There's as much drifting around Ramblin' Jack Elliott which is mythology as there is which has stuck and become a part of him. What reality there is constantly mutates into visions of a man walking off into the sunset or crawling off before sunrise. He's an encyclopedic compilation of everyone he's ever befriended in almost 70 years, including Jack Nicholson, Robert Duvall, Janis Joplin, and some guy known as "Maggie's old man" from Maggie, North Carolina. Mama Cass claimed Jack's the sexiest man alive.
A life-long aspiring cowboy, he's rode saddle broncos and bareback horses. He still ropes and hauls around on cow ponies, though after trying to sleep curled under saddle blankets, he's become quite a Land Rover aficionado. Jack fixes, steers, and accolades long-distance trucks. "I've never seen a truck driver who looked as good as his truck." He's a sailor, meaning the gaff and square rigged type old boats, not these plastic jobs. On his first trip to Hawaii he piloted a nuclear submarine a good part of the way from Lahaina to Pearl Harbor, even bounced some yodels through that metal hull. His indomitable knowledge of the names and uses of every square inch on a sailing ship or truck can be exhausting even before you learn he pilots airplanes too. "Cowboy poets... call him up and quote 'cowboy rap' over the phone. Firefighters, truck drivers, bikers, bartenders, everybody."1
None of this explains why Jack is one of the most sought after and influential performers of the last 50 years, however.