Ramblin' Jack Elliott - Bull Durham Sacks & Railroad Tracks (1970)

Ramblin' Jack Elliott is an American folk singer, originally an important part of the American folk revival.  

Bull Durham Sacks & Railroad Tracks was Jack Elliott's second and last album on the Reprise label - some great country-folk, and the first time he would record with full band arrangements (though he had featured drum-less arrangements with other backing musicians before). Elliott had always been known as an interpretator of other peoples' songs, and here he gave renditions of numbers by Tim Hardin, Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash, as well as several Bob Dylan songs. He still lived up to his name, rambling about nothing in particular between songs, and the album has a very loose, one-take feel to it. Indeed it sounds more like a collage of snippets from one lengthy studio session than an actual album, but this just adds to its charm. It could be accused of being uneven, as some of the songs aren't complete performances but just vague noodlings and ramblings around a certain line or theme, but its highlights come together brilliantly. 
In one light, Bull Durham Sacks could be seen as a traditional folkie updating his sound with songs from contemporary singer-songwriters and the country-rock aesthetic of the day, but on the other hand it can also been seen as a last true remnant of the folk revival - in a musical field that had by 1970 moved on, fused with rock music and evolved, Jack Elliott remained as a reverred elder statesman figure, a much-respected artefact from the past. He wouldn't release another album until the 80s.

Young Brigham (1968) <|> Kerouac's Last Dream (1981)
More from Ramblin' Jack Elliott


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