1001 Albums: Jack Takes the Floor



Artist: Ramblin’ Jack Elliott

Album: Jack Takes the Floor

Year: 1958

Length: 43:49

Genre: Folk



“Lord it’s hey little water boy bring your water around
And if you don’t like your job just set that water bucket down”

I can’t believe I’m doing this. I’ve been trying to listen to these albums at a steady pace so I have time to think and catch up with my own Boscofied album covers (which so far has been coming out perfectly fine). But the steady pace also allows me to avoid writing more than one post a night. I did it once and thankfully it worked out fine that time, but right now it’s 12:30 am and I feel dead tired. I just wrote the Lady in satin about five minutes ago and now I need to pump this one out while it’s still fresh in my head. That’s the thing about my bus commute, it’s long enough for me to get through two albums in one day, which on one hand is great, I’m listening to these albums much faster than I expected but on the other hand means I’m sitting here late at night, my mind getting al fuzzy. You see, these days the only time I get to write is after work. Since I finish at ten and only get home by 11:30 then I’m usually writing until 12, that is if I’m focused. If I’m with Sandra, I’m not as focused, if I’m alone… I’m slightly more focused, but it really depends my mood.

Tonight I’m not that focused. Not because Sandra is here, she isn’t, but I’m just heavily distracted by a lot of things going on around me. Convos with a few people, life in general, my mind easily wandering to things I don’t want to think about. It’s been a strange day mentally. Lots of ups and downs to deal with. This morning I woke up with weird chest pains and my mind immediately went to the worst: Heart Attack. I’m 24… that makes no sense… thankfully I was wrong. I have a stress knot on the left side of my back that was causing the rest of the uncomfortable feelings. Relieved I found that out, still doesn’t change the fact that it’s there. I think I’ve been way too stressed lately and need to relax.

Thankfully, this album was pretty relaxing (haha segueway to the album since I hadn’t mentioned it once yet and figured whoops I need to mention it). Folk is not really my type of music. Country music I usually avoid like the plague and Folk always came a close second, where I could tolerate it and appreciate it, but would never seek it out. But when I think country music I want to hear, I think this. This is the kind of folk/country (dear lord I’m a mess with the genre) that I like. It’s not cheesy or lovey gooey or anything, it’s some straight-up ballads told like a father telling stories around the camp fire to all his children, all twenty of them.

The music brought me back to the days when I was in the scouts (nope not the boy scouts, we were actually a mixed scouts, boys and girls… yeah it was goooooood) and the weeks we went camping. Every night we’d have the entire troupe meet around the campfire and we’d sing songs, tell stories and crack jokes. It was guaranteed that at least one of the scout leaders had an acoustic guitar and would pull it out to accompany the songs. Those moments felt like this album and it helped that Jack himself sounds like he’s just sitting there on a chair with his guitar in hand.

That’s what made the album so relaxed, he just sounds like a dude who’s kicked back and is just singing some little diddies. At the start of every song, he even takes the time to talk to you and set you up very briefly for is next story, which is pretty cool, not many artists do that on their albums and I honestly don’t think it would work on any other album than this. I think that’s sort of what sets it apart from most albums. He knows he’s in a studio and wants to take the audience in with him and what better way to do that than talk to them directly. He does an especially nice introduction for what I have come to learn was one of his idols, Woodie Guthrie, which imagine my surprise when I found out Woodie Guthrie cameo’d on this album (HOLY SHIT WOODIE GUTHRIE! was pretty much what I said… out loud… in public). Sure, you can’t answer back (I mean you can try and look like a damned fool) but it sets up the mood very well and you are able to sit down and just listen to his fun little stories (many of which consist of the blues).

I especially love his one song: Bed Bug Blues, which is exactly what you expect the song to be. He just goes on about how much Bed Bugs suck and how they arrogantly bite you and laugh at you… those fuckers. I honestly think this is the most relateable song I will ever hear off the 50s list because bed bugs truly do fucking suck. I thankfully never experienced them and I hope I never do, those fuckers ruin everything.Who doesn’t hate bed bugs? Everyone does… I think this will be the song that finally unites everyone in solidarity because no matter what our differences are, we can all agree, we fucking hate bed bugs.

Well, I’m now dead tired and probably gonna head to sleep. Before I end this I need to mention one of my favorite parts of the album, the world’s longest freaking yodeleyehoo I have ever heard in my life. Just when I thought he’d be done, it kept going and going and going until it reached a climax so beautiful and high-pitched my ears bled in the greatest way possible.

There’s no other way to end this than to quote it:



Song of Choice: Bed Bug Blues


Photoshop Credit: Julian Branco


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