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Jackson C. Frank

One of the most interesting and enigmatic cult figures of 1960s folk, Jackson C. Frank's reputation rests almost solely upon one hard-to-find album from the mid-'60s. A stronger composer than a singer, he nonetheless had an appreciable influence on many more famous performers of the decade, including Paul Simon, Sandy Denny, and Nick Drake.

Trauma and misfortune dogged Frank throughout his life. At the age of 11, a fire in his elementary school killed many of his classmates, and left him with burns over most of his body. He eventually recovered and learned to play the guitar, and hung around the early-'60s New York coffeehouse scene with John Kay, later of Steppenwolf. A large insurance settlement enabled him to travel to England after he turned 21, and it was there that he made most of his impact.

Frank shared a London flat with fellow American expatriates Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, who were briefly based there in the mid-'60s prior to their first hit, "The Sounds of Silence." Simon, then a struggling folk singer/songwriter himself, was impressed enough to produce Frank's self-titled album, released in the U.K. only. While Frank's voice was tremulously earnest, the quality of the compositions was often impressive, with a reflective, melancholic air that most likely influenced Simon, Al Stewart (who made his recording debut on one of the LP's tracks, "Yellow Walls"), and Nick Drake (who covered one of the songs, "Here Come the Blues," on late-'60s home tapes that have been extensively circulated as a bootleg).

Frank's album was well-received in British folk circles, and several of his songs made their way into the repertoire of his friend Sandy Denny, who recorded a couple, "Milk and Honey" and "You Never Wanted Me," on her own debut LP. (She also recorded a version of "You Never Wanted Me" with Fairport Convention, and a 1966 demo of "Blues Run the Game" appears on her Dark the Night bootleg.) Frank, however, was unable to come up with a similar quality of material for a follow-up. This, combined with stage fright, depression, and an end of the funds from the insurance settlement that had enabled him to travel in high style, meant that he returned to the States in 1969 without releasing another album.

Based in Woodstock, New York, Frank continued his songwriting, but family and depression problems resulted in homelessness by the mid-'70s. For most of the next two decades, Frank lived on the streets or hospitals, too discouraged to contact old friends and family. He was further hobbled by arthritis, inappropriate medication for his mental problems, and a shooting incident that left him legally blind in his left eye. In the mid-'90s, a sympathetic folk fan, Jim Abbott, helped Frank regroup from his setbacks by helping him gain more appropriate medical assistance and settle back in Woodstock, where he resumed songwriting, and occasionally performed. A 1995 profile in Dirty Linen magazine effectively "rediscovered" the missing legend, and legendary vintage recordings were finally issued on CD in 1996. Stricken with pneumonia, Jackson C. Frank died in March 1999 after a heart attack; he was 56 years old. ~ Richie Unterberger
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Forest Of Eden

