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Jackson C. Frank

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Jackson Carey Frank (Buffalo, New York, March 2, 1943 – Great Barrington, Massachusetts, March 3, 1999) was an American folk singer-songwriter and guitarist.

Although he released only one official album in his lifetime and never achieved much commercial success, he is reported to have influenced several better-known singer-songwriters such as Paul Simon and Nick Drake.

When Jackson Frank was 11, a furnace exploded at his school, sending a ball of flames down corridors until it ended up in Frank’s music classroom in the Cleveland Hill Elementary School in Cheektowaga, New York. The fire killed fifteen of his fellow students and burned Frank over more than half his body.[1] It was during his time in the hospital that he was first introduced to playing music, when a teacher, Charlie Castelli, brought in an acoustic guitar to keep Frank occupied during his recovery. When he was 21, he was awarded an insurance cheque of $110,500 for his injuries, giving him enough to “catch a boat to England.”

His eponymous 1965 album, Jackson C. Frank, was produced by Paul Simon while the two of them were also playing folk clubs in England. Frank was so shy during the recording that he asked to be shielded by screens so that Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, and Al Stewart (who also attended the recording) could not see him, claiming ‘I can’t play. You’re looking at me.

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