Young Brigham

Ramblin' Jack Elliott

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Young Brigham Review

by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.

Folksinger Ramblin' Jack Elliott is a fascinating and eccentric figure, and Young Brigham from 1968 finds him in his element. The arrangements are busier than on his previous recordings, but they never get in the way of his off-the-cuff style. His vocals are perhaps more eccentric here than usual, delivering out of the ordinary versions of If I Were a Carpenter and Tennessee Stud. The difference between Elliott's versions and those of your average folksinger is that he sounds as though he's having a good time. This renders over-familiar material, like the above-mentioned songs, fresh. There are great versions of Danville Girl and Don't Think Twice, It's Alright, and a nice original titled, 912 Greens. Elliott usually stuck to singing other people's songs and held onto his folk roots even when singer-songwriters began to take over the ‘60s folk scene. Even the Rolling Stone's Connection, comes across as country-folk, not rock-and-roll. Elliott also includes a couple of Woody Guthrie songs to let everyone know where his roots lay. Richie Unterberger's liner notes do a great job of placing this album in context. It would be the first of two albums Elliott would record for Reprise in an unsuccessful attempt to bring him to a larger audience. Larger audience or not, the music stands for itself. Young Brigham is a nice snapshot of Elliott in the late ‘60s and shows him leaving the confines of a large studio with his folk heritage intact.

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