Youth explosion for dads and granddads – The Jam 1977

THE JAM ‘1977’
40th Anniversary Box Set

Includes remastered albums, unreleased demos and live tracks, photos and memorabilia from 1977. Scheduled for release on 20th October.

The Jam 1977
The Jam 1977

The passions of youth cast a long shadow, which helps explain both my excitement about this comprehensive collection of everything the Jam did in 1977, and why there is still a big market out there for anything to do with the Woking wonders.  Of course its not just  nostalgia for the music, which apart from the extras, most will have anyway , Its also the jolting back into life of the old habit of being a collector and completist.  The search for seven inch picture sleeves, limited editions and imports  –  icons and status goods for the smart, semi articulate and hard. For many it all started with the Jam   So yeah, this presses lots of old buttons and many of the Jam dad and granddad brigade will certainly have this on their Christmas lists.

For the initiated its sure to elicit a wistful smile.  The two albums that the Jam released in 1977 and remastered here are great to listen to again.  In the City, the debut, now has that big fat analogue and warm valve warmth that you get with the better remasters – while still retaining the spikiness and abrasiveness that was its original hallmark.  Apart from anything else this shows the songs in a new light.  The teenage Paul Weller who penned the half or dozen or so classics here was already displaying an unerring ability to connect with working class youth in a way that would later land him, much to his intense unease, with the reputation as spokesman for a generation.  But why not? Away from the Numbers is pure working class existential crisis for all the kids who felt like factory fodder, with Weller opining against the purist punk mod surf cool:  ‘I was the type who’d knocked at old men, who together at tables sit and drink beer. Til I realised I was really the same. So this means breaking away from the chain.’ For many like me who’d hardly read a book, this was a wake-up call to self reflection and new ways of thinking.

Paul Weller in punk fanzine, Sniffin' Glue in 1977

Other lyrical themes here (and across the rest of the box set) include the lure of London (In the City, Sounds from the Street), police violence (Time for Truth) and love/friendship (I Got By in Time).  But what recurs most is the sheer brilliance of being young and having something to say.  On In the City, for example, Weller sings that he wants to tell you about the young ideas of the golden faces all under 25.  On All Around the World the guitar break begins with a the boisterous shout ‘youth explosion’. As Paolo Hewitt says in his book The Changing Man, Paul Weller was constantly worrying about age.  He’s quoted as saying ‘all the bands I love made their great records when they were eighteen, nineteen and then they turned shit’.  If he didn’t make his mark by eighteen, he felt he would have to seriously consider packing it in and returning to playing pubs and working mens clubs in Surrey.  In The City single made the top 40 just before he turned 19.  The irony he is that whilst the Jam material is superb, the very best of Paul Weller, in terms of classic timeless songs, comes years later, when he learns to relax a bit.

And indeed, if this obsession with youth helps explain what’s going on here with this young man in a hurry, it also points to its limitations.  However brilliant this might sound there is a limit to how much time you can spend with an opinionated mid 70s teenager.

The Modern World is billed in the press release as the surprise of the package, the slightly unloved Jam album that time has been rather kind to.  There is some truth in this.  The remastering partly addresses some of the earlier justified criticisms that this album sounded like a rush job (putting out two full albums of mostly original material in the same year for Christ’s sake!).  Of course, the rush job accusations were also based on a feeling that some of the songs sounded like outtakes (Don’t Tell Them You’re Sane) b-sides (London Traffic), or frustratingly unfinished ideas (Life From a Window).  But whilst remastering can only go so far, what does stand out to the good, is the sense of musical progression.  The Jam were clearly on a musical journey, Songs such as the Combine and Tonight at Noon, the latter featuring an acoustic guitar and an Adrian Henri poem as lyrics, are a clear move away from the mainstream of punk/new wave towards 1978’s classic All Mod Cons.

Of the extras the In the City demos in particular nicely show off the musical chemistry that clearly existed between Weller, Foxton and Buckler in their early days.  Weller was always the star, but without this added ingredient they’d have been stuck in Woking.  These recordings also show the clear influence of Wilko Johnson on Weller’s guitar style. Writing year’s later one of Weller’s best mates Steve Brookes talked about seeing Dr Feelgood at Guilford Civic Hall in 1975.  Whilst much has been made of the importance to the Jam of seeing the Sex Pistols at the Lyceum, it is in fact this Feelgood’s gig that was far more important in the development of the Jam. Weller, apparently, falling for Wilko instantly.  ‘For anyone who hadn’t seen Wilko’s stage persona’ Brookes wrote, ‘it was like a mod killer zombie on crack. I rated the Feelgoods but Wilko had a really big effect on Paul – the clothes, the hair, the way he moved’. And here is the living proof.

