LIVE: Ramblin’ Jack Elliott @ Caffe Lena, 5/22/11

May 24th, 2011, 1:07 pm by Greg
Ramblin' Jack Elliot

Ramblin' Jack Elliot

“It’s probably too early for a talkin’ blues,” Ramblin’ Jack Elliott conceded. “You’ve probably already heard enough talkin’ to last a week and a half.”

He’d only played two songs so far – Jesse “The Lone Cat” Fuller’s “San Francisco Bay Blues” and the cowboy favorite “Diamond Joe” – but he might have been right. On the other hand, talkin’ is what Elliott is really all about. The songs are just an excuse for him to build a story around.

And as it turned out, it wasn’t too early for a talkin’ blues anyway, and he launched directly – or as directly as Ramblin’ Jack ever seems to get – into Woody Guthrie’s “Talkin’ Sailor.”

A supreme storyteller, the 80-year-old Elliott then played Lead Belly’s “How Long Blues,” the lone selection of the night from his latest CD, the 2009 Grammy Award-winning “A Stranger Here.” But even that came with a caveat.

“I’m not a blues man,” he explained to the capacity crowd at Caffe Lena on the final night of his east coast spring tour. “I’m kind of a cowboy and a trucker. I’m not even a music lover. I’m a dog lover and a cat lover. But when the cats get hungry, I’ve got to go out and play some music.”

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Win a FREE TICKET to Ramblin’ Jack Elliott @ Caffe Lena on Sunday

May 19th, 2011, 10:43 am by Greg

Ramblin Jack Elliot

This is not just any old concert at Caffe Lena

It’s Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, one of the all-time great American folksingers. Don’t believe me? Well, maybe you’ll listen to Mr. Bob Dylan, who declared, “He was a brilliant entertainer … Most folk musicians waited for you to come to them. Jack went out and grabbed you. Jack was King of the Folksingers.” And as he approaches his 80th birthday later this summer, Elliott is still a master musician. He won Grammy Awards in 1995 and 2009. He was honored with the National Medal of Arts. And as we celebrate Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday on Tuesday, it’s important to note that Elliott (along with Woody Guthrie) was a major influence on Dylan’s music.

Sunday’s concert also celebrates the 51st anniversary of the renowned Saratoga Springs coffeehouse Caffe Lena. If you were there last year for the big 50th anniversary shindig with Jim Kweskin & Geoff Muldaur (read our review here), you know what a grand time it was.

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