1. Forest Of Eden

2. (Spoken Intro) Heartbreak Hotel

3. Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me / Precious Lord

4. I Want To Be Alone

5. Here Comes The Blues

6. You Never Wanted Me

x

Track List: Blues Run the Game

Disc 1

1. Blues Run the Game

2. Don't Look Back

3. Kimbie

4. Yellow Walls

5. Here Come the Blues

6. Milk and Honey

7. My Name Is Carnival

8. Dialogue

9. Just Like Anything

10. You Never Wanted Me

11. Blues Run the Game

12. Can't Get Away from My Love

13. Marlene

14. Marcy's Song

15. The Visit

16. Prima Donna of Swans

17. Relations

18. Cover Me With Roses

19. Cryin' Like a Baby

20. Spanish Moss

21. Have You Seen the Unicorns

Disc 2

1. Goodbye to My Loving You

2. October

3. Mystery

4. I Don't Want to Love You No More

5. Child Fixin' to Die

6. Halloween Is Black As Night

7. Night of the Blues

8. (Tumble) In the Wind

9. Bull Men

10. Maria Spanish Rose

11. Singing Sailors

12. The Spectre

13. Half the Distance

14. Night of the Blues

15. (Tumble) In the Wind

16. Last Month of the Year

17. Ananias

18. Borrow Love and Go

19. Washington Jail

20. Jesse James

21. In the Pines

22. On My Way to Canaan Land

x

Track List: Jackson C. Frank

1. Blues Run The Game

2. Don't Look Back

3. Kimbie

4. Yellow Walls

5. Here Come The Blues

6. Milk And Honey

7. My Name Is Carnival

8. I Want To Be Alone (Dialogue)

9. Just Like Anything

10. You Never Wanted Me

11. Marlene

12. Marcy's Song

13. The Visit

14. Prima Donna Of Swans

15. Relations

x

Track List: Remastered & Unreleased

1. I've Been 'Buked And I've Been Scorned

2. Gospel Plow

3. CC Rider

4. Banana Boat Song

5. Frankie & Johnny

6. John Henry

7. In The Pines

8. John Henry's Hammer

9. Ananias

10. Borrow Love And Go

11. Jesse James

12. Last Month Of The Year

13. Washington Jail

14. Blues Run The Game (Single Version)

15. Can't Get Away From My Love

16. Marlene

17. Marcy's Song

18. Madonna Of Swans

19. Relations

20. Cover Me With Roses

21. Cryin' Like A Baby

22. Spanish Moss

23. The Visit

24. Have You Seen The Unicorns

25. Juliette

26. China Blue

27. Madonna Of Swans (1972 Version)

28. Box Canyon

29. Cover Me With Roses (1974 Version)

30. Spanish Moss (1974 Version)

31. Stitch In Time

32. Heartbreak Hotel

33. Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me/Precious Lord

34. Blues Run The Game (Peel Session)

35. My Name Is Carnival (Peel Session)

36. Jimmy Clay (Peel Session)

37. Just Like Anything (Peel Session)

38. You Never Wanted Me (Peel Session)

39. Juliette (1975 Version)

40. Instrumental

41. Night Of The Blues (Version 1)

42. (Tumble) In The Wind (Version 1)

43. The Spectre

44. Half The Distance

45. Bull Men

46. Maria Spanish Rose

47. Singing Sailors

48. Night Of The Blues (Version 2)

49. (Tumble) In The Wind (Version 2)

50. Goodbye (To My Loving You)

51. October

52. Mystery

53. I Don't Want To Love You No More

54. Child Fixin' To Die

55. Halloween Is Black As Night

56. In The Pines (Version 2)

57. On My Way To The Canaan Land

x

Track List: The Lost Tapes - EP

1. Forest Of Eden

2. Spoken Intro / Heartbreak Hotel

3. Santa / Precious Lord

4. I Want To Be Alone (Dialogue)

5. Here Comes The Blues

6. You Never Wanted Me

Comments

Report as inappropriate
metalnorm
Jackson C Frank was a great song writer, Even the late Nick Drake who has now found popularity was influenced by him and even liked to cover his material ....
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How have I never heard of this man before? His life story is so tragic, yet his music & lyrics are so beautiful... & I think his voice is very nice, actually.
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Thought I knew 60s/70s folk pretty well, but I must admit I missed him completely. Bio seems to have it exactly right:---A stronger composer than a singer. Like My Name is Carnival; will pick up a CD from Collector's Choice.
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Forget the comment below. It was ignorant.
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Something off about his voice in this one.
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johnnyohania n
sorry doesnt fit in with my 60's rock station. had to vote thumbs down. quel dommage
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I discovered Frank by listening to Wiz Jones's version of "Blues Run the Game". I thought it was one of the strongest tracks on the album, listened to it over and over, and then realized it was a cover. So glad to have found him. May he rest in peace.
Report as inappropriate
Sometimes when we think we got it so bad, lets think of frank here, What a life, gets me very emotional. So Ill enjoy his music, and look to him as an example in lif, never to give up.WOW
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Wow, what beautiful music...
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When I think of Frank I think of my Foot too.
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Great song writer! I too had never hear of Frank. Definitely a gem that had a hard life. Sad story but great music that lives on with us today.
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wow ....
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What an amazing discovery. This is why I love Pandora. Got here by creating a Working Class Hero station, possibly my favorite Jon Lennon song and that is saying something.
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I've lived in the folk music world since the fifties, and somehow never stubled on this guy before. What a great discovery!
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What a sad story of what I'm sure was a very tough life.
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God, I love Jackson C. Frank. Speaking of Nick Drake, he did a cover of Milk and Honey too that is absolutely heart-breaki n g - I have no idea which I prefer, that or the original, it's just not possible!
Report as inappropriate
I appreciate the sharp eyes of Pandora's listeners. Pandora would be good to do so as well. Still, bringing this artist to my ears is appreciated. If you like this artist, buy his recordings, or songs that benefit his estate. I will.
Report as inappropriate
Well the review could haved been written BEFORE he died, duh. Do you think these Pandora reviews were all written recently? Most are mined from old music journals...
Report as inappropriate
Tense error. Should have been performed rather than performs.
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surfacetoair
Jackson C. Frank died in 1999, yet Pandora says he "occasionall y performs". I wonder at what venue? Dumb asses.
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Report as inappropriate
roipolloi
Superb!
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Fantastic! I'm suprised that I have never heard of him. How can that be?
Report as inappropriate
There is a good bio... much more complete on Wikipedia
Report as inappropriate
Sadly, he died in 1999. I absolutely love him though.
Report as inappropriate
diezhouse
I like it like it is there more?
Report as inappropriate
and I thought I'd been awake during that time... must have been inhaling at that time LOL.. nice to find a looked over gem. The bio is incomplet...
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Listen to the lyrics of Yellow walls, wow
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I've never heard of him, but he's an interesting vocal artist. What a horrible life he has had, and what challenges he has overcome.
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This would be an interesting "Where is he now?" subject. About as folksy as i've heard.. enjoyed it.
Report as inappropriate
damn. that's a hard way to live.
Report as inappropriate
I love this! Completely soothing!!!

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