The film clips are worth a special mention too.  The performance of All Around The World from Marc Bolan’s show on children’s TV will always be special for me.  It’s the first time I saw and heard the Jam.  Nothing was ever the same again.

The Jam 1977 tracklisting
Full tracklisting here:

Disc 1 – ‘In The City’ (original album remastered)
1. Art School
2. I’ve Changed My Address
3. Slow Down
4. I Got By In Time
5. Away From The Numbers
6. Batman Theme
7. In The City
8. Sounds From The Street
9. Non-Stop Dancing
10. Time For Truth
11. Takin’ My Love
12. Bricks & Mortar
+ single & B-side extras
13. All Around The World
14. Carnaby Street

Disc 2 – ‘The Polydor Demos: February 1977’
1. Art School (demo) #
2. In The City (demo)
3. I Got By In Time (demo) #
4. I’ve Changed My Address (demo) #
5. Time For Truth (demo)
6. Sounds From The Street (demo)
7. Non Stop Dancing (demo) #
8. Bricks And Mortar (demo) #
9. Takin’ My Love (demo)
10. So Sad About Us (demo)
11. Slowdown (demo) #
# = previously unreleased

Disc 3 – ‘This Is The Modern World’ (original album remastered)
1. The Modern World
2. London Traffic
3. Standards
4. Life From A Window
5. The Combine
6. Don’t Tell Them You’re Sane
7. In The Street Today
8. London Girl
9. I Need You (For Someone)
10. Here Comes The Weekend
11. Tonight At Noon
12. In The Midnight Hour

Disc 4 – ‘Live 1977’
John Peel sessions:
1. In The City
2. Art School
3. I’ve Changed My Address
4. The Modern World

Recorded 26.4.1977 – Transmitted 2.5.1977

5. All Around The World
6. London Girl
7. Bricks & Mortar
8. Carnaby Street

Recorded 19.7.1977 – Transmitted 25.7.1977

Live at the ‘Nashville’ – September 10th 1977 (previously unreleased):
9. Carnaby Street
10. The Modern World
11. Time For Truth
12. So Sad About Us
13. London Girl
14. In the Street Today
15. All Around The World
16. London Traffic
17. Sweet Soul Music
18. Bricks & Mortar
19. In The City
20. Art School
21. In The Midnight Hour
22. Sounds From The Street
23. Slowdown

Disc 5 – DVD
1. In The City (Polydor promo – May 1977)
2. Art School (Polydor promo – May 1977)
3. In The City (Top Of The Pops – Date: 19/05/1977)
4. All Around The World (Top Of The Pops – Date: 18/08/1977)
5. All Around The World (‘Marc’ – Granada TV)
6. The Modern World (Top Of The Pops Top Of The Pops – Date: 03/11/1977)
7. Bricks and Mortar (‘So It Goes’ – Granada TV Nov. 20th 1977)
8. Carnaby Street (‘So It Goes’ – Granada TV Nov. 20th 1977)
9. In The City (‘So It Goes’ – Granada TV Nov. 20th 1977)
10. Slowdown (‘So It Goes’ – Granada TV Nov. 20th 1977)
11. All Around The World (‘So It Goes’ – Granada TV Nov. 20th 1977)

Deer Tick New Albums Volume 1 & 2 + UK / Europe Live Dates

Deer Tick release Vol. 1 and Deer Tick Vol. 2 on Partisan RecordsNever a group to stand by conventional protocol, Deer Tick release two separate albums of original material, Deer Tick Vol. 1 and Deer Tick Vol. 2 on Partisan Records, recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis.

The two albums complement each other yet reflect completely contrasting styles, both of which accurately represent the two distinctive musical personalities of Deer Tick — quiet and thoughtful / loud and raucous. “Sea Of Clouds” from Vol. 1 and the garage punk-infused “It’s a Whale” from Vol. 2 show these sides respectively.

Deer Tick Vol. 1 showcases the folk-driven, roots/rock style with right amount of grit, that Deer Tick is known for. Lead singer/songwriter John McCauley is a masterful introspective and observational songwriter, who documents inner struggles and external conflicts with a perfect balance of heartfelt sincerity and wry wit. The opening track Sea of Clouds encompasses all of what brought so many fans to Deer Tick in the first place, and also what kept them there. Guitarist Ian O’Neil’s “Hope is Big” and drummer Dennis Ryan’s “Me & My Man” expand on the group’s already dynamic range.

