by: Gary Antol
“Jangly Jack by the railroad track,
hustling a dollar don't give no slack.”
This song was inspired by the idea of an aging hobo who couldn't run fast enough to catch a train anymore. As a last resort he took to sitting next to the tracks begging passers by for money in exchange for his thoughts on the world.
I've lived in a few big cities in my lifetime, and one thing they all seem to have in common is street hustlers. I was always amazed at the persistence of these people. One time, I gave a guy half of a pizza that I had in a box and 5 bucks. His reply was, “while a man surely appreciates food and a five dollar bill, it would be a much better day if he got a ten.” To me that says a lot about our society in general. We always want more.
I suppose like all songs this one has some elements of the writer in it. It was written on the mandolin, and the mandolin line was then transferred to the fiddle. My favorite things about this version of the song are the kazoo and the solo sections. It's the second time this one was recorded, and it's my favorite.