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Holy Ranger Photo Album Page 7

Midnight Sun Rider: Alaska’s Motorcycle Magazine
Volume 2, Issue 2; Summer, 2007)

Wild Bill’s Culture Corner
By Wild Bill

In 2002 poet, philosopher, historian, musician, and biker Dr. Martin Jack Rosenblum, also known as “The Holy Ranger,” released the 12th anniversary edition of “Free Hand.” It is the only authentic work of its kind within Motorcycle and Rock and Roll Cultures. I recently had the opportunity to drop it into the CD player. Free Hand was the musical follow up to “The Holy Ranger: Harley-Davidson Poems” the first book of its kind to be licensed by the Harley-Davidson Motor Co. The book identifies the mythopoetic Holy Ranger way of life.

The work of The Holy Ranger launched a new genre in poetry. Today “Biker Poetry” will be found throughout the U.S. and around the world.

In addition to Martin Jack Rosenblum, other talented artists who play on this album are Victor DeLorenzo and Brian Ritchie of the Violent Femmes and Michael Hoffmann of EIEIO.

In 2006 Rosenblum released a specially re-mastered 12th anniversary edition of “Down on the Spirit Farm.” Originally released in 1994, Little Steven of Springsteen's E-Street Band said at the time that if there is such an idiom as Art Rock then this album is it. Before there was Alternative Country, there was “Down on the Spirit Farm.” Ahead of its time the sound of this album predated the now popular genre.

If you would like to revisit the roots of one of the many reasons motorcycling has become Americas pastime, these albums will take you there. The sounds, thoughts and view of a way of life are defined in these works by a pioneer of literature and music. Both albums can be found at

Archive Visit … by Deputy Chuck

Around the middle of October back in 1996, while out on a short ride from the Northeastern Indiana Territory I decided to take a rest stop in Milwaukee to meet, for the first time, Dr. Martin Jack Rosenblum. During that time Martin Jack was writing an article for Hog Tales entitled “Motoring on Memory Lane”. I always enjoyed reading his work and it was through this article that I had the chance to meet him.

I was impressed with this man. He was, and still is, one of those who hold to the old ways. That a mans word is as good as a contract and a handshake seals the deal. During our meeting we talked and shared with each other as we looked over my new ’96 Electra Glide. There seemed to be an almost instant bond between us, a brotherhood.

During our conversation Martin Jack ask me if I had time to spare. Upon my reply of “yes” he ask me to follow him into an adjacent building. We actually went into the basement of the building, but not before passing through several security doors. As we entered the room through the last door my eyes were filled with a sea of motorcycles. Not just any motorcycles, but Harley-Davidson’s, of different years and models. I was amazed but soon found out this was only to be the beginning. We entered a second room that held even more Harley’s, and these were older than the others. Mixed in with the old bikes were first models and prototypes, snowmobiles, golf carts, sidecar rigs. Things I had only seen in books were suddenly right before me. Another surprise was waiting near by. Martin Jack let me drool over the collection and ask questions before he took me to one last room.

As we entered the last room I remember a large heavy table before me covered with the parts of an unassembled motorcycle. Sitting in a floor stand at one end of the table was what looked like a large bicycle frame. In the corner stood a neatly stacked collection of white tires. The two people in the room only looked up briefly from their work as we started looking about. We stood at the table looking over the clean parts waiting their reassembly. Martin Jack took the carburetor from the table and handed it to me, telling me only it was from the early 1900’s. I looked at the early 1900 engineering I held in my hands and was amazed at the craftsmanship of these early pioneers. Martin Jack simply stood and watched me, suggesting I “turn it over”. It took just a minute and what I saw made my heart skip and took away my breath. As I looked at Martin Jack he had a sparkle in his eye and a sheepish smile on his face as he ask me “what do you see ?”. After catching my breath I replied “if this is what I think it is you better take it before I drop it”. He again ask me what I thought I was looking at, to which I answered “Serial Number 1”. He chuckled and said “that’s right”. I was holding the heart of Harley-Davidson Serial Number 1 in my hands. We returned it to the table without dropping it and I just stood there speechless.

I could have spent the rest of the day in those three rooms but I had to move on and Martin Jack had other things he needed to take care of as well. I will treasure the friendship that has grown between Martin Jack and myself since that day. He will always hold a special place in my heart, not because of what he did that day, but because of who he is in his heart. I am honored to be able to call him … Pals.

Dr. Martin Jack Rosenblum, Historian Emeritus, Harley-Davidson Motor Company,
Retired as of 1 July 2007.

Dr. Rosenblum is the author of a book entitled Searching For Rock And Roll: Authenticity And Art In Vernacular Music (Thomson, 2007) and is at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Peck School of the Arts, Music Department, lecturing on subjects ranging from American Folk and Blues and The Art Of Songwriting And Performance to the history of Rock and Roll. He rides a Chicago made Schwinn to work with a guitar in the steel luggage rack.

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