11 Songs, 29 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

After the success of his ABC Records’ debut You Don’t Mess Around With Jim, Jim Croce found himself back in the studio sooner than later to capitalize on the momentum. And he didn’t disappoint. Five months after the debut, Life and Times with “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” and “One Less Set of Footsteps” cracked the Billboard charts and Croce’s reputation steadily grew. Croce’s appeal lies in his unpretentious everyman delivery with an intimate sincerity that makes his songs often feel like entries in a diary. “Dreamin’ Again” uses a gentle and sympathetic backing of supporting vocalists, electric piano, and acoustic guitar to create its dreamlike state. “Alabama Rain,” “These Dreams,” and “It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way” have a nostalgia beautifully captured with the easy stroll of either piano or acoustic guitar. Croce’s backing band wracks up jazzy country-western (“Roller Derby Queen”), upbeat jugband blues (“Careful Man”), and barrelhouse piano (“Bad Bad Leroy Brown”) with equal ease. Croce’s simplicity makes what he does sound easy, but then why is a talent like his so rare?

EDITORS’ NOTES

After the success of his ABC Records’ debut You Don’t Mess Around With Jim, Jim Croce found himself back in the studio sooner than later to capitalize on the momentum. And he didn’t disappoint. Five months after the debut, Life and Times with “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” and “One Less Set of Footsteps” cracked the Billboard charts and Croce’s reputation steadily grew. Croce’s appeal lies in his unpretentious everyman delivery with an intimate sincerity that makes his songs often feel like entries in a diary. “Dreamin’ Again” uses a gentle and sympathetic backing of supporting vocalists, electric piano, and acoustic guitar to create its dreamlike state. “Alabama Rain,” “These Dreams,” and “It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way” have a nostalgia beautifully captured with the easy stroll of either piano or acoustic guitar. Croce’s backing band wracks up jazzy country-western (“Roller Derby Queen”), upbeat jugband blues (“Careful Man”), and barrelhouse piano (“Bad Bad Leroy Brown”) with equal ease. Croce’s simplicity makes what he does sound easy, but then why is a talent like his so rare?

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Ratings and Reviews

4.5 out of 5
65 Ratings
65 Ratings
Ken Scar ,

My one desert island album.

If I could bring one album to a desert island that would be the only thing I could listen to for the rest of my life this would be my choice. (Unless they let me put my own playlist together on iTunes - but I digress.) I used to fall asleep to my parents playing this record in the other room (Do you kids know what a "record" is? It's like a big, black CD that you listened to by placing this weird mechanical arm it while it spun around . . . oh never mind). I can't possibly express how much I love these songs in the short space iTunes provides for us here, so I'll just say that this is a collection of the most wonderful, touching, funny, engrossing, perfect tunes ever gathered together in one collection. Everyone knows "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown". Forget that song. In fact, I can barely even listen to that song anymore it's so damn played out. Fortunately, the other songs on this greatest hits collection are not in such permanent, heavy rotation across the airwaves. They are still ear candy - warm and golden and sweet to listen to.

The lyrics are all so, so satisfying here whether it be the "lemon-scented rain" line from "Dreaming Again", or this gem from "Speedball Tucker": "One day I look into the rear view mirror/and comin' up from behind/was a Georgia State policeman/and a hundred dollar fine/ well he look me in the eyes while he was writing me up, he say: "Driver you been flyin'"/ "And 95 was the route you were on - it was not the speed limit sign".

I mean, damn, does it get any better than that? I think not.

Buy this whole collection, listen to it a few times, and soon you'll be buying all the Jim Croce songs you can get your hands on.

hillicker ,

GREAT MAN

this man has some of the best songs ive ever heard this guy is amazing, and i dont even like slow music i love thrash metal but damn this guy is wonderful buy this whole album. operator is one of the best its just really chill music like when you have a headache buy it gaurenteed you wont regret it. RIP 1943-1973. short life but a good one.

jrnsn ,

Life and Times

Love this man's music. Don't forget "Alabama Rain", "Dreamin' Again" for those melancholy days. Lovers Cross is also a great song, when you are feeling the pain of a relationship.

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