Posts Tagged ‘Rick Buckler’

Sound Affects [VINYL]

On the 28th November in 1980: The Jam released their 5th studio album, ‘Sound Affects’, on Polydor Records…by Paul Weller, Bruce Foxton & Rick Buckler It featured the group’s second UK single, “Start!”; as well as other excellent Jam gems such as the funky “Pretty Green”, the raging “Set The House Ablaze”, ballad “That’s Entertainment” & the horn-driven “Boy About Town”; one side of the cover design was a pastiche of the artwork used on various sound effects records produced by the BBC during the ’70s; Paul Weller later cited it as his favourite Jam album in a BBC documentary; in 2006.

For many this album represents the musical zenith for The Jam. It is a fantastic album from start to finish in terms of the songwriting. The earlier Setting Sons has few brilliant anthemic tracks such as Thick as Thieves or The Eton Rifles and was intended as a concept album with the themes of friendship over time being the focal point but by Paul Weller’s own admission had a few fillers such as Girl on the Phone, Private Hell and the cover of Martha Reeves’ Heatwave. This album by contrast is a highly polished offering, perhaps a little too over produced at times and as such saw The Jam going in a new direction. Gone is the earlier raucousness and anger and the imperfect guitar playing and vocals which added something to the songs and at times made them seem rather like live tracks. Instead, this album has a veneer and a polish which firmly established The Jam as a post-punk band.

The Jam’s most consistent effort, ‘Sound Affects’ finds the trio splitting the difference between retro mod-pop (“Boy About Town,” the lovelorn “Monday,” jangly “Man in the Corner Shop”) and kicky power-punk (“But I’m Different Now” the herky-jerky “Start!”). Yet ‘Sound Affects’ also has a menacing tone—check the wary whistling on “Set the House Ablaze” and the record-closing, post-punk march “Scrape Away” a dark soundtrack suitable for stalking prey—that gives the music enduring depth. Plus, the LP contains one of the band’s finest moments, the nostalgic and bittersweet classic “That’s Entertainment.”

Image may contain: outdoor

Tellingly, when Paul Weller came to record 2010’s Mercury-nominated Wake Up The Nation, it was 1980s Sound Affects that his collaborator and producer Simon Dine held up as a model. Sound Affects was originally released at a time when The Jam was considered the biggest band in Britain. The album followed the band’s first number one single– “Going Underground” and features the group’s second UK number one single, “Start!”–a track built around almost exact copies of the bass-line and guitar solos from The Beatles’ “Taxman” (at the time Weller considered the album a cross between Off the Wall and Revolver). It includes many of the band’s classic songs: “That’s Entertainment” (written in a caravan in Selsey, after the pub), never released as a single in UK,”Man in the Corner Shop”, “Pretty Green”, the pure-pop of “Boy About Town” and “Dream Time”. It’s regarded by critics and fans (as well as Weller) as their most adventurous and experimental collection of material, drawing musical influences from the ‘post-punk’ groups of the late-70s–Wire, Gang Of Four and Joy Division–as well as neo-psychedelic touches from The Beatles and The Zombies.

The 30th anniversary two-disc, CD deluxe edition of the classic Jam album has been digitally re-mastered and features 22 bonus tracks, demos, b-sides and alternative versions. Also included is a 24-page booklet with extensive new sleevenotes by writer John Harris, a brand new interview with Paul Weller, rare photos and period memorabilia. The bonus material includes eight previously unreleased tracks: demos of “Pretty Green” and “Start!”, alternate versions of “Set the House Ablaze” and “Monday” and a cover of Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset”, and two instrumental demos.

The Jam regrouped and refocused for All Mod Cons, an album that marked a great leap in songwriting maturity and sense of purpose. For the first time, Paul Weller built, rather than fell back, upon his influences, carving a distinct voice all his own; he employed a story-style narrative with invented characters and vivid British imagery à la Ray Davies to make incisive social commentary all in a musically irresistible package. The youthful perspective and impassioned delivery on All Mod Cons first earned Weller the “voice of a generation” tag, and it certainly captures a moment in time, but really, the feelings and sentiments expressed on the album just as easily speak to any future generation of young people. Terms like “classic” are often bandied about, but in the case of All Mod Cons, it is certainly deserved.

All Mod Cons, released to wide acclaim in 1978, firmly cemented the group’s rise to extraordinary heights. Indeed, for many it was the first essential Jam album and listening to it now its impact has not diminished over time.” When I think about English records I think of The Kinks’ The Village Green Preservation Society, The Smiths’ The Queen is Dead, The Who’s Quadrophenia and The Jam’s All Mod Cons. To me all those albums are quintessential English
Recorded between 4th July 1978 to 17th August 197 at 8RAK (Upper London) and Eden Studios
It’s their third full-length LP. It took it’s title from a British idiom one might find in housing advertisements, is short for “all modern conveniences” and is a pun on the band’s association with the mod revival as well. Of Course it is also Paul Weller’s view on the music business as a ‘con’.

Film about the making of “All Mod Cons” by The Jam in 1978 with interviews from all involved including band members Paul Weller, Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler

The single “Down in the Tube Station at Midnight” was one of the band’s most successful chart hits up to that point, peaking at #15 on the UK charts. In 2000, Q magazine placed All Mod Cons at number 50 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. I think it is The Jams most fully realised album, it is their best album.

