Album Review: “Life and Times” By Jim Croce

Album Review: “Life and Times” By Jim Croce | I Love Classic Rock Videos

Jim Croce at an Ireland concert, 1973 - Dexmusic / Youtube

Folk rocker Jim Croce was an authentic tale of rags to riches. But unlike most artists which had an innate passion for music since their early years, Croce didn’t consider it until he went to uni. Playing for frat parties, coffee houses, and many more, Croce and his band was a crowd favorite because of their flexibility when it came to genres. Since then, Croce has been writing his own music but to no avail, with his first two albums flopping. He had to supplement this with day jobs to fuel his creative finances, until he succeeded with the album You Don’t Mess Around With Jim. His follow-up, Life and Times also saw success, garnering the only number 1 single Croce had when he was alive.

Even though he was at the peak of his career during this time, Croce considered retiring to spend more time with his family. This was fulfilled rather tragically, as he and five others were killed in a plane crash on September 20, 1973.

Life and Times, which was released in 1973, continues to be one of Jim Croce’s most longstanding records. Opening the album is “One Less Set of Footsteps”, is a trademark of Croce’s acoustic branding, a finely-orchestrated arrangement welcoming the listener. Next is “Roller Derby Queen”, is a simple folk track driven by a prominent hollow beat. “Dreamin’ Again” is a classic Croce song, hinted by the lightness of the arrangement that features a descending riff.

“Careful Man” features blues in the progression, and “Alabama Rain” is a relaxed track aimed at romance. Croce’s number 1 hit, “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” rides on a prominent piano riff to relay the story of the track. Life and Times revolves on the complementing melodic arrangements, upbeat progressions, and lightness of the acoustic guitar’s implementation. It is clear that Jim Croce knew what he wanted, and he nailed it perfectly with this catalog.