Brooklyn's most famous folk cowboy, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, was part genuine preservationist and part a walking, talking pastiche of Woody Guthrie crossed with a back-porch Appalachian moonshiner. The public act sometimes gets in the way of the fact that Elliott was an excellent interpreter of American traditional folk material, carefully representing its styles and rhythms on guitar and banjo, and he duplicated rural vocal nuances with purposeful precision. If mentor Woody Guthrie was a true American folk artist, then Elliott is the photocopy of such an artist (while Bob Dylan
is the postmodern reconstruction of same). Elliott was also blessed with perfect timing, since his Guthrie-derived act blossomed when Guthrie could no longer perform, Elliott thus becoming a proxy Guthrie, which is why he was regarded during the folk revival of the '60s as more of an elder than a contemporary. This two-disc set combines Elliott's two albums for Hightone -- 1998's Friends of Mine
and 1999's The Long Ride
-- and a 1997 live concert in a two-disc set.