Sunday, May 27, 2012

40 Year Itch : Messin With Jim

A former truck driver, and a man who knew how to hammer nails into wood, Jim Croce was a common man with an uncommon ability to write instant classics. His ABC Records debut You Don't Mess Around With Jim, released in May of 1972,  sounds like a greatest hits album with the Top 10 title track, the masterful Top 20 hit "Operator", "Photographs And Memories" and "Time in A Bottle" which would hit #1 19 months later--its lyrics (There never seems to be enough time/ To do the things you want to do/ Once you find them) suffused with meaning following Croce's fatal plane crash in September of 1973.

Croce's death propelled this album past the million sales mark to the top of the album charts.

 "New York's Not My Home" tells about the period in the late 60's when Jim and wife Ingrid tried to make it as a duo.

Though all the streets are crowded
There's something strange about it
Lived there 'bout a year and I never once felt at home
I though I'd make the big time
I learned a lot of lessons awful quick

 Ingrid is still alive, maintaining a website in honor of her husband and running a San Diego eatery, Croce's Restaurant and Jazz Bar.

"My work has been to keep Jim's music and his memory out there," she told The San Diego Downtown News. "That's in appropriate places. I'm not interested in selling something I don't believe in. I don't want to see wine or perfume out there for "Time in a Bottle." I don't want something out there that's not quality."

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