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Jackson C. Frank

1943 - 1999

Sadly, Jackson died on March 3rd 1999.
If anyone has memories of meeting him
please send them to me and I will post them here.
If you want to add or remove material here then please
email me.
geoff@hut-six.co.uk


I was born two months before the Cleveland Hill fire. We lived in the Kensington Village apartments in Cheektowaga. One of the neighbors in our building was a boy named Jackie Frank. Although I was not yet three years old when we left Cheektowaga for Tonawanda, I still remember Jackie, and his spread, stiff-legged gait, "because of the fire." I must have heard a lot of talk about that horrible tragedy, because it still seems deeply rooted in my psyche. After the move, our mothers stayed in touch for a few years, and then we lost contact. I never heard another word about him until your review, which led me to do some internet research on the fire and Jackson C. Frank. There were tears. A bit of related trivia: Kirk Douglas came to our building to visit Jackie after he was home from the hospital. I was just a baby, but my older sister met him, and (legend has it) sat in his lap.

Bob Enger
April 5 2011
 

As for a CD, there isn't much left to release that is worth anything. A few old scratchy records of imitation Elvis, some lousy home recordings from 1965 recorded by Judith Piepe, a college radio track and one real treasure--a song written for Art Garfunkel, [ Juliette ] that Jackson made a demo of but that never got recorded by AG. That one might be the best song Jackson ever wrote, and I am keeping that one for myself.

Jim Abbott
June 16 2009
 

ONE EVENING IN THE EVENTFUL month of June '67, I went to hear Sandy Denny at Les Cousins in Soho. I still wasn't convinced: she insisted on performing songs by her American ex-boyfriend Jackson C. Frank and other undistinguished singer-songwriters.

Joe Boyd
 

In the early 1970s, I was living in Woodstock, NY. I had a had rented a house, and Jackson lived in the house with me and another person. Before I rented the house, I shared a room with Jackson in Joan's boarding house also on Tinker Street. We used to stay up all right listening to music and write, it was a great time. When I rented the house, Jackson rented a room in the hosue. But soon he ran out of money, and then slept in the living room. Finally, I told him to leave. Soon, I remember this like it was yesterday, I saw him on the street during a snowstorm, his beard covered in snow and ice, he was standing up against a building trying to protect himself from the cold wind. It was so sad. I of course allowed him to return to the house and live there for free for the rest of the winter. Then I moved from Woodstock to New York City and never saw him again. But I have often wondered what happened to Jackson. Jackson was a tormented man, as, at the time, I was. I had come back from Vietnam disabled, and was bitter. Jackson and I had something in common, we had both survived a horror, but the legacy continued to give us great pain. He was a good man and I am sad to hear he is gone.

Tom Nusbaumer
 

Am playing this Jackson tape and thought I'd send you my bit of reminiscence. I was introduced to Jackson in 65 while i was at school. My friend Robert Ede had the album and I was knocked out by it. This was when I was sixteen and considered myself pretty weird and cool. I was also getting into Bert Jansch, John Renbourn but had not yet discovered Roy Harper and co. I immediately bought the album and still have it - a bit nackered. When i went off to Barking college in 68 to spend three years having a great time in London catching hundreds of gigs and rarely eating I met up with Pete Smith. We sampled everything on offer from Harper to Strawbs to Hendrix and Floyd. On the way we saw Jackson play at the room above the Angel pub in the High Street in Ilford. I believe it was in 69. There were about fifty people there and we sat at a table at the front and clapped loudly after each song. Afterwards we stayed and had a long talk with Jackson. He was looking a bit unkempt and rough but sang and played beautifully. I don't remember him doing anything other than stuff off the album. He was an incredibly warm and friendly guy and was easy to talk to. He was extremely shy and appreciative of our encouragement which was strange for someone who was so extraordinarily good. He was with a tall thin guy with long dark hair and a big hat. He was due to play a guest appearance at Roy Harper's big gig at St Pancreas a couple of weeks later. I'd already talked to Roy about this and I mentioned it to Jackson. He was really keen and looking forward to it. I looked out for him at the Harper gig but he never showed up. I saw his friend there and he told me Jackson was ill. I never saw him again. Occasionally I noticed his name was used in the NME sample print adverts but he never gigged again. He disappeared forever. A lovely guy. Great songs. A great loss. There should have been another 30 albums and a million gigs.