On Deer Tick Vol. 2, the band turns it up and lets it fly with an injection of punk-inspired garage rock at it’s finest. Clever lyrics, infectious hooks and captivating melodies pack Vol. 2 with bassist Christopher Ryan skillfully laying it down with authority and attitude. The propulsion of opener “Don’t Hurt”, edgy pop of “Jumpstarting” and rowdy punk of “It’s a Whale” reveal that there was an obvious Jekyll & Hyde approach to recording Vol. 1 & Vol. 2. Vol. 2 closes with boisterous “Mr. Nothing Gets Worse”, with all three singers taking a verse on a song that would have made The Replacements proud.

Deer Tick defines the term outlier. Their ever-evolving style has never been claimed by any one scene or genre. They encompass key elements of indie-rock, country, punk, pop, Americana, folk and so much more, which is what makes it difficult to nail them down. With Deer Tick Vol. 1 and Deer Tick Vol. 2, the question really is, why would anyone want to?

Deer Tick – UK / EU Live Dates

20 Jan 2018 Celtic Connections @ O2 ABC, Glasgow, UK
22 Jan 2018 Witloof Bar, Brussels, Belgium
23 Jan 2018 Paradiso Noord, Amsterdam, Netherlands
24 Jan 2018 Bi Nuu, Berlin, Germany
25 Jan 2018 Nochtspeicher, Hamburg, Germany
27 Jan 2018 Le Pop Up du Label, Paris, France
30 Jan 2018 Islington Assembly Hall, London, UK
31 Jan 2018 The Fleece, Bristol, UK
01 Feb 2018 Deaf Institute, Manchester, UK
02 Feb 2018 Community Room @ Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, UK

Tickets go on sale Friday 13 Oct at 10am from the band’s website HERE

Maker – Girl Quit Your Crying EP

MAKERMaker hail from Medway – home to the likes of The James Taylor Quartet, The Prisoners and Billy Childish.  But though their music has an undeniable 1960s and early 1970s taste, it is a much more rich, diverse and complex  than the back-to-basic 1960s garage more akin to the aforementioned local heroes, and commonly referred to as the ‘Medway Sound‘.

This week Maker release their second EP. The title track, ‘Girl Quit Your Crying’ is full of a hazy blues, after hours lock-in complete with feathered haircuts, Double Diamond pint jugs and a Rod & The Faces swagger. Alessandro Marinelli’s gravel-throated bluesy voice underlines only one of many influences present on this solid 5-track EP. But the Maker sound is much more versatile, complex and multi-layered than a shallow retro posture.  Somewhere between then and now,  Maker sound unique in these days of shortlived fashions, reality tv and throwaway pop.  They appear to take influence from an array of solid sounds, styles and grooves and run, run, run with it.  They are not simply retro and not exactly contemporary.

Similar to the previous single, ‘Move Your Feet’, there is a strong element of early 1970s soul, R ‘n’ B and rock ‘n’ roll running throughout the whole  EP.  ‘So Serene’ and ‘Are You Watching Me?’ are full to the brim of a white-faced soulful funky groove.  Think Sly & The Family Stone fused with  a steam-charged rhythm n blues of Mick Taylor era Rolling Stones, a good helping of The Faces and etched in the post house music influenced rhythms of Primal Scream and The Stone Roses. Great stuff!

Maker look good and sound great.  They are Alessandro Marinelli (Vocals), Andrew Donaldson (Guitar), Gavin Donaldson (Drums) & John Austin (Bass).  The ‘Girl Quit Your Crying’ EP succinctly captures their authentic rock n roll, psychedelic, bluesy soul sound.

‘Girl Quit Your Crying’, ‘So Serene’ and ‘are You Watching Me?’ were recorded at the famous Rockfield Studio & Leeders Farm. The EP also includes two demos, ‘Lose It On The Second Turn’ and Stop My Heart Dead’, recorded at Ranscombe Studios in Rochester.

Girl Quit Your Crying EP by Maker is available via Kidda Records.

Innocense by Suspects – pure post-grunge garage punk rock

Suspects - Thomas Prescott and James (Jaff) MaySuspects are Thomas Prescott and James (Jaff) May. They come from Southend, and are a part of the ever-growing, pulsating Cool Thing Records that could very well be at the centre of the universe.

