Jackson c. frank


Ba Da Bing Records is thrilled to announce the upcoming release of Jackson C. Frank: The Complete Recordings

The first official release of Frank’s recordings since the long out-of-print double CD that came out on Sanctuary Records in 2003, these three double LPs, Volumes 1-3, (it will also be a 3xCD set) present, for the first time, the entire discography of the folk singer, regarded by many as among the best forgotten songwriters of the 1960s. All of his songs have been remastered, many from fragile reel-to-reel tapes, by Dave Cooley of Elysian Masters. The set includes 19 previously unreleased from the 1960s and 1970s, pressed from newly discovered master recordings. In conjunction with The Complete Recordings, Ba Da Bing is publishing Jackson C. Frank: The Clear, Hard Light of Genius, a biography chronicling Frank’s life, as told by Jim Abbott, who befriended and looked after the musician in his final years. 

At the age of eleven, living in a Buffalo suburb, Frank survived the infamous Cleveland Hill School Fire, which left him burned and disabled. He spent eight agonizing months rehabilitating in the hospital, where he picked up a guitar for the first time. Though he would never fully recover, neither physically nor psychologically, a silver lining from this early tragedy is the musical brilliance that would emerge. 

Upon dropping out of Gettysburg College, Frank moved to England in 1965. Although he came to London intending to purchase luxury cars using insurance money he had collected from the fire, Jackson soon found himself at folk clubs. He had a residency at the Les Cousins, where he befriended many folk legends including Bert JanschRoy HarperJohn RenbournDave Van RonkTom PaxtonMike Seeger and Sandy Denny (who became Jackson’s girlfriend and later wrote the somber song “Next Time Around” about him). It was on the boat to England where Frank apocryphally wrote his first and most famous song, “Blues Run The Game,” which has been covered by Nick DrakeSimon & GarfunkelSandy DennyCounting CrowsColin Meloy and even John Mayer.

In England, Jackson’s music piqued the interest of another young American songwriter living in London, Paul Simon, who was so taken by Frank’s music that he went on to record and produce his debut album, Jackson C. Frank. Simon brought Al Stewart along to play guitar, while Sandy DennyJudith Piepe and Art Garfunkel were present during the recordings. The album was well received, especially in the UK.

Unfortunately, Jackson’s health took a turn for the worse. He met his future wife Elaine Sedgwick, cousin of Edie Sedgwick, at a London party and when his money began to run out he left London for Woodstock, New York, where they married. The couple suffered through a miscarriage, the death of their first-born son to cystic fibrosis and Jackson’s subsequent mental unraveling, as paranoid schizophrenia took over his mind.  He also battled excessive weight gain from a thyroid problem developed after the fire, and suffered intermittent homelessness between stints at various shelters. Near the end of his life, shot and blinded in an eye by neighborhood children. 

Thankfully, one friendship helped soften the blow: a caring fan named Jim Abbott. Jim looked after Jackson C. Frank until his death in 1999. Jackson C. Frank: The Clear, Hard Light of Genius is a memoir of that period, as well as a well-researched investigation into Jackson’s past.

The Blues truly did run the game for Jackson C. Frank, and his songs are a deep, dark portal into his many tragic experiences.


The Complete Recordings includes:

• 19 never released songs from 1961, Peel Sessions from 1968, and recordings from 1970 and 1972.

• The original Blues Run The Game, completely remastered for this release.

• All the songs from the out of print double CD reissue from 2001, all carefully remastered.

• Updated liner notes by Colin Harper.

• Never before seen photos and documents from Jackson’s life.

• A limited edition version of this release offers the LPs, CDs and book, all housed in a branded wooden box.


Purchase The Complete Recordings of Jackson C. Frank Volumes 12 and 3

via Grapefruit Record Club!

Buy The Clear, Hard Light of Genius via Grapefruit Records.