- Later it was a long happy dream of the back yard in Phebe Avenue
and Jack Elliott the Singin Cowboy has made a record which is selling
a million copies and we're all together in the happy yard, a new house
there, at one point there are three thin mattresses on the floor of
a cold hut and happily I pick mine out (narrower but thicker) leaving
no other choice to the other two guys, Jack & Someone All forgotten
by now, afternoon, saved so I could write "more completely" and this
is the sad result.
My mind, the Mind, is too Vast to keep up with.
- Jack Kerouac,
from his Book of Dreams.
- Jack Elliott: I had a lot of feeling
for Jack, too. I met Jack and he read me his whole manuscript to "On
the Road." It took three days.
- San Francisco Chronicle: He read it out
loud to you?
- Jack Elliott: Yeah, out loud. I loved
every bit of it because it was me hitchhiking around...It was the only
thing that resembled Woody's "Bound for Glory." Later, (Kerouac) wrote
some stuff about me in some of his books.
- Jack Elliott. Interview by Steven Stolder, San Francisco Chronicle,
- [A decade later,] while in Italy, Elliott learned that the manuscript
Kerouac had read for him, "On the Road," had been causing quite a stir.
"I saw it in the newspaper," Elliott says. " 'Eh-Jack-a Kerouac-a.'
I said, I know this guy! 'Onna the Road.' It was a big deal. If the
news was in Italy, you can be sure it must have been big in America."
- Interview by James Sullivan, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/15/98
- Kerouac's reading of 'On The Road' was followed immediately by
Jack's mythic road trip of 1953, which he retold through the song narrative
"912 Greens." The composition and road tales combined into an untied
package, the torch of the Beats handed down to the 60's urban folk scare.
- Sweet Helen in the morning put on her easter bonnet and went to work
down the streets of Village good brave gal Finally got rid
of Jack Elliott the singing cowboy who apparently was costing her a
lot of money but poor Jack, he cant work, he's like the robin, he sings...
So I walk down the streets of the Village with Jack Elliott and he's
playin the Memphis Special, and other songs, and we run into Billy Faier,
a great banjo genius from N'Awrleans, and bang Bill Fox drives by and
I stop him by yelling at his car, and he comes out, and I say, "Bill,
give these boys an audition for Esoteric" and we have a songfest
and a hundred and two school children gather around to listen and up
comes an old Frisco wino with his bottle and broken pulpy nose and he
likes Jack Elliott's singin so much he says, reachin in his shirt, "By
god, boy, I'm gonna give you my lass sandwich." "I'm
from Oklahoma meself" and the sun goes down and I have
a pimple on my nose
- Jack Kerouac in a letter to Allen Ginsberg, early May 1954.