"Snap!" Was The First Jam Compilation Ever Released. The Year Was 1983. The CD Edition Was To Omit 8 Tracks.
Quite a gem, this is the CD reissue of a double LP that collected all the singles and the best album tracks that the epoch-making band led by Paul Weller produced during its time together. Eight tracks have been dropped to make it all fit into one CD – the eight album tracks. That makes the CD stand as a sort of singles collection.
Every A-side is featured, and that includes the compositions “’A’ Bomb In Wardour Street” and “Dreams Of Children”, songs that were released as part of double A-sided singles. Of course, all the non-album tracks that they were to release are featured – “Going Underground”, “Strange Town”, “When You Are Young”, and their final #1: “Beat Surrender” (a song that feels more Style Council than The Jam). Continue reading →
"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 →
The Jam's Final Studio Album Was Issued In 1982. It Was Named "The Gift".
The Gift was to be the final Studio album cut by The Jam, and it simply showcases how Weller ambitions had massively outgrown the band. In places it sounds like a Style Council record that has Foxton and Buckler looking over their shoulders and glancing at the spots their musical ideas where when they began. Because they had little to contribute by this point. It is not necessarily their fault – Weller has come up with some textures and grooves that are totally un-Jam like, in the same way that Pete Townshend brought along influences for the recording of The Who’s “Who Are You” that left many band members (especially Keith Moon) stranded. When that happens, a band takes its last bows and walks offstage.
These style excursions that do not work include “The Planner’s Dreams Go Wrong” and “Circus”, while “Running On The Spot” has potential that is never realized. Still, some compositions do work out to a lesser or bigger extent – “Precious” is quite effective, and the monster hit “Town Called Malice” gave everybody high hopes for the album (it was released some time ahead of the record, coupled with “Precious”). For its part, the soulful title track falls somewhere in the middle. Continue reading →
In Theory, Each Panel Is Related To A Lyric On The Album
During their brief time together, Paul Weller & Co. were to release 6 albums of original compositions. Three are traditionally regarded as representing their pinnacle. They are “All Mod Cons“, “Setting Sons” and “Sound Affects”. Out of the three, “Sound Affects” is the one I like the least. Here, they sound more like The Beatles than The Kinks or The Who, two bands that had been the predominant influence until then. As the critics aptly insinuated, Sound Affects stands as The Jam’s “Revolver”.
The album bore The Jam’s second chart topper – the song is named “Start”, it was inspired by Orwell’s “Omage To Catalogna”, and the bass part has been taken on permanent loan from The Fab Four’s “Taxman”.
The other major hit the album features is “That’s Entertainment”. The song was issued as a single only in Germany, and it is still the best-selling import single within the United Kingdom. Continue reading →
It was only natural that a hardened Who and Kinks fans such as Paul Weller would eventually release an album with conceptual tinges. That is exactly what characterizes the fourth album released by The Jam. The year was 1979, and the name of the release was Setting Sons.
The story involved three childhood friends who became distanced as they grew up, and the responsibilities and the toll of the adult world began manifesting themselves and settling in irretrievably. One of the characters ends up as a left-wing radical, while the other leans markedly to the right. The third character is Weller, who can see both sides clearly. Continue reading →
This album marks the point when The Jam came of age. The year was 1979, and it was their third release – their first album (“In The City”) was very well-received whereas the second one (“This Is The Modern World”) was consistently panned. Both albums were released in 1977.
It includes what most people (count me in) deem as their greatest song: “Down In The Tube Station At Midnight”. Note that although “Tube Station” is the song most people associate with the band, it was not that wildly successful when the album was released. It was a top 20 hit, but it went nowhere near the top slots of the charts then. Continue reading →