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Ronny Elliott

A Postcard from Jack – 1998 (Blue Heart)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

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CDs by Ronny Elliott

Ronny Elliott has been around forever (one of the first bands he was in turned down the novelty tune "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" that the Royal Guardsmen took to number 2 in 1966) and he's worked with among others Chuck Berry, Jerry Jeff Walker, Jimi Hendrix, the Allman Brothers and Sly and the Family Stone.

And no, I've never heard of him either. Part of the reason for Elliott's undeserved anonymity has to be his persistence in following his muse wherever she might lead. The title song is a sympathetic portrait of Jack the Ripper (and undoubtedly the only country song you'll hear this century with the word "entrails" in it). "Carlos Diego" is a violent semi-Dylanesque saga, and the standout "If I Had You" a sweet song of longing. Elliott is a walking repository of rock and rockabilly history, as evidenced by "Tell the Killer the King is Dead" (not about another serial killer but Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis) and the haunting "The Twist Came From Tampa" about how Hank Ballard and the Midnighters had the dance stolen from them by the "hack" Chubby Checker.

Hey, anybody who's been turned down by some alt.country labels for not being country punk enough and by others for being too commercial as Elliott has - has got to be worth a listen. (Available for $12 from Blue Heart, 179 Baltic Circle, Tampa, FL 33606)