Jackson C. Frank

TrackAlbum
Blues Run The GameJackson C. Frank
Don’'t Look BackJackson C. Frank
Milk And HoneyJackson C. Frank
My Name Is CarnivalJackson C. Frank
Dialogue (I Want To Be Alone)Jackson C. Frank
Just Like AnythingJackson C. Frank

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Contributor: Merric Davidson

Jackson Carey Frank was born in Buffalo in 1943. At the age of 22, he made one of the best albums from any singer-songwriter on the UK folk scene in the 60s. An American in London, Jackson C. Frank was to be his only album.

Produced in just a few hours by Paul Simon in glorious mono in a London studio for Columbia EMI in 1965, the eponymous record was a badge of honour for folkies wherever records could be played and displayed. The cognoscenti knew Jackson C. Frank well, from his appearances at Les Cousins Folk Club in Soho’s Greek Street. The album cover portrays a man staring into the middle distance, a man with a guitar wearing his heart on his sleeve. Such beautiful melancholy in just ten songs. And what songs! I’m picking six tracks – two from side one, four from side two – for this mini-toppermost. A collection of earlier demos and unreleased songs, Forest Of Eden, was released for the first time earlier this year, and five songs recorded ten years after the Paul Simon session are available as bonus tracks on the Jackson C. Frank CD. They’re good but the voice has suffered.

The record sold poorly. There is, though, one hell of a legacy. His most well-known song, Blues Run The Game, has been recorded by many – Simon & Garfunkel, Bert Jansch, Laura Marling. There’s a lovely version of My Name Is Carnival by his one-time girlfriend, Sandy Denny, no surprise there! Marianne Faithfull sings Kimbie on her covers album, Easy Come, Easy Go.

The only known clip of Jackson singing (far as I know anyway) is on this page. It’s incredibly brief and is bookended by Bert Jansch, Al Stewart, Billy Connolly waxing lyrical about his talent. The recent BBC 4 film, Blues Run The Game, tells his tale along with contributions from John Renbourn and friend Al Stewart (see topperpost #139). The tragedies of Jackson’s life are well documented in this film and elsewhere on the net, including articles on the site below, and I don’t intend to go into them here. Jackson C. Frank died young in 1999 after a life that reads more like fiction than fact. His music survives him, thank god, and sounds just as good now as it did back in the sixties.

If you’re coming to him for the first time, try the six selected songs, then grab everything else he ever did (Blues Run The Game 2008 CD), relax into an easy chair and pour yourself a large one.

Death gives no reason
so why should I
death has no season
so I know I’ll never die.
Just like anything
to sing
to sing
to sing
is a state of mind.

The unoffical Jackson C. Frank homepage

Jackson C. Frank biography (iTunes)

TopperPost #151

4 Comments

  1. Kasper Nijsen
    Dec 24, 2013

    I’ve loved this guy since I first heard the words “Send out for whiskey baby, send out for gin, me and roomservice honey, we’re living the life of sin”. I’m guessing I heard Nick Drake’s cover first.

    Apart from his own album, I also remember him for that gorgeuous song Sandy Denny wrote (apparently) about him: Next Time Around. Still, he remains something of an enigma to me; I’d love to read a good biography some day.

  2. Peter Viney
    Jan 2, 2014

    The new Mojo reviews a new vinyl reissue of the Jackson C. Frank album, saying it is the first remastering exercise, but that might just mean on vinyl.

  3. Brian Hill
    Jan 11, 2014

    I understand that Bert Jansch once said that Jackson C Frank was a genius. High praise indeed from another genius. In my record collection they are all numbered and Jackson C Frank is number one.

  4. Peter Viney
    Jun 23, 2014

    Laura Marling has a 45 of “Blues Run The Game” out, produced by Jack White at Third Man in Nashville.

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