Opher Goodwin
 

I found your website this evening following a conversation with friends about music experiences from the 60's. The most significant experiences for me happened around Les Cousins in 1966 and it was there that I first heard Jackson.C.Frank. I heard saw him perform many times over the next few years. Sometime in early 1969, Jackson did an evening gig at some south London college and I met him in the foyer afterwards waiting for a taxi. He was singing at Les Cousins later the same night so I was able to give him a lift and spend some time talking with him at the club. He was a lovely man, open and friendly and a songwriter and singer of great talent. I am privileged to have heard him sing and to have spent a little time with him. Thank you for your website.

David (Nottingham)
 

I used to be a regular visitor to Les Cousins. I remember coming up by train from Southend on sea on Saturday evening and being torn whether to see an all star Folk Concert at The Royal Festival Hall or going to Les Cousins to see Carthy and Swarbrick. Fortunately I went to The Festival Hall, mainly to see Joni Mitchell. It was basically a platform as I remember to help promote Al Stewart after releasing Love Chronicles. I think there were others including The Johnsons? Not sure. The concert was turned on its head by the appearance of Jackson. I'd never heard of the guy up 'til then but from that fateful night onwards on he made a huge impact on my music. He was 'awesome'. The guy was absolutely stunning. His songs were utterally brilliant, yet to me at that time I knew nothing about him. After the concert I walked up to Cousins hoping to catch the end of The Carthy and Swarbrick set and to my amazent who was there at the bottom of the steps but the great man himself. On passing him I congratulated him on his remarkable performance. He was genuinely humbled at such comments. Hell, he deserved them to say the least. Following morning I remember picking up my dads Daily Telegraph to read a rave revue of Jackson's appearance the previous evening. A compliment indeed from that paper at the time. Yeah, I've still got my original Colombia vinyl release of his first album and no. it's not for sale. It's still gets played and is treasured. Jack may no longer be around but his musical influences live on.

Chris Jones
 

I was in London/Richmond/Soho during 65/66. One evening I was performing playing blues at Les Cousins. Al Stewart was also playing that night - and after my set I was approached by the legendary Judith Piepe approached me and asked me to move in with her, Paul Simon, Al Stewart - and Jackson C Frank. For reasons that now escape me I said 'No' - I must have been mad. This was before the album but after Bert and John had started singing 'Blues Run the Game'. I used to hang around Potters Music Shop at the bottom of Richmond Hill where Jackson used to trade guitars. One of my friends bought one of his Martins. I remember a particular night at Maria Grey College in St Margarets. The star performer was Tom Paxton and I found myself standing next to Jackson in a very crowded room. I was struck by the severity of his scars - and suddenly he turned to me and said that he just had to get out - NOW. It seemed to me at the time that he was claustrophobic - at the time I put it down to the effect of the fire. This was a golden time .... Jackson , Paul Simon, Bert, John, Beverley ( who went on to marry John Martyn), Spider John Koerner, Elyse Weinberg ................ and on the other side of the electric divide Eric Clapton.

David Freeman
 

I met Jackson C. Frank in London in the winter and spring of 65/66. He appeared several times in a small folk-club that I went to regularly = (almost lived there in fact) called "Les Cousins" in Greek Street in = Soho. Many people used to play there - Bert and John of course, and another = interesting American called Sandy Bull - and also Jackson C. Frank. The small smoke-filled basement-club was stuffed with people and = although people were chatting a lot they became silent the moment = Jackson came on. We could all feel his power and intensity when he played. Of course his "Catch a boat to England baby..." was very popular but = also "Just like anything - to sing - is a state of mind" was a great hit = with all of us. I loved him alot. We all knew he was having some = troubles at home also and were sad when he had to go back. I still have his first LP - great songs still.

