Category: Joe Jackson

Joe Jackson – Joe Jackson’s Jumpin’ Jive

ARTIST: Joe Jackson

TITLE: Joe Jackson’s Jumpin’ Jive  220px-Jumpinjive

YEAR RELEASED: 1981

CHART ACTION: #42 US, #12 UK

SINGLES: Jumpin’ Jive (#43 UK), Jack You’re Dead

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: All of these are swing-era hit songs

LINEUP: Joe Jackson, Pete Thomas, Raul D’Oliveira, Nick Weldon, Dave Bitelli, Graham Maby, Larry Tolfree.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After he broke up his angry-young-man band, Jackson goes swing (!?!) It was probably a fun record to make.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The swing music era always has affectionados, and revivals every now and then pop up in space and time. Joe Jackson loved the jump blues and swing, so why not put out an album of covers of his favorite songs.

Featuring songs made famous by Louis Jordan, Glenn Miller, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, and others, Jackson leads a competent swing band through the paces in what sounds like a fun time.

Yet after a couple of plays, what you want to do is find the originals (which is now much, much easier in the streaming world) than listen to Jackson’s versions. (His voice isn’t always built for these songs). So a fun concept, the tour was probably a hoot, but these aren’t the originals and that’s what you really want.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: After this tour, Jackson changed directions again, keeping Graham Maby as the only continuum between his first band and 1982.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

 GRADE: C+: It’s fun, but it doesn’t have staying power since the originals are the ones you need to seek out.

Joe Jackson – Beat Crazy

ARTIST: Joe Jackson                    beat_crazy_joe_jackson_band_album_-_cover_art

TITLE:  Beat Crazy

YEAR RELEASED: 1980

CHART ACTION: #41 US, #42 UK

SINGLES: Mad at You, Bat Crazy, One to One

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Someone Up There, Biology

LINEUP: Joe Jackson, Graham Maby, Gary Sanford, David Houghton

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A somewhat mixed album from Jackson – the last from his classic band for many years. Sequencing is a big problem here.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: There’s some great songs on this album. “One to One” is a classic Joe Jackson piano ballad, “Biology” hearkens back to the origins of the band with some interesting production, and Jackson’s band handles reggae beats well with “In Every Dream Home (A Nightmare)”.

The main issue here is sequencing. There’s some weaker songs here, and they stand out thanks to their placement. Also, opening with “Beat Crazy” instead of “One to One” (which to me sounded like a classic album opener for Jackson) is off-putting to my ears. “Mad at You” is great, but then goes on for about 30-45 seconds too long.

The album shows the bands versatility, and Jackson’s knack for songwriting in many genres and styles, but it seems more of a tossed together collection than a cohesive unit – even with the songs blending into each other.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: It was credited to the Joe Jackson Band, which would break up after the European tour for the album.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B-:  If it was sequenced properly, it would probably be a B or B+.

Joe Jackson – I’m the Man

ARTIST: Joe Jackson           I'm_the_Man_(Joe_Jackson_album_-_cover_art)

TITLE:  I’m the Man

YEAR RELEASED: 1979

CHART ACTION: #22 US, #12 UK

SINGLES: I’m the Man, It’s Different for Girls (#101 US, #5 UK), Kinda Kute

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: On Your Radio

LINEUP: Joe Jackson, Gary Sanford, Graham Maby, David Houghton

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Second album for Jackson is similar to his debut, but a few of the songs are a bit flatter or forced.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Storming out with “On Your Radio”, the first half of I’m the Man is equal or better to most everything on his debut. But on the second half, the quality slides a little bit.

This may be that Jackson ran out of writing steam. Tracks from this album were written about the same time and were in the band’s repertoire. It just seems that finally, after a side-and-a-half of excellence, he was coasting and repeating himself a bit.

The first side, though, is another quality set of tracks from Jackson. I just don’t listen to tracks 6-10 as much.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The cover shows Jackson portraying a spiv, a UK petty criminal.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a live B-side

GRADE: B+:  The first side is a definite A.

Joe Jackson – Look Sharp!

ARTIST: Joe Jackson

Joe Jackson - Look Sharp!

 

TITLE:  Look Sharp

YEAR RELEASED: 1979

CHART ACTION: #20 US, #40 UK

SINGLES: Is She Really Going Out with Him (#21 US, #13 UK), Sunday Papers, One More Time, Fools in Love

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Got the Time

LINEUP: Joe Jackson, Gary Sanford, Graham Maby, David Houghton

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: One of the UK’s “angry young men” releases his fantastic debut full of piss and vinegar.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: You’d think that this record would have been an instant smash, especially since it’s full of tracks that most new wave and UK punk aficionados know and love. But it took a while for the album and the band to get traction in their home country.

Now, we’ve got 11 tracks of relationships gone awry and love gone askew backed by a roaring band that’s loved and remembered to this day. Jackson’s songs are quite varied, leading from almost punk rock tempos to quirky arrangements (such as “Sunday Papers” and the big hit “Is She Really Going Out with Him”).

This is an album to grab for a taste of late 70’s London.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Jackson made money to record this album by playing in the cabaret band Koffee and Kream

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: A couple of B-sides are appended.

GRADE: A: Part of the required listening for late 70’s new wave.