Their debut single, Innocense, sees the the two-piece arrive on the garage punk rock ‘n’ roll platform with a bang!

Innocense is an epic slice of back-to-basics, gritty, driving post-grunge garage punk rock.  Pounding drums, heavy big muff-drive fuzz guitars and an abrasive yet controlled, aggressive vocal delivery.  All of which fixates the listener like a rabbit to headlights or Elvis to prescription drugs.  From the off, Innocence explodes into action. 0-50 faster than Valentino Rossi. Ending way too soon, it leaves an empty burning hum and a spellbinding charm, before I select repeat, again and again.

Innocense perfectly depicts a sound that cuts like a switchblade through the endless pile of shallow, empty candy-sweet, non-confrontational drivel that envelopes the sleepy, zombie-like state we find ourselves in. Suspects are here to wake us up from our slumber and to shout from the roof tops FUCK POLITICS – LET’S DANCE!

Pump up the volume and jump aboard the Suspects train departing from Southend-on-Sea, as it steams head on to Garage Punkville!  This train is bound for freedom with its first class passengers Jack White, Black Sabbath, Queens Of The Stone Age and Black Flag.

Innocence by Suspects is available on Cool Thing Records.

Richard Thompson new album,  Acoustic Classics Vol. II & UK Tour

Richard ThompsonFairport Convention co-founding member and celebrated folk guitarist / songwriter Richard Thompson will release Acoustic Classics Vol. II on his own Beeswing record label, distributed via Proper, on 11th August.

Richard Thompson was recently named by Rolling Stone as one of the Top 20 Guitarists of All Time and is one of the world’s most critically acclaimed and prolific songwriters. He has received multiple awards, including Lifetime Achievement Awards at the BBC Folk Awards and the US and UK Americana Music Association Awards, as well as Mojo’s Les Paul Award and an Ivor Novello Award for song writing. Thompson was appointed OBE in the 2011 New Year Honours List. Robert Plant, REM, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt and many others have recorded his songs.

Following the success of Acoustic Classics in 2014, Acoustic Classics Vol. II will feature acoustic renderings of classic songs from the Richard Thompson catalogue, some previously recorded by other singers, some previously available only in a band format. A second album Acoustic Rarities will be released later in the year featuring new recordings of some of the more obscure songs in the Thompson catalogue, some previously existing only as cover versions.

Special three-disc vinyl LP and double CD versions of both albums together will be released exclusively via Pledge Music:

Richard Thompson Acoustic Classics II Tracklisting:

  1. She Twists The Knife Again – 2:49
  2. The Ghost Of You Walks – 4:41
  3. Genesis Hall – 3:30
  4. Jet Plane In A Rocking Chair – 2:29
  5. A Heart Needs A Home – 3:27
  6. Pharaoh – 4:26
  7. Gethsemane – 5:13 8. Devonside – 3:06
  8. Meet On The Ledge – 3:06
  9. Keep Your Distance – 3:35
  10. Bathsheba Smiles – 3:33
  11. Crazy Man Michael – 4:24
  12. Guns Are The Tongues – 6:06
  13. Why Must I Plead? – 4:09

A hugely popular live performer, Richard Thompson will tour the UK in October, including the very first concert at the newly-established London Bridge Theatre, which is now sold out and a second London show at Cadogan Hall. Thompson will play Fairport Convention’s annual Cropredy Festival, which takes place August 10-12, and this year marks the 50th anniversary of the group.

Richard Thompson UK Tour Dates
(supported by Josienne Clarke + Ben Walker)

Wed 11 October               Brighton Dome
Thu 12 October                 Guildford G-Live
Fri 13 October                    Poole Lighthouse
Sat 14 October                  Bristol Colston Hall
Sun 15 October                 Cardiff Wales Millennium Centre
Tue 17 October                 Edinburgh Usher Hall
Wed 18 October               Gateshead Sage
Thu 19 October                 Salford Lowry
Sat 21 October                  Saffron Walden Saffron Hall
Sun 22 October                 Coventry Warwick Arts Centre
Mon 23 October               London Cadogan Hall  *EXTRA DATE
Wed 25 October               Sheffield City Hall
Thu 26 October                 Leicester de Montfort Hall
Fri 27 October                    Basingstoke Anvil
Sat 28 October                  Norwich Theatre Royal
Mon 30 October               London Bridge Theatre  SOLD OUT


Richard Thompson new album, Acoustic Classics Vol. II is scheduled for release on  11th August on Beeswing distributed via Proper.