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90 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cult figure posthumously given the release he deserves,
You couldn't make it up. Badly injured in a fire as a child, Jackson C. Frank received a sizeable insurance payment and came to England to buy a Jaguar, subsequently making a big impression on the London folk scene way before Dylan. His debut album sold well in the UK but subsequent attempts at a follow up failed, and Frank lost touch with his contemporaries. Fate then ran him up a thoroughly depressing tally of bad fortune, including but not limited to the loss of a son to Cystic Fibrosis, bouts of clinical depression, parathyroid malfunction, misdiagnosis for paranoid schizophrenia and subsequent institutionalisation, chronic poverty and, after his luck looked like it was finally coming round, being shot in the face by a stranger leaving him blind in one eye. This last disaster came after his 'rediscovery' in the early '90's by a fan called Jim Abbott who helped him recover lost royalties and record some new material, resulting in an upsurge in interest in his work. His debut album was re-issued once again, to an appreciative audience, but Frank died in 1999, aged 55. When he wrote 'Blues Run the Game' on a boat to England as a young man it was as though he somehow already knew what was coming.
Frank's work is better known through its coverage by other artists, including Bert Jansch, Nick Drake and Sandy Denny. Perhaps this release will finally redress the balance. A remarkable songwriter, a startling lyricist, and in short, a great guitarist, Frank's work sorely needs to be rescued from doomed folk obscurity.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful music,
The highlight on this album for me is Milk and Honey, which was later covered by Nick Drake. I have rarely heard such a haunting song and the lyrics are superb.
If you like the more well know artists such as Donovan or Dylan then you would be a fool not to buy this album too.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars another wasted talent,
but how does his work stand up 40+ plus years later in the cold light of day? surprisingly - very well. the title track is worth the price of admission alone being a very nice song indeed. the other two highlights are 'milk and honey' (beautifully covered by bonnie dobson. havent heard nick drakes version if there was one)and 'dialogue' (the definitive version of which can be found on julie felix's 'flowers' album) - the rest of the material is not quite as strong but theres some nice stuff going on throughout.
as a debut album for a young, fledgling songwriter then, this was a solid effort, and we can only speculate on where he would have gone with his writing as his life took such a downward curve soon after. certainly the later material on here, recorded after years of abuse, shows that he had plenty left to offer. but unfortunately his voice had become as frayed as his health by then and the songs suffer as a result. the rest of the boxset consists of demos , most of which sound very similar and are of such poor quality that they are barely listenable.
from the evidence, it seems that this guy, had he kept on track and matured naturally as a writer, could have been a major player as the years went by. but alas, history tells the rest of the story
well worth getting as an historical footnote (and an important one), and for at least 2 or 3 great songs
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why wasn't he a star?,
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Nearly Forgotten Singer-Songwriter,
What we have here is pretty much all there is of Frank's output: the original LP of 10 songs from 1965, both sides of a single from that time, nine tracks from 1975, and on the second CD seven tracks, mainly traditional numbers, from 1960, and 16 tracks from after Frank's remarkable rediscovery after many years of illness and vagrancy.
The original LP has four songs, 'Blues Run the Game', 'Milk and Honey', 'My Name is Carnival' and 'Here Come the Blues', that are easily as good as the very best songs written by 1960s singer-songwriters, and indeed have been variously covered by Sandy Denny, Bert Jansch and Nik Drake. Most of the rest are pretty good too. Although the 1965 LP contained a some numbers with at times disturbing lyrics -- 'Here Come the Blues' in particular -- the 1975 songs are mainly very sombre. This isn't easy, happy listening, but who wants to be comforted by music all the time? This CD is one of my favourites of its genre, and much of it still sounds great today, all those years after its original release.
The second CD doesn't get so many playings, as the later material is largely rather rough demo tapes. There are some songs, however, which do deserve more than just a quick hearing. 'October' could have fitted in well on his 1965 LP. Perhaps these songs could have been refined to produce a pretty good album had Frank not died in 1999. The songs from 1960 are from a very worn acetate that almost defied rescuing, with a great deal of hiss and distortion.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tantalising glimpse of genius,
I had the great fortune to be introduced to his first and only album by a school friend Robert Ede back in 1965. I was instantly smitten and am eternally grateful. It is a gem. The words and melodies have not diminished over the years.
I was also extremely grateful to have seen him perform in the Angel Ilford in 1969 with my friend Pete Smith. We were both mesmerised. It was a wonderful enchanting and intimate evening. He played the whole album and we chatted with him afterwards and found a warm and friendly man. Little did we know that it would be the last time we ever saw him.He was a friend and inspiration to the great Roy Harper who is one of England's greatest.
The later songs are not as powerful or memorable as the songs from that first album but it is lovely to have them all. I would recommend this to anyone interested in acoustic music, fine songwriting and haunting melody. He swam in the same pond as Roy, Bert Jansch and John Renbourn and was not out of place in such illustrious company.
Buy it and listen to some beautiful songs and wonder at what might have been!
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and interesting,
5.0 out of 5 stars A just and fitting tribute to an artist who never quite achieved his early promise,
"He was an absolute genius. A lot of the music that came out of that period was most certainly due to him. 'Blues Run the Game' influenced just about everyone heard it. You could say that it changed the face of the contemporary song-writing world. He was the ultimate". '
Blues Run the Game: The Expanded Deluxe Edition' comprises all known recordings of Jackson C. Frank and as such stands as his legacy and a testament to a truly wonderful singer/songwriter who was never quiet able to capitalise on his early success or achieve the fame that his talent so richly deserved.
Disc 1 of this set contains 'Jackson C. Frank', his original album, "Blues Run the Game", the single, and eight 1975 tracks laid down for a come back that never happened. It's beautifully recorded with good sound quality and Frank's haunting melodies and heart breaking voice. It is an amazingly mature album for someone in their early 20s and speaks volumes about the effects of the fire on Jackson Frank's being.
Disc 2 comprises cuts that the sound quality is dubious at best but includes Jackson C. Frank's first recorded, but unreleased, album 'Peaches&Crust' and later, mid-90's home recordings. It took awhile for me to get into this disc but it now contains some of my favourite tracks. On it you can hear clearly what Frank was and the promise that was to come. It's a bittersweet disc as Frank died in the mid nineties but it also shows the a singer who hadn't lost touch with the muse that so inspired him during his heyday.
The sleeve notes to this album are also very good. They explain in detail Jackson Frank's life and the tragedies that unfolded to make him one of a kind but that also prevented him from taking his talent forward.
All in all I would greatly recommend this album to any music fan, regardless of whether or not they like folk. Frank's ethereal voice and acoustic guitar reach outside the confines of time and genre to sound surprisingly modern. For me this is Frank's true genius and a lasting testament to his power as an artist.
5.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked folk singer,
5.0 out of 5 stars Blues run the game,
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