Joergen Larsen
 

Can't remember what year it was. Probably 1967. I'd come down to London fresh from the folk clubs of the North and was busking one Saturday with a friend in the tunnel to Tottenham Court Road tube station. After the theatre crowds had gone we're playing on raw bone and singing through sandpaper so we decide to pack it in. I want to see if we can play at a club which was a bit of a legend called Les Cousins and I really wanted to meet Bert Jansch who was a big hero, so we set off on the short walk to Greek Street. Short way, maybe, but there were a lot of drinking dens to pass and we had busking money in our pockets and a big thirst. So it was a couple of sorry characters who crashed into Les Cousins much later, waving a pre-war five string and a battered old Harmony Sovereign. I can't really remember if we got to play (hope not!) and we didn't meet Bert but what we did see was this amazing guy with rat-tail hair singing "I see your face in every place that I've been going. I read your words like black hungry birds read every sowing." For days afterwards I was haunted by the songs and the voice. It was like I'd been part of a strange dream, then my buddy rushes into the sleazy Notting Hill basement we shared for the next three years and he's waving a Jackson C Frank album. We learnt the songs and played them all the time. Then life took over and it wasn't until over thirty years later that I turned on the radio and heard Bert singing Carnival and, suddenly, it all came rushing back....

Peter Thompson
 

Feb 2003: Look for a new reissue of the album this summer on Castle with many more extra songs and some recent demos, rough but interesting.

Jim
 

I once wrote a song for Jackson, just before he left one time. I thought he was going for good, and I was quite sad because we were very close. He did come back after that but I was touring the world by then.. The reason I'm writing is that I'm looking for a decent pic of him. Something that has a good focus. I'm putting my book together and I would very much like to include Jackson.

Roy Harper
 

29.01.03: I and about 10,000 others were introduced to Jackson last night at a brilliant concert in Cardiff, Wales, by the Counting Crows. I wish I had got the name of the song (about living in cheap hotels etc) but it was superb (just vocal and guitar), and the Counting Crows gave us a little potted Jackson Frank history too! So, I've got to find his album and add it to my collection. You might want to add the Counting Crows to your covers list now, sorry I just don't know the song title.

Jeff P
Wales
 

Some years ago I saw another musician from my old folk club days, one Mr Renbourn. He was playing in Salisbury. The audience was poor, the sound system f****d . John was, if he can be, at his wits end. He saved the day. There was a guy, he said, from some years back, dont know where he is now, but he sang a song.
And he played The Blues Run The Game. Magic.
Ta Mr Frank.

Nick McIver
 

Just found your JCF page by accident - great tribute! I used to watch him at Cousins in the 60s, and remember once that Bert Jansch (for some reason) borrowed his guitar, and had trouble playing it, complaining that it was strung too tight!

Brian
 

Jackson was an extraordinary guy. He only produced one album, but it had such an effect on singer-songwriters, the way they actually wrote songs. The whole album is actually beautiful. Really fine, fine songs.

Bert Jansch
 

Great to find your Jackson C. Frank site and very glad that someone has done one at last!  I'm way too young to have any memories of Jackson, but a few years a go I put on a series of gigs here in Cardiff (S.Wales) under the name 'Folk Heroes' and after Bert Jansch played he was talking a lot about him when we asked.  He rates him in a very big way. 

Chris Fowler
 

I heard and met J. Frank on a number of occasions in "Les Cousins" club in Greek Street - the general meeting place for singer-songwriters around 1966. I had a residency there at one time with John Martyn. My impression was of this rather fiercely proud character, with the build of an American footballer, who could be quite fierce and acidic when in conversation (and drinking), yet singing these poignant, vulnerable songs with an almost choirboy clarity....."Blues Run the Game" is the one song everyone knew and played. I think it felt like a link between the Hemingway/Kerouac beats from America and the emerging UK identity of singersongwriters. If Jackson represented the American pole at that moment, Bert Jansch represented the UK pole.

Paul
 

I saw Jackson many times at the Cousins all those years ago (often with my late wife Barbara van Loren/Warner who knew Jackson) when I was a young idiot feeling my own way into music... I have never forgotten the power and the delicacy of his performances... to me he was one of the true greats... ironically I sang Blues Run The Game for years (and still do!) and remember the many occasions when people would ask me - 'Who wrote that song!'

rod warner
 

I used to see Jackson all the time at Les Cousins - thanks for doing that page on him. He was a beautiful human being, sad, but kind. And an extraordinary musician and singer.

Peter Feltham
 

        In 1969 I hit the proverbial "road" and decided to spend the winter discovering "America", "Canada" and "myself" (how cliche), however, one early morning in October,  I loaded up my Austin Mini, and headed out with the basic route planned to include visits to old Coffee House friends(Bell, Book and Candle)  I knew were living along the way. My first stop was at Hamiliton College in N.Y. state with Norm Boggs and he mentioned that Jackson was down in Woodstock N.Y. where he was working in a Leather Shop.  When  I pulled into town,  I had no idea where to find him, however (as it was back then) a few inquiries on the busy street started the ball rolling. About an hour later, after sitting in my car on the main street, there was a tap at my window and Jackson was standing there ready to chat.         For the next three days we hung out together, staying at various  places...(he had at that time just broken up with his wife and was sort of on his own).         My visit with him ended after a halloween party somewhere in the hills south of Woodstock in an absolutely amazing house... his wife was living there and they seemed to be getting back together as  I left.  I did take a few photos of his daughter (about a year old?) in this house, and seem to remember maybe a shot of the three of them (my photo files were destroyed in a flood about 13 years ago...along with my journal that  I kept of the trip....).

Gordon
 

I used to go to a folk club in Greek St, London Called 'Les Cousins' where people like Paul Simon used to pop in and sing (without Garfunkel), Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton. It was there'Jackson C Frank' performed. I remember he hobbled up to the stage (He had a dodgy foot) and blew everybody away. I remember saving up for 2 weeks and buying his album. God knows where that is now. Got married got older had kids etc. forgot all about JCF, then remembered recently, looked him up on the web, and behold there are others out there like me, must try to remember some other artist at les cousins...............

Hugo
 

I just found your site as, on a whim, I searched for JCF's name late one night. So sad to learn he died last year. I often wondered what happened to him, since I hadn't seen any more albums or heard anything. Over the years I've sung his songs to myself many times--used to know almost the whole album and had figured out some easy chords for "Milk & Honey". He knew stuff, that man! I'm sitting here looking at my copy of his album and just noticed he autographed it to me!

Claire
 

Just stumbled across your site. I didnt know that he had died! But I do have very fond memories of him in the old 'Cousins days. Think I also saw him (looking pretty unwell) but sounding beautiful at a club in Ilford about 1970?. Over the last 30 years or so Carnival, Just Like Anything or  Blues Run the Game still pop out of my guitar entirely of their own volition from time to time. Just when I'm doodling, no concious effort at recall.  

Pete Smith
 

I lived in Nottingham, England in the 60s, and bought a copy of Jacksons album. It did the rounds of all my friends and we loved it. People like Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton had been to the local folk club, and for a while, folk music was what all the hippest cats in town were into. We were all around 16 or 17 years old Then somehow, in 66 we found out Jackson was playing at a folk club in London, so four of us piled into a friends rattling Morris 1000 and drove down to his gig. It may have been at Les Cousins, but I cant remember. It was a great night and Jackson made a big impression on us all.
We went back to Nottingham, inspired and high on our adventure. Then my friend Pete Hollingsworth left my Jackson album in a phone box. We waited for another one- nothing was ever released. We waited for more gigs, but heard nothing. Then the album was released on CD a few years ago and Jacksons songs came back into my life, just as fine and fresh as ever they were.

Anth Ginn
 

I knew Jackson way back in the Les Cousins days where I would perform from time to time along with the likes of Jansch, Renbourn, Alex Campbell, Ann Briggs and Derroll Adams. Derrol has only recently died and was cremated in Antwerp where his friends filled his coffin with marijuana so you could only make out his face and moustache!   One would often see Donovan or Paul Simon in the front row at Les Cousins soaking up the guitar techniques especially of J.C.F. He was Martin mad and had about six 28's which we would all loan from him because most of us were pretty penniless at the time. I think Paul Simon owes a hell of a lot to J.C.F.'s picking style. I was one of a few who had "The Blues Run The Game" in their reportoire. I did the folk circuit for many years and did the second and third Cambridge Festivals headlining where I also sang the song. In those days we all knew each other really well and would stay in each other's homes which were usually rather dingy crash pads.  We didn't care about material things. The last time I saw him many years ago was when he was with his mother who was on a visit to London. Besides guitars he liked cars as well. He was driving an Aston Martin with the hood down and he had three Martins stuffed behind the seats. That was in Old Compton Street, Soho, just around the corner from Les Cousins. He pulled up for a chat with me and my friend Gary Farr Les Cousins was the H.Q. for all the best folk musicians in those days; Sandy Denny, The Young Tradition, Ralph McTell and of course J.C.F. I particularly remember Dominic Beehan who always seemed to be pissed. I could tell you dozens of hilarious stories about that era. Even Bob Dylan went down there. They were great days and produced some of the greatest music of modern times. I've released a full band version of "Blues Run The Game" which is on a C.D. entitled "Voodoo Blues" on Blue Tit Records. I'm very sad to hear of J.C.F's death but he'll always be with us as long as we sing his songs.

Meic Stevens 06.04.00   
 

"If I had a penny I'd throw it in the sea,
to see if it would float away
or grow a penny tree"

Sitting at the computer on a sunny (too) hot afternoon in Israel and you tap in the name of one of you favorite singers and zap!!! the hair (the little you have) on your head stands up and your eyes sting just a little -after all it was a long time ago- Jackson c frank is no more........ I was lucky enough to see and meet Jackson in 1966 in Richmond, England, and as a direct result I may be the only person in this part of the world who has a copy of his original album. In the 60's there were a lot of 'folk singers' in the style of Bert Jansh, Tom Paxton and Julie Felix who sang in great style, songs of war and peace, love and hate, but not many sang in a voice that could cover your body in goose bumps and make you feel as if it was 'your' song he was singing. In the 33 years since I saw him, a lot has happened in my life, and more than once, in times of sorrow or despair I have put on the album, poured a drink and known that I'm not the only one who has cried alone in the night. Jackson said:
"if they (my songs) communicate to you any measure of something valued,or remembered, or recognized in the streets you have just walked, then they are a success within very limited qualifications: that is, you and I have met before..."
I think I'll pour a drink and raise a toast to someone who didn't know my name, but was, for all that a 'friend'

jonah
Israel


I was sad to hear of Jacks's death this year. I have often wondered what he was doing and would certainly love to get a copy of his album. I have been a fan and a fellow performer for over thirty years. I first met him in 1961 in Buffalo. It was hoot night at the Limelight, a legendary place in Buffalo's hip Allentown district, owned by Jerry Raven, and Jack asked if he could sit in. Shortly after that he was playing the club as a paid performer, and later formed a folk group with three other people who were regulars there. I remember a number of performers from that time and place as well: Eric Andersen, Doug Brown, Paul Siebel, Lisa Kindred, Dave Wiffen, John Kay, Gene Michaels, Hackett and Raven, Bob Kilheffer, my brother Terence and others. It was a magic time for me.

Over the next two years, Jack was as an active player in the burgeoning folk scene in Buffalo, and in nearby Canada, where a lot of us also played at a club called the Bell, Book, and Candle run by a wonderful woman named Ruth Swayze.

In 1964, I left for New York to seek my fortune and became a record producer. Jack went to England, where he ran across Paul Simon and other members of the British folk scene at the time. He told me all about it when I ran across him later in Woodstock, where he lived for a while. With a glint in his eye, he explained how you could make back your airfare to London by bringing a Martin D-28 with you and selling it there for a large profit.

The overwhelming impression of him that stays with me was that he was a performer of unparalleled commitment to whatever he was singing. You could tell that he felt every word and every note. I will miss him.

John Boylan
Los Angeles, California


I just found out that Jackson has died so sorry I hadn't known how he lived sence i last worked with him. It was only through an attempt to reconstruct my own past and thus making some inquires about Jacksons whereabouts that I discovered he had just died. Do you know where his wife is ? Jackson and I ran what were called Woodstock Sound Festivals back in 1967 & 68 . The, " if you can remember you weren't there" thing kind of applies to me. But at any rate Jackson also played there and was also responsible for our presenting Cream for their first US appearance which was a disaster.

Julius
...I heard him sing at Les Cousins folkclub in London (in the sixties), and bought his album ... and still have it! I vaguely looked in a record collector's catalogue recently and saw how much it was worth, and thought I'd try and find out why. I just bumped into the report of his death, too. Sad. It's odd, watching yourself age by seeing the people you've encountered die. Sandy Denny, too. I'd once asked her to sing "Blues Run the Game" when she sang at the opening of a (short-lived) folk club in Woolwich (in London) ... without knowing that there was any connection between the two of them

Peter Yearsley

I just thought you might like to know that the college professor referred to in the following passages,
'Then a couple of years ago Abbott was talking to a teacher at a local college he was attending. They had a mutual interest in folk music, and out of the blue, Abbott says, he asked the teacher whether he'd heard of Jackson C Frank. "I hadn't even thought about it for a couple of years," Abbott admits, "and he goes, 'Well yes, as a matter of fact I just got a letter from him. Do you feel like helping a down-on-his-luck folk singer?" ' Jackson had known the teacher in school and, in an attempt to leave New York City, had written to ask if there was a place he could stay in Woodstock.
is my father, Mark Anderson! Did you know that, sadly, Jackson passed away of Pneumonia on March third? Thought you might like to metion it in your page. Thanks for the web page!

- David Anderson

I used to see him, Harper, Al Stewart et al at Les Cousins (back in the days of 'fat tony' and 'old meg') Greek St. Recently went back to where Les Cousins used to be - its now a food storage/basement to a restaurant , but the owner let us in to look around.
I remember him as a really nice, if slightly shy, friendly guy, as were Harper, Stewart, Jansch, and, of course Alexis Korner. These guys would talk, smoke with you and show you how they played certain bits of their songs.
Good times...


nick 'rolo' rowland

... Jackson always told me that Bert was angry at him for the guitar riff in Carnival because Bert couldn't figure out how it was played. He showed me. and it is actually very simple once you realize that the chord he is playing is an unusual one. I can't wait to hear how he did with it!

Jim Abbott

Jackson is gratified that people enjoy his music and he's always amazed that people really enjoy his songwriting. I don't think he has a clue as to how much of an influence he was on the English folk scene back in the '60s.
What a nice tribute to Jackson! I'm sure he'll be very pleased about your web page. I will contact him through a friend and make sure he hears about it!
Best!

TJ McGrath

...I used to watch him perform at the Folk Barge in Kingston, Surrey. It was a low-cost arrangement based on twice weekly performances in an old Dutch sailing barge moored on the Thames. There were resident musicians and some guests. Jackson was fairly regular as a guest for a while, although the confined atmosphere below deck did not suit him due to the extensive burns he had suffered, and he usually had to break off after a few songs to go up into the night air. He never said much to the audience, perhaps he was nervous, but I remember that he found it harder to decide on the titles of his songs than to write them. I recall strongly his performances of "The Coal Tattoo", which was really a country tune from Billy Ed Wheeler, but Jackson's delivery with a pounding twelvestring gave the song a different drama and life. I wish he had recorded that!!


David Mercer

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