Category: The Jam

The Jam – All Mod Cons

ARTIST: The Jam The_Jam_-_All_Mod_Cons
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.

The Jam – This Is the Modern World

ARTIST: The Jam    220px-The_Jam_-_This_is_the_Modern_World

TITLE: This Is the Modern World

YEAR RELEASED: 1977

CHART ACTION: #201 US, #22 UK

SINGLES: The Modern World (#36 UK).

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Probably only if you’re a fan or received a mix CD from me.

LINEUP: Paul Weller, Bruce Foxton, Rick Buckler

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The second Jam album was a critical disappointment initially, but upon a re-listen it’s actually a pretty good record. It shows Weller and the Jam transitioning from snarling punk towards a more true mod sound.

 

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After their first record, the Jam released a great single (All Around the World – added to the US release) and then soon after this album. The Modern World single seemed to put them in the same vein as their debut, and with a couple of less-than-stellar songs and some cuts that didn’t have the punk energy some wrote off this album.

It was a mistake. It’s not perfect and some of the songs aren’t that great. However, in listening for this project I had to do a re-assessment since I realized that a couple of my go-to Jam mix songs are ON this album. I was prepared to give it a C+ or something but about half of the cuts are top notch.

Even though the Jam were a relatively young band, they were transitioning on this album and that’s always a bit rough to some fans. But they really needed to move away from more of a punk towards a more nuanced sound as their music and ideas weren’t a great fit for that rigid of a genre.

NOTES & MINUTAE: After this album, Weller ran into a writer’s block. Foxton contributed the next single (the underrated News of the World) and it took a while for the group to gather the songs together for their next album.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION:  No. The various Jam singles and B-sides in this era are collected elsewhere.
GRADE: B: If they had time, I’d have put both the preceding and following single on the record and trim a few cuts. But it’s still better than I (and many) thought.

The Jam – In the City

ARTIST The Jam 220px-The_Jam_-_In_the_City
TITLE: In the City
YEAR RELEASED: 1977
CHART ACTION: #20 UK
SINGLES: In the City (#40 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Away from the Numbers, I’ve Changed My Address (if you have a Jam collection!)
LINEUP: Paul Weller, Bruce Foxton, Rick Buckler
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A trio hell bent on reviving the Who’s mod scene is a punk motif blasts out a dozen hot tunes full of energy, piss and vinegar.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: From the opening chords of Art School to the closing strains of Bricks and Mortar, this record is on fire. While it’s related to punk rock, it’s really a tribute to the first couple of Who albums. Weller definitely has the same melodic gifts as Pete Townshend.

They were young punks, as it were, but lyrically Weller should a depth in songs like Away from the Numbers that very few have in the 20’s, much less as teenagers. Sure, the politics of Time for Truth seem like a teenager’s take – but it’s still a well-crafted protest.

NOTES & MINUTAE: Soon after this charted, the Jam came out with the single All Around the World, which hit #13 in the UK. That single was their high water mark for two years.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Not that I’ve seen, but lots of Jam stand-alone singles and B-sides are compiled in many places.

GRADE: A : It’s an album I always go back to if I want to recapture the fire of my youth.