I Want To Be Alone (Dialogue)
  • I Want To Be Alone (Dialogue)
  • Jackson C. Frank
  • Jackson C. Frank

In the realms of American folk music, few artists have been able to achieve the beauty that Jackson C. Frank captured on his one and only, self-titled, record in 1965.  Haunted by a fiery explosion at his elementary school which killed several of his classmates and left him with severe burns, Frank would go on to write and record some of the deepest, gorgeous acoustic music ever heard, before disappearing almost entirely after succumbing to mental instability and paralyzing anxiety.  He would record a handful more times later on in his life, however, most of it would not be released until a resurgence in interest in him occurred after his death.  If you’ve not checked out this record, I implore you to do so, it’s hard to find pieces of music filled with as much honesty, sadness, sweetness, and vulnerability as Frank puts into his.

“When I went down I hadn't seen a picture of him, except for his album cover. Then, he was thin and young. When I went to see him, there was this heavy guy hobbling down the street, and I thought, ‘That can’t possibly be him’…I just stopped and said ‘Jackson?’ and it was him. My impression was, ‘Oh my God’, it was almost like the elephant man or something. He was so unkempt, disheveled.” a further side effect of the fire was a thyroid malfunction causing him to put on weight. “He had nothing. It was really sad. We went and had lunch and went back to his room. It almost made me cry, because here was a fifty-year-old man, and all he had to his name was a beat-up old suitcase and a broken pair of glasses. I guess his caseworker had given him a $10 guitar, but it wouldn't stay in tune. It was one of those hot summer days. He tried to play blues run the game for me, but his voice was pretty much shot.”

You Never Wanted Me
  • You Never Wanted Me
  • Jackson C Frank
  • Jackson C Frank

Jackson C Frank - You Never Wanted Me

Satu dari 10 lagu dalam album folk paling melankolis dan indah yaitu album debut Self-Titled (1965) yang sedihnya juga album terakhir Jackson C. Frank (March 2, 1943 - March 3, 1999). Dan kehidupan Jackson sama menyedihkannya seperti album itu. Life’s sure hard.

Wondering and waiting
My back against the wall
Not a word that passed between us
Comes to call
Just your shadow on the window
And your step on down the hall
You never wanted me babe
You never knew me at all

I haven’t any picture
To set before my eyes
Nothing to blame
When the blues start to rise
Just the memory of laughter
And the living out of lies
And if I could change my ways babe
You’d never have said goodbye

If you ever get the time baby
Please think on me
It’s a lock that can’t be broken
And there isn’t any key
And I’m only in your mind
Only you can set me free
You can’t hurt me anymore babe
And that isn’t hard to see

Someday someone will leave you
And I know you’ll feel the same
You’ll mark it down to memory
And the dream that never came
Well there are no answers given
When love is just a game
You never wanted me babe
And now I feel the same

Blues Run The Game
  • Blues Run The Game
  • Jackson C. Frank
  • Jackson C. Frank

I opened up today’s digital mix with a bit of Jackson C. Frank because I’ve been obsessed with his one and only solo release since I was first turned on to it a few years back and I think it’s a damn shame his music isn’t more well known.  I’ve written about Mr. Frank’s story before but I think it bears repeating.  Jackson was a little boy when a malfunctioning furnace at his school exploded and shot a ball of flames into his classroom, killing fifteen of his fellow students and leaving him with severe burns all over his body.  It was while he was in the hospital recovering from his injuries that a teacher would give him a guitar to occupy himself with.  The event would haunt Jackson for the rest of his life and is generally considered the reason for his mental instability which would sabotage his career.  It was in 1965, a little over ten years after the incident, Jackson would record his self titled solo debut which was produced by Paul Simon.  What was captured on this record was some of the most beautiful and fragile folk music ever written and performed.  Jackson’s pure, clear voice combined with his delicate finger picking and strumming dominates the album and is breath taking to listen to.  Sadly, it was not long after these recordings were made that Jackson began to fall apart and retreated back to his home state of New York where he would spend time in and out of mental institutions and sleeping on the streets.  He recorded occasionally in his later life as he was occasionally re-discovered by new fans from time to time.  However, many of those final recordings were never released in his life time.  I keep hoping that somebody will press a Jackson C. Frank complete recordings one of these days, I’d certainly buy a copy. 

7 Blues run The Game
  • 7 Blues run The Game
  • John Mayer
  • 3/26/2010

Blues Run The Game 

Cover by John Mayer, 3/26/2010

Written by Jackson C. Frank

Catch a boat to England, baby,
Maybe to Spain,
Wherever I have gone,
Wherever I’ve been and gone,
Wherever I have gone
The blues have run the game.

Send out for whisky, baby,
Send out for gin,
Me and room service, honey,
Me and room service, babe,
Me and room service
Well, we’re living a life of sin

When I ain’t drinking, baby,
You are on my mind,
When I ain’t sleeping, honey,
When I ain’t sleeping, Mama,
When I ain’t sleeping
Well you know you’ll find me crying.

Living is a gamble, baby,
Loving’s much the same,
Wherever I have played,
Wherever I throw those dice,
Wherever I have played
The blues have run the game.

Maybe when I’m older, baby,
Someplace down the line,
I’ll wake up older,
So much older, Mama,
Wake up older
And I’ll just stop all my trying.

Catch a boat to England, baby,
Maybe to Spain,
Wherever I have gone,
Wherever I’ve been and gone,
Wherever I have gone
The blues, they’re all the same.

Junerecordaday: Day 10 - Most Valuable Record

Jackson C. Frank - Self Titled (1965)

Some of my Third Man records and real early Green Day singles are probably worth more than this, but hey! This, the first and only album by troubled folk singer Jackson C. Frank is one of my favorites.

This album is the most expensive used record I have ever bought (which isn’t really saying much) and it is probably one of the rarest I own.

If you don’t own this album i highly recommend it. Every track is beuatiful and heartbreaking. It has also been reissued (affordably) on vinyl so what are you waiting for!?