Friday, May 15, 2015

Some Music I Liked This Week

Mas Ysa

He had me at "Why", but on his first single from his forthcoming debut LP, Peraph (June 24), Mas Ysa had me at the saxophone and flute. Then you throw in an infectious rhythm and his desperate tone and you have something I'll be listening to all summer. And for those of you who are wondering, Margarita is his mom and yes, that's her in the track art.



This song came out over a month ago, but on the heals of their tour announcement, it was brought back to my attention. "City on the Hill" is the lead single from the first Desaparecidos record in 13 years, Payola (June 23). This particular song features Cursive's Tim Kasher and elsewhere on the album you'll hear Against Me!'s Laura Jane Grace and So So Glos.


Jackson C. Frank

Recently, I learned about this mostly forgotten and tragic figure in American folks music. Jackson C. Frank only released one album, but Ba Da Bing Records is reintroducing Frank to a wide audience by releasing a 6xLP completion of his recordings. Here's an edited version of Frank's bio taken from the record label's website:

A life plagued by tragedy with the most haunting music to show for it, Frank’s story can be heard through his music, which has been covered by the likes of Nick Drake, Simon & Garfunkel, Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Marianne Faithfull, Robin Pecknold, Colin Meloy, Laura Marling, and First Aid Kit. While never gaining the recognition he deserved, Jackson C. Frank clearly had his fans. 
In 1965, after an aborted attempt at college, Frank—accompanied by a Martin Guitar and his then-girlfriend Kathy Henry—traveled to England by boat, on which he apocryphally wrote what would be his first and most famous song, “Blues Run The Game.” Frank soon found himself making the rounds of the London folk clubs. Frank’s music caught the interest of another young American songwriter in London: Paul Simon, who in ’65 produced Frank’s debut album, Jackson C. Frank. 
After recording his album, however, Frank’s health took a turn for the worse. The ensuing years were unkind. He met his future wife Elaine Sedgwick, at a London party, and when his money began to run out he left London for Woodstock, where they married. The relationship was marked by a miscarriage and the death of their first-born son to cystic fibrosis, and Jackson’s subsequent mental unraveling. Frank was later diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic and battled excessive weight gain from a thyroid problem. Additionally, he went through bouts of intermittent homelessness between stays at various upstate shelters. One day, while he waited in a park to be moved to a new facility, he was shot and blinded in his left eye by neighborhood children with a BB gun. The only light from this period of his life came from Jim Abbott, who looked after the singer until Frank’s death in 1999.

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