Jackson C. Frank: The Clear, Hard Light Of Genius
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The story of Jackson C. Frank is tragic. The victim of a school fire in his youth, struggling with homelessness and mental illness throughout his life, half-blinded in old age before his death in 1999, Frank met continuous obstacles. And yet he enjoyed a shining moment with the release of Jackson C. Frank on Columbia Records in 1965. The album would go on to be seen as one of the greatest folk albums of the decade—maybe of all time—and its opening track “Blues Run the Game” has become a standard covered by hundreds. Jim Abbott’s book is the result of years of research piecing together evidence, relations and apocryphal stories from Frank’s life. It is also part memoir, as Abbott cared for Frank through the final decade of his life. Their friendship was fraught with difficulties, which Abbott portrays with the honesty of a journalist. In doing so, he draws a portrait of a uniquely gifted songwriter, blessed with talent and besotted by demons. At 250 pages, Abbott’s memoir shows a flawed and caring individual whose struggle was best depicted in his songs. Following the release of Jackson C. Frank: The Clear, Hard Light of Genius, Ba Da Bing will release three volumes of Jackson C. Frank: The Complete Recordings in early 2015, compiling work from throughout his life, including unreleased material.