Friday, December 02, 2016

Colin James: Colin James (1988)

Colin James is the debut record from Colin James, a Canadian singer, songwriter, and producer who operated (operates?) in the blues-rock genre. I got this record free, I believe. If not, it was surely really cheap. This LP has a number of radio-friendly tunes, like Five Long Years, Voodoo Thing, and Chicks 'n Cars (And the Third World War). There are a number of cover tunes mixed in with original compositions. I think this is OK, but I never loved the record and I own no other releases from him on vinyl or CD or cassette.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

James: Come Home (1990)

I have a UK 12" single of Come Home backed with Fireaway and Stutter (Live). The version of Come Home is the extended mix by Flood (AKA Mark Ellis), subtitled the "Extended Flood Mix." I really like this tune. In my opinion, the band left the pseudo-Smiths camp and adopted an authentic Manchester sound here.

There is no real video for the extended mix, but you can at least hear it. This is the video for the single release:

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

James: Strip-Mine (1988)

Manchester's James was supposed to be the next Smiths. Even Morrissey was a fan, but the next-Smiths-thing never really transpired, though the band released some solid records. On this record, there is some clear evidence at to why the band was once considered a successor to the Smiths. In the end, James just seemed to be a lesser version and they never really ignited a passion in me.

Strip-Mine is the band's second LP (released in September of '88) and it's not too bad, though I prefer the later 90s output.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Jam: Snap! (1983)

Snap collects all of the Jam's singles plus some b-side and rarities onto two LPs. For some reason, I have the original UK pressing, rather than the Canadian pressing. It's truly an excellent retrospective, and would be perfect as an introduction to the band.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Jam: Dig the New Breed (1982)

And, so it ends. This live record was the last LP from the Jam, with the exception of future compilations. In 1983, Weller introduced us to the Style Council, with the mini-LP entitled Introducing the Style Council.This is a good collection of live tunes.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Jam: Beat Surrender (1982)

Beat Surrender was the Jam's last single, released in December 1982. It contains a new version of War. The five-track release also contains Beat Surrender, Shopping, a cover of Curtis Mayfield's Move on Up, and a cover of Stoned out of my Mind, originally by the Chi-Lates.

I like the title track very much.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Jam: The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had to Swallow) (1982)

I believe that this was the Jam's second-to-last single. It was, then, their penultimate single. The 7" version contains three tracks, while the 12" single (in some countries, including Canada) had five tracks, so maybe it's really a mini album or an EP.

Side One:

The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow)
The Great Depression

Side Two:

War (from Barrett Whitfield and Norman Strong)
Pity Poor Alfie
Fever (from Eddie Cooley and Otis Blackwell)

Fever has been covered by many people and I'm not really impressed with what The Jam did with it or with War, for that matter. I guess this is an OK release, but it's not fabulous.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Jam: Town Called Malice b/w Precious (1982)

This is a Canadian 12" single featured Town Called Malice with Precious on the flip-side. I love both tunes. That's all.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Jam: The Gift (1982)

For some an inexplicable reason, a few critics didn't like this record. I think it's great, especially as it contains my favourite Jam track, Town Called Malice.

Rows and rows of disused milk floats stand dying in the dairy yard
And a hundred lonely housewives clutch empty milk bottles to their hearts
Hanging out their old love letters on the line to dry
It's enough to make you stop believing when tears come fast and furious
In a town called malice, yeah

I'm also a big fan of the tune Precious.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Jam: Absolute Beginners (1981)

Absolute Beginners is a five-track EP released in 1981. I have a Canadian pressing. It's a solid EP, and I like every track very much. What else can I say? Oh, how about this: I think I read somewhere that the title track is one of Weller's favourite pieces of music, or something like that.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Jam: Sound Affects (1980)

A police car and a screaming siren
A pnuematic drill and ripped up concrete
A baby wailing and stray dog howling
The screech of brakes and lamp lights blinking
That's entertainment

A smash of glass and the rumble of boots
An electric train and a ripped up phone booth
Paint splattered walls and the cry of a tomcat
Lights going out and a kick in the balls

- That's Entertainment

The jacket for this LP opens at the top, which is unusual for LPs but not for 12" singles. Another possibility is that the images are turned on the side. Whatever. The other weird thing is that it's difficult to know which side of the cover is intended to be the front. Some sites display one side and some use the other. Take your pick, I guess. Also, the title is Sound Affects not Sound Effects.

In my ever so humble opinion, this might be the Jam's best record, and nothing that followed was quite as good. The most recognizable song on this record is probably That's Entertainment, a tune that was later covered by Morrissey. I like Mozzer's version too.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Jam: Setting Sons (1979)


Sup up your beer and collect your fags
There's a row going on down near slough
Get out your mat and pray to the west
I'll get out mine and pray for myself
Thought you were smart when you took them on
But you didn't take a peep in their artillery room
All that rugby puts hairs on your chest
What chance have you got against a tie and a crest?

- Eton Rifles, The Jam  

Eton Rifles was the band's first top ten UK hit. In reading about this LP, I found out something that I bizarrely did not know:

"Singer, guitarist, and songwriter Paul Weller originally conceived Setting Sons as a concept album detailing the lives of three boyhood friends who later reunite as adults after an unspecified war only to discover they have grown up and apart. This concept was never fully developed, and it remains unclear which tracks were originally intended as part of the story, though it is commonly agreed that "Thick As Thieves", "Little Boy Soldiers", "Wasteland", and "Burning Sky" are likely constituents; extant Jam bootlegs feature a version of "Little Boy Soldiers" split into three separate recordings, possible evidence that the song was intended to serve as a recurring motif, with separate sections appearing between other songs on the album." [source]

Once again, the record company was up to its usual nonsense, but in this case, I don't mind too much. The Canadian LP has two extra tracks. True, they messed with the song order, but I guess I can live with that.