Saturday, September 19, 2009

JIM CARROLL joins the People Who Died

The sad news on September 11th this year...the death of Jim Carroll (August 1, 1950 - September 11, 2009).

If you ever met Jim, his presence was as indelible as his poetry, prose and songs. I remember an hour, just Jim and I, and I was thinking that on looks alone, you had to know he'd been through a lot...the incredibly pale complexion, a look that suggested he'd just gotten out of a sick bed or from behind the gates of a cemetery.

As for his voice, it held a frail throb, as if he was getting over being maced. I suppose it's not that much of a surprise that he had a heart attack at 60, when odds probably had him dying a lot earlier.

Glossing over his poetry and prose for this music blog, let's note that when he signed to Atlantic, he was given great production, a great push, and on "People Who Died," a band and backing vocalists who threw a universe of frenzy around his lost-soul vocal. Like Patti Smith, an obvious influence, Jim tended to speak more than sing, but he did get a bit more melodic for his next two albums, each having haunted highlights, and quite often, a very intentional shot of mordant humor. Jim spent most of the past 15 years in the world of poetry readings, lectures and writing. While his musical output was sporadic, most anything he did was welcome and interesting, and that includes his limping cover version of Del Shannon's "Runaway."

His song "People Who Died" a vampire does, or the living dead. It grabs you on the first listen, chokes you, pounds at your heart, and when it's over, you take a deep breath because you're still alive. Wish Jim still was.

Your download features thirteen songs that aren't on Rhino's "Best of" album...

Three Sisters, Nothing Is True, Crow, Judy, Barricades, Evangeline, Rooms, Still Life, Sweet Jane, Hold Back the Dream, Freddy's Store, Black Romance, Runaway... "People Who Died." Well before there was such as thing as "rap," Jim Carroll was there, and there is no rapper who could cover this song, no rapper who could touch this song, and no rapper who has come up with anything better than this song.

Update November 2011: Rapidshare deletes files if they aren't uploaded often enough to suit them. "Runaway" has been re-upped individually via a better service:



Anonymous said...

I really like the colorization of the photo. Did you do it?


Ill Folks said...

Hi Cassie,

Yes, a Photoshop job. All the writing is original on the blog, and the Photoshop colorizations or collages.

You've got a great site...especially appreciated the discussion of fake Jim Carroll autographs, which seemed to turn up on eBay for several weeks after he died.

Also the tempting list of all the bootlegs. Too bad so many bloggers are stuck on relentlessly upping hundreds of the Grateful Dead and Neil Young and can't get their monotonous minds to kick over into another gear.

Rare live concerts from artists less well represented...would be a true gift of thoughtful sharing.