Damien Dupont, a producer and director, who regularly listens to Folk Radio UK got in touch with me a little while ago to tell me about the making of a film about Jackson C. Frank’s life (co-directed and co-produced with Thomas Van Hoecke). I wanted to hold off sharing this news until he had his crowdfunding campaign up and running to give it as great a chance as possible at getting funding. The good news is that the campaign has just launched.
The documentary follows Jackson C. Frank’s footsteps to unknot the threads of his tragic destiny. It includes interviews with the likes of Wizz Jones and the late John Renbourn who you can see in the video teaser below:
Head to the crowdfunding campaign here to give it your support: www.indiegogo.com/projects/jackson-c-frank-blues-run-the-game#/
Anyone that knows the story of the cult American folk troubadour Jackson C. Frank will know it was one filled with immense struggle and unbelievable tragedy from a young age when he was terribly scarred in a school fire, an event that would go on to haunt him for the rest of his life. It was the release of his eponymous album, one of the greatest albums of all time in my opinion, for which he is best remembered. Although the album has since been celebrated and reissued it never brought him the fame he so deserved during his lifetime. It was whilst in England in the mid-60s that it was released, produced by Paul Simon who was also living in England at the time, pursuing a solo career and performing at the folk clubs such as Les Cousins. Although Frank did journey back to the US he returned again to England in ’68. An article appearing in fRoots in ’95 by Andrew Means attempted to unravel what happened around this time. A quote from Al Stewart revealed:
“He [Frank] proceeded to fall apart before our very eyes. His style that everyone loved was melancholy, very tuneful things. He started doing things that were completely impenetrable. They were basically about psychological angst, played at full volume with lots of thrashing. I don’t remember a single word of them, it just did not work. There was one review that said he belonged on a psychologist’s couch. Then shortly after that, he hightailed it back to Woodstock again, because he wasn’t getting any work.”
From the 1980s onwards things really seemed to fall apart – depression, psychiatric institutions and homelessness. Not the sort of story you expect to read when, with the beauty of hindsight, you have the bigger picture of the man’s influence today.
Whilst this film may unravel some knots I also hope it inspires many more in the same way that his musical legacy has done so.
Please show your support: