ARTIST: The Jam
TITLE: All Mod Cons
YEAR RELEASED: 1978
CHART ACTION: #204 US, #6 UK
SINGLES: David Watts (#25 UK), Down in the Tube Station at Midnight (#15 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: A Bomb on Wardour Street is a very powerful B side. A lot of these tracks were on Snap! which a lot of college kids had in the 80’s.
LINEUP: Paul Weller, Bruce Foxton, Rick Buckler
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The Jam move farther away from punk musically, but lyrically move towards some punk ideas about class and race and equality.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: This is where the Jam start to grow musically. Weller and company still have a few songs that roar in a hard fast tempo, but they also are very convincing on slower numbers like Mr. Clean, In the Crowd or English Rose. The cover of David Watts, while at the time was seemingly a cover for Weller’s writers block, fits the mood of the songs perfectly.
The last two cuts are the ones that are riveting and both talk about the far right skinheads that were destroying the Spirit of 77. “A” Bomb on Wardour Street is fury encapsulated in 2 ½ minutes and Down in the Tube Station at Midnight could be written this day about any immigrant (Weller was talking about Pakistanis, but it could be Iraqis, Afghanis, Syrians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Iranians, etc.).
Each and every song fits here – despite all of the issues in writing this album each song is fitting. It flows well, with each side having its own themes and motifs. There’s one track, Fly, that doesn’t quite work, but still this is a classic.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: They went into the studio with a bundle of songs by Foxton, but the producer (wisely) told them to hold off and wait to see if Weller would get his inspiration back. He did, obviously.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, but not streaming. But that’s OK, there are plenty of box sets and collections for your Jam B-side and demo needs.
GRADE: A: Almost, almost an A+, but one just OK cut means this missed that mark. Still, you gotta get this record.