Album Review: “Life and Times” By Jim Croce
via Jim Croce/YouTube
A Magical Listening Experience
“Life and Times” is Jim Croce’s fourth studio album and the last one released in his lifetime. Less than three months later, he tragically died in a plane crash just when he decided to retire from the music industry and stay at home with his wife Ingrid and their son.
The LP peaked at #7 on the US Billboard 200 and topped the Canadian RPM 100 chart. It was eventually certified gold by the RIAA. Croce even received two Grammy Awards nominations for the single “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” – “Pop Male Vocalist” and “Record of the Year”.
“Life and Times” capitalized on the success of “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim” and it helped keep the momentum for Croce. Like its predecessor, “Life and Times” is simple, stripped down, and has that personal, intimate feel.
The thing about Croce’s songs is that none of it sounds forced or pretentious. Though he achieved success later in his life, it’s clear from the get-go that making music was what he was born to do. More than a stellar musician, he’s also an excellent storyteller.
The album is a mix of uptempo rock numbers and ballads. It’s not flawless but the songs are solid and tight. The songwriting, lyrics, and melodies – they’re superb. It goes without saying that “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” is the absolute highlight of the LP but there are several other musical gems here too.
Overall, “Life and Times” will tug on your heartstrings. It might not be the best record to come out of the 1970s but it’s an essential LP all the same.