Jack’s 88 now, perhaps slowed a bit more, and somewhat more prone to what he calls “Swiss cheese” moments where a lyric or thought escapes him. But, make no mistake. Jack’s still spry, ornery and undoubtedly charismatic. Seated on a stool, leaning on his guitar, Elliott’s frequent smiles light up the room. In fact, it’s as if his mere presence has changed the dynamic of the room. The Blue Door audience is one that’s there for the songs. There’s rarely random social chatter during performances here. The audience polices themselves, and if they didn’t, owner Greg Johnson would undoubtedly handle the situation sufficiently. There was nary a cough while Elliott held the stage. Oh, there was laughter, applause, some fun banter perhaps, but there was an air of respect present in the room like only a visit from Jack Elliott draws.
It’s true that you don’t know exactly what you’ll get with an Elliott performance. The number of songs will vary based on the amount of “ramblin’” Jack might do. There will be five or six songs, but it’s the stories, yarns and tales that enchant many, and become the highlight of the night. Tonight’s topics ranged from the benefits of the 440 A tuning, to traveling with Bob Dylan on Frank Zappa’s bus, to assorted hot beverages, Bob Dylan and of course, Woody Guthrie. Whether it was a mention of eating “hamburgers thin as a dime” with Guthrie, or the rendition of Dylan’s, “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight,” Elliot’s storytelling is genuine, and captivating.
Ramblin’ Jack Elliott will be finishing up this quick tour on Dec. 19th in Tulsa at the Woody Guthrie Center. I expect he’ll be back on the road again next year. Hopefully Jack makes it your way soon. If he does, forget the excuses, find the time and go watch the “king of storytellers” weave his magic.
Keep up with the folk legend here: https://www.ramblinjackelliott.com/