It's taken way, way too long for this album to appear on CD in the U.S. That changes now. Rhino has brought one of the best albums of the 70's back into the light, finally. "I Got a Name" is by far Jim Croce's best album. Alternately triumphant, wandering, heartbreaking, and humorous, the entire record begs the question, "How could Rolling Stone leave this off their 500 greatest albums list?!".
Some of Croce's best known songs are here: The incredible title track (which should be familiar to even the most casual fan or classic rock listeners in general), the heartbreaking "Lover's Cross", the beautiful "I'll Have to Say I Love You in a Song" (another one that, odds are, you've heard) and the fun "Workin' at the Car Wash Blues", as well as the 'familiar but not THAT well-known' "Salon and Saloon" and "Thursday". These songs alone are worth the price of the disc, but it's the less famous songs here that elevate this album from "great" to "masterpiece".
Given Croce's death in a plane crash so close to the album's release, an eerie air hangs over some of the tracks here: The title track, sure, but also "Age", which details roads not taken and love ignored in favor of material pursuits, is simply outstanding, easily my favorite Croce song. That eerie air hangs even heavier over the closing track, "The Hard Way Every Time", a song that details roads that ARE traveled, and how those life experiences shape us. In light of the events that transpired right before it's release, the final line, in which Croce concludes that "I wouldn't have done it any other way" is simply incredible.
The humourous songs are here, too. The aforementioned "...Blues", but also "Top Hat Bar and Grille" and the surprisingly dark "Five Short Minutes", which, despite it's boppy tune, is about an older man taking an underage girl to bed and subsequently being arrested and imprisoned for 20 years.
There's not a bad track here, every song is just superb, and it all flows wonderfully. Sure, many of the songs are available in various compilations, but there's nothing quite like hearing the album the way it was meant to be heard. And that album art, classic. That sepia-tinted shot of Croce smoking with that all-too-1973 font the title is printed in, just great.
Not much left to say, this is one that's well worth the purchase!