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I know there are a few fans of the 60's Folk/Blues scene here..
After hearing gj's passionate token, it got me thinking about Jackson C Frank, an American singer/player who was around the London folk venues around the same time as Paul Simon, who produced his album in London...(while Simon was a complete unknown!)
He made this one remarkable number "Blues Run the Game" which has had many covers by various folkies including Bert Jansch when I saw him in Aberdeen a few years back.
I first heard it by a guy called Allan Tall, an amazing guy who played guitar and alto sax around Glasgow back in the 60's. Allan was a funny guy and I used to build weird electronic effects things for free for him back then. He used to roam around Byres Road collecting bamboo carpet poles to make into flutes using a hot poker. ( I've still got a couple!)
He appeared down the pub one night and said he'd been playing Sitar for Allen Ginsberg, (American beat poet legend) up at the BBC and Ginsberg had given him fifty quid (which was a lot of money back then!)
We were a bit skeptical...
But it was true!
It was was broadcast nationwide the next night on the BBC Radio 3 Music Programme!
Hell yeah! I can’t really claim to be a particularly knowledgeable aficionado of the folk/blues genre, but I am a confirmed Jackson C. Frank maniac. As far as melancholic guitar-folk goes he’s at the top of the heap, for me.
I don’t know if you’ve heard much beyond his one-hit-wonder, but there’s a lot more where that came from. “Milk and Honey” is fantastic; “Kimbie”, “Dialogue”, “You Never Wanted Me”, all that stuff rips.
Well worth seeking out is a two-disc thing that has everything he recorded- his sole 1965 LP and some demos from the mid-70s (“Cryin’ Like A Baby is amaaazing) on the first disc, and some death-bed demos from the 90s on the second disc. The later stuff is stunning. His voice is completely shot, his guitar chops have totally disintegrated, his tonal palate has reduced to just a small handful of very repetitive, security-blanket melodies, a lot of the lyrics are half-formed and awkward; it’s all basically a mess. It’s also some of the most haunted/haunting, heartbreaking/heartbroken, moving, and flat out beautiful music I’ve ever heard (“Tumble in the Wind”, “Night of the Blues”, “Bull Men”, “Singing Sailors” “Goodbye to My Loving You”, “I don’t Want to Love You Any More”, etc). It’s actually a bit hard to listen to at times- the sort of thing that doesn’t feel “right” to listen to, given how personal it is and how reflective of his super-sad, very tragic life story it is. Totally raw (emotionally and technically; the sound is really rough, you can hear the TV going in the background, etc.), deeply affecting, and really special, I think. I’m listening to this stuff right now, for the first time in a long while, and it’s really hard to describe it without just piling up a lot of depressive superlatives. Anyone with even a passing interest in any sort of downer-folk should definitely hear this stuff. Makes Nick Drake sound like a positive-thinking party animal.
Hey that's interesting Adam....I never new he was even known in the States since his style is sort of halfway between British Folk/Blues and American Modern folk music. (as was early Paul Simon). After I heard Allan Tall perform it down the Glasgow Folk Centre, I went out and bought the LP. Blues Run The Game is still my favourite though....I don't know why...the lyrics, voice and guitar just grab me somehow.
When I spoke to Bert Jansch after a gig in Aberdeen I asked him if he knew what ever became of him, but he just sort of mumbled something and said he'd gone back to the States and he'd lost contact with him.
It was only when I looked him up on YouTube about a month ago I was shocked to read what a tragic life he'd had.
Koella, I don't know any folk performers with the same style as him....my interest was mainly with the "fancy" guitarists such as Jansch, Renbourn, Graham, etc, rather than folk songs as such.
I'm still in disbelelief over this. It's gut wrenching to to see a topic of his come up like it were posted yesterday. It's bound to happen many times.. Rons presence will continue for a long time. Perhaps people will even reply to him directly, forgetting he's not present.
I'm sorry I was away when the shock hit the foro. I will be thinking of Ron when I play my siguiriyas tomorrow, hoping to instill some of the 'gravitas' he talked about, and which he had in his own playing.