Cowboy Songs in Cambridge

Thursday night I met up with Charlotte to hear the legendary Ramblin’ Jack Elliott play at the legendary Club Passim in Cambridge. The show was more talk than music, but I enjoyed traveling with Jack as he rambled from one ancecdote to the next: seeing Roy Rogers as child in New York; playing gigs in Alaska in January, introducing himself to Woody Guthrie for the first time; singing cowboy songs to cattle in Wyoming; reading early drafts of On the Road while hanging with Jack Kerouac.

Before the show, I only knew Jack from the final cut on the “Nod to Bob” tribute album to Bob Dylan–“Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright”–so I was glad he ended with a brilliant rendition of the same song. In both the album and the performance, he tells the story of playing it for the first time in New York City and having Bob stand up to yell something from the audience. On the album, it’s impossible to make out what he says (he impersonates Bob too well), but in the performance, Jack made it clear: “I reliquish it to you, Bob.”