Review - Friends of Mine

Artist: Ramblin' Jack Elliot

When you're Ramblin' Jack Elliott, getting a few friends together for an album of duets is no problem. "Friends of Mine" features Elliott collaborating with some of the best in American folk and country music: John Prine, Nanci Griffith, Emmylou Harris, Guy Clark and Arlo Guthrie all lend their voices and talents.

Elliott and the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir strip "Friend of the Devil" down to its beautiful, bare essence, while Townes Van Zandt's "Rex's Blues" is buoyed by Harris' and Griffith's exquisite vocals. There are plenty of hommages to Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, but the best comes on "Louise," where Elliot's cowboy baritone blends with the gravelly howl of Tom Waits.

The man who performed with Guthrie, mentored Dylan, influenced Beck, played for James Dean in a Hollywood parking lot and is rumored to have inspired Mick Jagger to pick up a guitar continues to push the boundaries of traditional folk music and widen his circle of friends.

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