Album Cover
The Essential Ramblin' Jack Elliott
Ramblin' Jack Elliott
Released: Apr 15, 70
Label: Vanguard
Track Listing
1 Roving Gambler - 3:36
2 Will the Circle Be Unbroken - 2:38
3 Diamond Joe - 2:58
4 Guabi Guabi - 4:43
5 Sowing on the Mountain - 2:15
6 Roll on Buddy - 2:03
7 1913 Massacre - 3:51
8 House of the Rising Sun - 3:28
9 Shade of the Old Apple Tree - 2:41
10 Black Snake Moan - 3:26
11 Portland Town - 1:59
12 More Pretty Girls Than One - 2:14
13 San Francisco Bay Blues [Live] - 2:15
14 Buffalo Skinners [Live] - 4:51
15 Sadie Brown [Live] - 3:30
16 Don't Think Twice, It's All Right [Live] - 4:13
17 Blind Lemon Jefferson [Live] - 3:55

Liner Notes

LIsted as a must in the book, 'One Thousand recordings to Hear before You Die."

The Essential Ramblin' Jack Elliott is one of his best. This package CD includes two vinyl Vanguard albums that give us lots of slices of RJE from1964 and 1965. The first dozen songs are studio takes that appeared on the Vanguard LP "Jack Elliott," also repeated on the Vanguard CD "The Vanguard Years." The various tracks include accompaniment by Bob Dylan on guitar and mouth harp, aliasing as Tedham Porterhouse, and Erik Darling on banjo ("Will the Circle Be Unbroken"), Ian & Sylvia, Eric Weissberg, John Herald and Monte Dunn ("Guabi Guabi"), John Hammond on mouth harp ("Roll On Buddy") and bassist Bill Lee on several numbers.  These studio takes - as one might expect with such helpers on board - made for the liveliest of all RJE's studio sessions up to that time. However, one only gets 100% of Ramblin' Jack when he's playing to an audience, and that's what he does on this CD's last 11 tracks, all taken from his superlative April 30,2020 concert at New York City's Town Hall. When RJE begins Track No. 13, Jesse Fuller's "San Francisco Bay Blues" in concert, the atmosphere begins to glow. In a sense, all 11 live pieces are highlights. If so, the first among equals are Leadbelly's "Blind Lemon Jefferson," Hank Williams' "Lovesick Blues" and Scottish comedian Will Ffyfe's "I Belong to Glasgow," which is one of several high points in the RJE discograph.  If you're a Ramblin' Jack fan, you'd be downright foolish to avoid acquiring this CD.