British Invasion pop influences run through the album, most obviously in the cover of The Kinks’ David Watts and It’s too bad a song The Who would have been proud of.

To Be Someone (Didn’t we have a nice) time is an early jab at the rock’n roll lifestyle, about the hollow and empty life of a star, supposedly written after a horrible tour pairing in America with Blue Oyster Cult. The Bass line is a cool rip-of of Paul McCartneys bass line to “Taxman”.

All the tracks are really strong, great playing and great singing all around. The Production is unusually complex and sophisticated for a punk/new wave album.
The song “Down in the Tube Station at Midnight” is a first-person narrative of a young man who walks into a tube station on the way home to his wife, and is beaten by far right thugs. The lyrics of the song “All Mod Cons” criticise fickle people who attach themselves to people who enjoy success and leave them once that is over.

Track Listing:
1. All Mod Cons
2. To Be Someone (Didn’t We Have A Nice Time)
3. Mr. Clean
4. David Watts
5. English Rose
6. In The Crowd
7. Billy Hunt
8. It’s Too Bad
9. Fly
10. The Place I Love
11. A Bomb In Wardour Street
12. Down In The Tube Station At Midnight

This deluxe repackaged, remastered edition contains single b-sides, demos and rarities. It also features a new film, The Making Of All Mod Cons, with new interviews, promo clips, and previously unseen live footage.

The_Jam_-_The_Gift_-_Front_1354193112

The Gift’ was The Jam’s final studio album,  the follow-up to The Jam’s critically and commercially successful 1980 album “Sound Affects”. When The Jam finished recording their sixth album, in the winter of 1982, none of the members knew the band would cease to exist by the end of the year. Although frontman Paul Weller has, in retrospect, recognized that the trio was “winding down,” at the time the singer-guitarist was merely trying to find a way to merge his increasing interest in funk and R&B with the Jam’s powerful sound.

What had begun as a British punk (or at least punk-adjacent) outfit in the mid-’70s had become a more mainstream rock outfit by the turn of the ’80s, integrated into the new wave. The Jam had tinkered with the mod revival and neo-psychedelia, but for The Gift, Weller began drawing inspiration from styles rooted even further in the past.

“We got into soul again,” Weller said in 1998. “We started backtracking. I was into soul as a kid. I was on a big learning curve.”

The band’s primary songwriter was particularly inspired by Northern Soul, ’60s R&B: Stax/Volt singles, James Brown chestnuts and Tamla Motown compilations. Bruce Foxton funked up his Rickenbacker bass (“Circus”). Horn sections blurted in the background (“Precious”). The backbeat from the Supremes  “You Can’t Hurry Love” was re-purposed (“Town Called Malice”).

Paul Weller would more fully explore Northern soul/R’n’B and jazz in his next band, the Style Council, but for now he was exploring black American music within the confines of a power trio. “The influence of soul music pointed in the direction of where I was going to go after that,” Weller recalled to the NME in 2012, “but it was very much our sound, we were trying to expand it and do something else with the Jam sound.”

Although the Jam were drawing on old records to expand the band’s sonic playground, Weller was often being inspired by present political circumstances in his lyrics. As a result, The Gift is also a celebration of the working class in Margaret Thatcher-era Britain.

“I was thinking about the times we were living in,” Weller said about “Town Called Malice.” “It wasn’t the height of Thatcherism but she was well into her stride by that time. The country was being depleted and the working classes were being s— on. It was a very desolate time. You couldn’t help but be touched by the politics of the time, you were either for or against it and I was reflecting what I saw around me.”  The message is not altogether negative though and the song stands as a potent rallying call to roll with the changes. One of the quintessential “state of the nation” songs in the band’s catalogue it is still frequently performed by Weller in concert as a rousing finale to the set.

On “Just Who is the 5 O’Clock Hero?” Weller drew on his memories of his father to honor the folks who endure the working grind every day.

“My dad had been a hod carrier [bricklayer’s assistant] most of his life,said ” Weller . “It was tough work. He’d come home looking like he’d been sandblasted, covered in cement. I liked the irony of that. But he always had a smile on his face. You could hear him arriving home, whistling down the funny little alleyway that ran beside our funny little house in Woking. He was the ‘5 O’Clock Hero’. He made the money and fed and clothed us.”

Whether it was the political statements, the Jam’s new soul-rock sound or just the irresistible catchiness of “Town Called Malice,” The Gift became the trio’s first U.K. No. 1 LP after it was released on March 12th, 1982. The double-a-side of “Malice” and “Precious” became a massive hit, debuting at No. 1 in Britain and becoming the group’s sole chart success in North America.

Despite the Jam’s increasing success, Weller was feeling artistically constricted by the band. In the summer of ’82, he made the decision to break up the band following a farewell tour on the ‘Trans-Global Express Tour’. The news was met with confusion from fans, bandmates Foxton and drummer Rick Buckler and even Weller’s own “5 O’Clock Hero.”

“My dad thought I was bonkers,” Weller remembered. “Rick was quite philosophical about it. But Bruce was devastated. … But if you look at the photos of the final gigs, you can see us smiling, all three of us. A load had been lifted. I didn’t shed a tear at the final gig. I felt a sense of relief. I was 24. My life was just starting.” Their biggest hit of the album was “Town Called Malice”.

The Jam