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DVD-The Songs and Guitar of Ramblin' Jack Elliott
DVD-The Songs and Guitar of Ramblin' Jack Elliott
Actor: Ramblin' Jack Elliott
Director: Happy Traum
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2004     1hr 20min

Jack Elliott and Arlo Guthrie take you on a journey through folk music history, playing the blues, ballads and cowboy songs that define Jack's unique guitar style and repertoire. Jack plays through fourteen of his best-kno...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actor: Ramblin' Jack Elliott
Director: Happy Traum
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Musicals, Independently Distributed
Studio: Homespun Tapes
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 10/01/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 20min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

High on stories, not so high on guitar technique
Patrick King | Exeter, NH | 01/18/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This video is a great deal of fun. If, like myself, you've always loved Jack Elliott's delivery and his stories, you'll probably get a kick out of the repartee between him and Arlo Guthrie. If, like myself, you're buying this to actually learn the guitar technique of Jack Elliott, you will probably be less satisfied. There is not much time spent on explaining fingerings, runs, or chord shapes. That said, Elliott is not exactly Blind Blake. You certainly can learn renditions of most of these songs from this video. But if you're hoping to be spoon-fed the secrets that give Jack Elliott's guitar work it's unique twists, you'd do as well to get CDs, put your head against the speakers and go over each song note for note. Jack is not very forthcoming about what he does or how he does it. Certainly one of the best exponents of Woody Guthrie's 'pendulum picking' style, not to mention the complex flatpicking 'talking blues' structure. Elliott does not 'teach' these techniques which I was very much hoping to learn from this video. He demonstrates these techniques, but he doesn't slow them down. He doesn't break them into small patterns and reassemble them so you can duplicate what he does. In other words, if you're already a fine player, maybe you can make use of these demonstrations at tempo and figure them out. But if you're a beginner, you're going to be just as puzzled at the end of your third viewing of Talking Sailor as you were at the first. The tabulature, too, is rudimentary. It's the tab for the song, not exactly the rendition that Elliott is playing on the video and not all parts are tabbed. In other words, you can develop a rendition of these songs from this tab, but unless you're pretty skilled, it will be your rendition, having little in common with Elliott's arrangement except the key. No one I'm aware of has ever done a serious video lesson on this style of Oklahoma Dustbowl guitar. Such a lesson would be very valuable. Unfortunately, this is not it. The best advice on the DVD comes close to the end when Elliott tells the viewer "Don't take yourself too seriously.""