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Unlike Seasick Steve, there can be no doubt about the lineage and authenticity of Ramblin’ Jack Elliot. 77 year-old Elliot – born Elliot Charles Adnopoz – was a one time companion and colleague of Woody Guthrie, and has influenced everyone from Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger to Tom Waits and The White Stripes. Recorded over four days in the basement studio of Joe Henry, A Stranger Here is anything but unfamiliar. Returning (at Henry’s suggestion) to the country blues of the Depression-era of his birth, Elliot’s voice lacks nothing for his age, crooning and crowing across the ages. Soul of a Man is particularly haunting as Elliot poses the question “Want somebody to tell me / Answer if you can / What is the soul of a man?”. As Henry puts it “Things get bigger when stripped down, louder when whispered; and as Jack has spent his whole life attesting, truths are illuminated by the tallest tales that a man can conjure”. It would seem no coincidence that in these “tougher” times, there is a strong resurgence to the roots and folk music that ‘rouse so strongly out of the 30’s Depression. Everything has a silver lining.

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