Friend of Mine (with Jerry Jeff Walker)
"As you can tell on the recording, Jerry Jeff suggested this song. I first heard it on an old Leadbelly album."


Dark as a Dungeon (with Guy Clark)
"I met Merle Travis, who wrote this song, once in Nashville in an office where he was writing for the Johnny Cash TV show. I loved the honest, gritty way he portrayed life in the mines. I once sang this song in the forward torpedo hold of the submarine USS Leatherback under several hundred feet of water."


Friend of the Devil (with Bob Weir)
"I first met Bob Weir in 1969. The idea to record this song goes back to 1976, when Bob circled the title on the back of an American Beauty album jacket and wrote: 'Learn this song, Jack.'"


Reason to Believe (Jack solo)
"I'd previously recorded this song in the mid-'70's for Warner Bros. I always liked it because it reminds me of my friendship with Tim Hardin who wrote it."


Bleeker Street Blues (Jack solo)
"This is the only time in my life where I sat down with pencil and paper and wrote something right out."


Old Time Feelin' (with Guy Clark and Tom Waits)
"We were kiddin' around in the studio and it found its way on tape. It was just a feelin'."