I have a secret vice. I like listening to Jim Croce. He could have been bigger than James Taylor, if it wasn’t for that fatal 1973 plane crash. I call it a vice, I guess Croce was never hardcore, he was never edgy, he flirted with easy listening, but that just makes him nice, and nice is not so bad, is it really? Jim is the guy who wants to put time in a bottle so he can spend it with the woman he loved, the guy who makes calls to operators and lets them keep the dime. He doesn’t even seem so angry with his ‘best old ex friend Ray’ whom his girlfriend ran off with.
It seems somehow wrong of me to be listening to the halcyon days of the 70s, when life was still good, when it felt like the human race had somewhere good to go, before a biological weapon got loose and dismantled life as we knew it, and killed so many.
Before …before… before when Jim Croce could sing that New York was not his Home, and that wasn’t because he married a Jewish woman and converted to Judaism and no longer felt safe in New York, but because it is crowded and busy and the city can make a person feel alone to the very bone – good old fashioned traditional reasons to need to get out of NYC. I’d rather hear a song about how no matter how many people bump into you and invade your personal space you feel isolated, and how the big time doesn’t throw itself into your lap just because you haul a guitar round Greenwich Village. Listening to Croce is a pure shot of sweetly distilled hope and nostalgia, innocence and talent. The guy could play, and sing so sweetly.
I wish Jim could have put time in a bottle too, I could do with a swig of innocence, hope, nostalgia and sweetness right now. The rest of this Jim Croce Live in Concert is well worth listening to if you are in the mood for simple uplifting guy with a guitar music. He comes on like the sweeter, sober-er, kinder Townes Van Zandt, and not nearly as depressing as my beloved Leonard Cohen.