The opening track on Jackson C. Frank’s Paul Simon-produced debut album is the kind of tune all singer/songwriters wish they had written. Once covered by Simon himself (with Garfunkel!), Bert Jansch, and Nick Drake, “Blues Run the Game” is one of the greatest folk/blues songs of all time and, undoubtedly, the high-water mark on Frank’s legacy.
I don’t foresee it ever happening, but if anyone decides to make a biopic about this man, they’d have plenty of material. Frank’s life was fraught with tragedy, from being severely burned in an accident that left over a dozen of his classmates dead at the age of 11 to being blinded by random gunfire in New York later in his life, the guy was relentlessly stalked by the blues. An intensely shy performer, Frank fought depression, schizophrenia, and career woes until his early death at 56. Sadly, the refrain of a song he wrote at only 22 could be a theme for Frank’s entire life: “Wherever I have played / The blues have run the game.”
We’ve praised Laura Marling, as well as her new record, plenty enough around here, so let’s leave the focus of this post on the great Jackson C. Frank this time. Meanwhile, watch Marling sing her brilliant rendition of “Blues Run the Game,” live from Brooklyn, below: