"Extras" Assembles Rare Songs & Takes From All Over The Jam's Relatively Brief Career.
Extras was a compilation of Jam b-sides, rare tracks and demos that was issued in 1992. The main value the compilation has always had is in portraying the development of Paul Weller as a composer, since cover versions that map out the way he shaped the sound of the trio as they went along are extensively provided. We have covers of The Beatles (“And You Bird Can Sing”), The Small Faces (the charged “Get Yourself Together”) and The Who (“Disguises” and “So Sad About Us”, the b-side to “Down In The Tube Station At Midnight” that paid tribute to the passing of Keith Moon) along with many R & B and soul covers like “Move On Up”, “I Got You (I Feel Good)” and “Fever” (which is fused with Paul’s own “Pity Poor Alfie”).
Some of the best original b-sides include “The Butterfly Collector” (a timeless take on the groupies and hangers on that have always littered the music scene), and the electric version of Foxton’s Smithers-Jones (a string quartet performs it on “Setting Sons“; the original version was the flipside to “When You Are Young”). There is also Weller’s own “Shopping” (a shuffly number that manages to marry the vision which led to the Style Council with the sound of The Jam) and the salient “Tales From The Riverbank”. That one has always been deemed as one of those “should have been an a-side” track by fans, critics and Weller himself. Its placement on the album is also very good, being situated right at the beginning with “The Dreams Of Children”.
There are also two unreleased Weller originals. They are “No One In The World” and “Hey Mister”. Both are performed by him unaccompanied – the former is played on guitar, and “Hey Mister” is played on piano. The songs have a disaffected outlook on life and politics respectively, and I think they would have made for interesting group performance. Continue reading →
This was the second compilation of A-sides, B-sides and rarities the Mancunian outfit released in its career. As you know, the first one was “Hatful Of Hollow“. In this case, the compilation has something of a broader appeal as there is a fair slice of non-album singles featured, and these include the crucial “Panic”, “Ask” and “Shoplifters Of The World Unite”. The single version of “The Boy With The Thorn In His Side” is part of the compilation, too. And there are no radio sessions this time around.
Something that you can find here that was absent from “Hatful Of Hollow” is a handful of instrumental tracks. There are two of them: “Oscillate Wildly” and “Money Changes Everything”. Continue reading →
The career of The Smiths was characterized by the (back then) inordinate number of compilations they were to issue. The first one saw the light shortly after the release of their eponymous debut, and it was named “Hatful Of Hollow”. The album comprised many songs recorded for radio shows, along with assorted A-sides and B-sides.
As I am sure you recall, one of the main problems the debut album had was that the production was not as punchy as it could have been. That meant the impact of its songs was somehow diluted, and since about half of the tracks that were found on the debut are played live on “Hatful Of Hollow”, this compilation has added appeal. Of these songs, the ones that work best are “Reel Around The Fountain” (the drums are so booming that it sounds like a different song) and an acoustic “This Charming Man” that is even janglier than the original cut. Conversely, “Still Ill” is not that appealing – maybe the added harmonica at the start and at the end is the problem. It just does not fit in. And the live “What Difference Does It Make?” and “You’ve Got Everything Now” are not that removed from the original performances as to make you rethink those versions. However, it is admirable how well Marr plays “What Difference Does It Make?” live, as in the studio more than 15 guitars had been combined. That doesn’t make the song better or worse, but it places his skills in a very favorable light.
One of the featured A-sides is “William, It Was Really Nothing”, a song many propound was about a romantic relationship Morrissey had with some journalist. It is a short and sweet song, but it is easily one of their least effective singles. And while “How Soon Is Now?” is included, the song had not been released as a single yet. Continue reading →