I Stand Alone

I Stand Alone

by Ramblin' Jack Elliott
     
 

Ramblin' Jack Elliott is a folk song historian, but he's also an important part of folk music history. Mentored by Woody Guthrie and in turn a mentor to Bob Dylan, Elliott has compiled great blues, folk, and country songs for half a century. I Stand Alone is no exception. On 9 of the 16 tracks, many of them brief, Elliott does indeed stand alone: just hisSee more details below

Overview

Ramblin' Jack Elliott is a folk song historian, but he's also an important part of folk music history. Mentored by Woody Guthrie and in turn a mentor to Bob Dylan, Elliott has compiled great blues, folk, and country songs for half a century. I Stand Alone is no exception. On 9 of the 16 tracks, many of them brief, Elliott does indeed stand alone: just his still-skillful finger-picking and his creaky, expressive voice, sounding as ancient as the Appalachian hills that birthed many of these songs. When he does get help, it comes from some unexpected quarters: 5 tracks feature a backing combo of Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, X/Knitters drummer D. J. Bonebrake, and Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, and on one -- "Driving Nails in My Coffin" -- they're joined by Sleater-Kinney vocalist Corin Tucker. These rock 'n' roll youngsters -- comparatively youngsters, at least -- provide an understated, honky-tonk setting for tunes like the amusing "Call Me a Dog." Elsewhere, Los Lobos' David Hildago contributes accordion to "Arthritis Blues," and Lucinda Williams weaves a loose duet on "Careless Darling." Like Ralph Stanley, Johnny Cash, and Dylan himself, Elliott uses his age to his benefit. Whether performing an old Carter Family song such as "Engine 143" or a Hoagie Carmichael chestnut like "Hong Kong Blues," standing alone or with friends, Elliott is still a ramblin' treasure.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
If you're an old fan of Ramblin' Jack Elliott, look for few surprises now that he's jumped to the label that hosts Nick Cave, Joe Henry, and Tom Waits. This is Jack Elliott the fingerpickin' folkie, friend to Cisco Houston and Woody Guthrie, and influence of Bob Dylan. These 14 songs reflect what Jack has done since leaving the rodeo more than 50 years ago. Most of the songs here are utterly familiar, including "Mr. Garfield," "Leaving Cheyenne," "Old Blue," "Willy Moore," "Careless Darlin'" (with Lucinda Williams), "Hong Kong Blues," "Drivin' Nails in My Coffin" (with David Hidalgo), and many others. In addition to the aforementioned guests, Nels Cline, Flea, Corin Tucker, and D.J. Bonebrake are here, to name a few. Elliott hasn't recorded an album in seven years, but I Stand Alone ranks among his very best efforts. His voice is richer now that it's aged; it's full of authority, wisdom, and a certain kind of madness -- the kind that one witnesses during his live shows. There are no standouts on this record, with the possible exception of its final cut, "Woody's Last Ride," which Elliott penned. With an autoharp, a lonely guitar, and some ambient sounds, Elliott tells a beautiful and spooky story about the last time he saw Guthrie. There are no regrets, no sophomoric or melodramatic words, just a winsome pleasure and brief tale that sends the entire record off into the night sky with a smile. The rest of this set is simply great. It's a fantastic introduction to Elliott for newbies, and authoritative proof that he's not only still got it, but he just keeps getting better.
Los Angeles Times - Richard Cromelin
A self-invented character, [Elliott] virtually oozes personality and is blessed with the storyteller's gift. "I Stand Alone," produced by Ian Brennan, removes him from the slick studio settings of his last couple of albums and puts his impetuousness and eccentricity front and center.
Atlanta Journal Constitution - Shane Harrison
[Grade: B+] His voice is ragged and imperfect, but it's the ideal instrument to deliver these rough-hewn gems.

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Product Details

Release Date:
07/11/2006
Label:
Anti
UPC:
0045778681426
catalogNumber:
86814
Rank:
177215

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