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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Jim Croce Collection. CD. Castle Communications. (1986)

This is one of my Desert Island records, a collection of songs I would be able to listen to repeatedly without growing tired of them. Jim Croce had the extraordinary gift of making simple look easy, the songs on this collection are straightforward musically and lyrically. There is no innovation in songwriting, singing or production, there is simply outstanding levels of craft and composition.
As a singer Jim Croce has a melodious, masculine voice that delivers the songs in a direct and confident fashion, they are addressed directly to the listener and involve them instantly in the mood and thoughts of the song. The songs are amazingly articulate, the lyrics are often amusing they are always carefully chosen and carefully crafted. The words are forcefully expressive, they capture a feeling with great exactness and tenderness. I have never wished that I had thought of expressing myself the way that he does in his songs, I do get captured by how accurately he expresses the feeling himself.
The music is a subordinate element, it is essential to the expression of the song, it lies underneath the words, amplifying and supporting them with flowing melodies and power when required. These songs are so straightforward that they would either soar or fail terribly as a jumble of cliches or pedestrian conceits. Jim Croce's talent was that he could cut straight to the heat of the matter using exactly the right word backed by the right music so we can see that true plain speaking is also subtle, wondrous poetry.

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