As of this morning, I was not familiar with the name Jackson C. Frank. It took an email from Etienne Grosbois (Burning Rooster Production Company) to clue me into the talented Buffalo musician, who is no longer with us.
When I heard that the folk musician had recorded an album that had been produced by a young Paul Simon (1965), I couldn’t wait to listen to some of his tunes. Fortunately, his sole album, Blues Run The Game, is on Spotify, so within minutes of reading the email, I was listening to some sensational songs composed and played by a Buffalo musician that has drifted into relative obscurity.
Now, a documentary film is in production that will tell the mournful tale of Jackson C. Frank, who was forever scarred, emotionally and physically, by a fire at Cleveland Hill School when he was very young. It was after the release of his first album that his friends noticed that the musician had begun to drift away. Until now, the rest of his life’s story has been clouded, which is why it’s so important to get the story straight.
A traumatic childhood event – on a snowy day in Buffalo – haunted him all his life.
“We came two times to Buffalo to meet people who knew him, we went to the Cleveland Hill School,” said Grosbois. “And we travelled all the country, and also in England and Scotland, to tell his story. Later on [in life], he became a great musician. He is now in the Buffalo Music Hall Of Fame. We are working with his biographer Jim Abbott [who rescued the musician from the NYC street in the 90s]. We think this story has to be told.”
Jackson C. Frank deserves the compassion, understanding, and recognition he lacked throughout his life.
Now, in order to see this film project to fruition, the production crew has launched a crowdfunding campaign, which, they hope, will help to memorialize this wonderful, yet tragic, figure.
“During the past four years we looked for investors, but we were met with reluctance. Nobody wanted to support the project – Jackson C. Frank wasn’t famous enough and his life was too tragic. However, as a filmmaker and music lover, I felt that I had to shed light on the life of this talented man with such a tragic destiny. Driven by passion, I gathered a team of talented people. With my own money, we traveled the USA and UK several times to investigate and meet Jackson’s friends. We have wonderful images and very emotionally-charged interviews – the rushes are simply exceptional. We managed to obtain unique files that —until now—have been unreleased to the public. We are not just making another biography. Almost nothing remains of Jackson C. Frank, and yet, you will discover a unique and uncompromising personality, broken by tragedies. There is no final redemption here, but you will find beauty at every time. Listen to his music, and you will understand.” – Damien Aimé, from the Kickstarter campaign
Lead image: Jackson C. Frank in Woodstock, NY – Kickstarter
Photos: Kickstarter campaign | Lead image – Jackson C. Frank in Woodstock, NY