TRACK: Jackson C. Frank – “Juliette” (1975 Version)
Jackson C. Frank has one of those tragic lives that blues songs are penned about. An accident as a child led Frank to pick up a guitar while in the hospital recovering and with the insurance money he received a decade later he decided to record a song. That song, “Blues Run The Game,” is perhaps his best known work partially due to the numerous covers from a variety of talented musicians including Nick Drake, Laura Marling, Simon & Garfunkel along with countless others. Paul Simon actually produced the track and Jackson C. Frank’s self-titled debut.
The track I want to share here isn’t from that eponymous album though. It’s from a Peel session recorded in 1975 and it’s called “Juliette.” The song was originally recorded in 1970 for a follow-up album that was never released. While that version is fantastic, I personally find this one to be a cut above. As Frank’s voice strains and rises near the end of the song, it weaves together with the expressive lyrics to create something moving. The imagery in Frank’s words speaks of a hostile, but natural world around the narrator and of first loves. It’s touching, heartbreaking and proof positive that music can be poetry.