And Just Like That
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Ramblin' Jack Elliott - "Engineer 143"

Ramblin’ Jack Elliott’s new album is a masterwork. In his highly melodic guitar strumming - alternating bass note patterns playing counterpoint to the vocal lines - we hear not so much Woody Guthrie, as has been claimed, but what Woody Guthrie begot: early Bob Dylan. More than forty years after the fact, Elliott gives us an album that is more similar to Dylan’s brilliant self-titled debut than any I have heard. And yet this time it’s not all bravado and stance, nor borrowed drama and forced humour, as it was with Dylan, but a naturalistic statement of a life lived ramblin’.* With his first album, Dylan was fumbling toward his own style. Though there was always something unique in his voice, he had not yet fully developed the tools that would allow him to create Bob Dylan Music, and he compensated for this lack with a highly developed appreciation for the music that was his passion: old-timey folk. Elliott’s album also has an aspect of tribute, but it is the tribute one gives to a peer as opposed to an idol, and so it has a very different quality. This Americana folk music is not a stylistic springboard for Elliot, as it was for Dylan, it is his music, and he’s got playing it down to a science. [Buy]

*To avoid charges of Rockism, I should be clear that this isn’t an argument for the superiority of Elliott’s album over Dylan’s (no such argument could be sound), but merely a comparative description.


The Donkeys - "Come On Virginia"

This song is mixed like a bowl of well mixed greens (i.e. well). The vocals sit in the instrumental tracks like my cat Bruno the Berber (Purr-Purr) Kitty reads YA fiction (i.e. comfortably). The piano is like Mondrian blocks of primary colour and the slide guitar is like pastel Riopelle squiggles (i.e. the piano player is Piet Mondrian and he didn’t so much play piano as paint in his usual style, and the slide guitar just sounds kind of like Riopelle, you know?).

The lyric “You like long hair and I platitude the chin” is like Pythagoras’s views on beans, but unlike his views on triangles (i.e. false). I platitude the chin; no one else.

“Come on Virginia” is like an undeniable summer anthem in that it is one. [Buy]


What do you guys think about turncoats? Do you feel negatively toward, say, Judas Escariot? Benedict Arnold? The Hudson’s Bay Traiting Company? My former editor Max Maki?

You: But she was so loyal!
Me: No, that was a facade.

Max will be leaving the StG family and will be adopted by the richer and more prestigious CBC radio family in Quebec City. There, she will become someone else’s editor Max Maki. The Defector knows no one in and nothing about Quebec City, and though, of course, I wouldn’t want any of you to extend even the most miniscule of kindnesses to this back-stabbing apostate, I would appreciate it if any Quebec City readers might contact Max and, along with your lengthy chastisements, let her know where’s good to go and what’s good to do or see. Goodbye, Max. See you never.

Posted by Jordan at June 23, 2006 1:26 PM

A feud! Just like Paul Shaffer & David Letterman!


Posted by Tubegeek at June 23, 2006 10:33 PM

yes, it's true that max has abandoned us, but stop talking like she's never coming back!!!

it hurts too much.

Posted by Clarence at June 24, 2006 2:13 AM

The Donkeys song was a great choice. Thanks.


Posted by rahawa at June 25, 2006 12:08 PM

Fare thee well to Max, a presence unseen but much appreciated, unknown until confessed. Best wishes for your next activity, and thanks for all your contributions to this wonder, STG.

And by the way, I can't help but think that it's not just a life lived rambling, but a life lived, and constantly sung. That's why I hear the same mastery of phrasing in Eliot that I also hear in Sinatra.

Posted by J at June 25, 2006 11:16 PM

It's Ramblin' Jack Elliott. Also, the track is a cover of "Engine 143", which was originally (I think) by the Carter Family. This is a pretty sweet version, though.

Posted by e at June 29, 2006 9:17 PM

e - Thanks. Fixed. You're right, it is a Carter Family song. Elliott is pretty much exclusively a cover artist.

Posted by Jordan at June 30, 2006 4:09 PM

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about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

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Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

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Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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radiolab [podcast]
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my love for you is a stampede of horses
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