Wednesday, September 05, 2007

All Mods Cons...Show # 161

The Jam were band that came out around the time of punk, but did not really sound like the punk bands of the time. Forming in their earlier incarnation in the 70s, The Jam started out as a four piece with Paul Weller (guitar/vocals), Steve Brookes (guitar), Bruce Foxton (bass), and Rick Buckler on drums; Steve Brookes eventually left the band and they became a three piece with Paul Weller covering all of the guitar and vocals. The band originally started out playing classic American rock such as Chuck Berry, but that changed when Paul Weller heard The Who. After hearing "My Generation" in particular, Weller and the band then switched directions taking on a more mod look, becoming obsessed with mod bands such as The Who, The Small Faces, and dressing in tailored suits. The band would gain a small following in London around 1976-77, after Sex Pistols started playing in the UK influencing tons of people to start their own groups.

In 1977, The Jam got a record deal with Polydor Records and in April they released their first single "In the City". It was a song that was about police brutality. The song sounds influenced by Sex Pistols song "Holidays in the Sun". In May of 1977, the band released their first full length album titled, In the City. The album was a mix of covers of R&B and Motown bands as well as some Paul Weller originals. The album was fast with the energy of punk despite the fact that a lot of the bands influences were elsewhere differing from the other bands coming out of Britain at this time. "All Around the World" would make it into the UK top ten, after doing a British tour, the band went to work on their next album.

This is the Modern World would come out in the summer of 1977. The album had a few good tracks, but is looked at as not their best effort. Many critics said the album was a repetition of the bands first (Weller has even stated later on, that he had a lack of interest while making the album). Bassist Bruce Foxton contributed two songs to the album "London Traffic" and "Don't Tell Them You're Sane", but Weller would still be the bands main song writer. The band then embarked on their first US tour, it was not successful.

In 1978, All Mods Cons was released. This album was more of a success for the band, going to # 6 on the UK charts. The band first single was "News of the World" a song written and sung by the bassist Foxton; It went to # 27 of the UK Singles chart. The album showed the band going in a different direction than their first two albums going in a more pop direction, drawing in influences of The Kinks ("David Watts" is covered for this album). The album also contained the songs "A Bomb in Wardour Street" (about Weller's sour views on punk and the violence that came with it), and "Down in the Tube Station at Midnight" (about violence in Britain). "Billy Hunt" was a fast paced track with climbing basslines, and the acoustic "English Rose" was actually rejected by Polydor for release as singles. All Mods Cons contained only nine tracks originally and is seen as the bands best album by many. In 2006 a deluxe edition of the album was released which contained demos, B-sides and a DVD documentary.

In 1979, Setting Sons was released. The album was a politically themed album featuring different more produced production than the bands previous efforts. The album was a smash hit in the UK going to # 3 on the charts, but in the US it went to # 137 on the Billboard 200 charts. "Eton Rifles" , and "Little Boy Soldiers" were politically themed tracks, it also contained "Heat Wave" which is a cover of a Motown song. "Going Underground" was a single released for this album, but not actually on the album, and it went to # 1 on the UK charts. The album is seen as another step up for the band, but the band would jump into the Motown and American R&B sound more heavily on their next release Sound Affects.

In 1980, "Start!" was released as a single for the bands next album Sound Affects. The song sounded a lot like the Beatles song "Taxman", and went to #1. The album was a mix of Revolver-era Beatles and Off the Wall-era Michael Jackson. The album would also bring in influences of post-punk, and funk. The album went to # 2 in the UK and # 27 in the US. "Monday", and "Man in the Corner Shop" were obviously showing off the bands Revolver-era Beatles influence. along with "That's Entertainment!" an acoustic number written about the British working class lifestyle. The band then released two non-album singles "Funeral Pyre" and "Absolute Beginners" in 1981, showing more R&B influence than before.

The Gift came out in 1982. This album was the bands last and it was quite different. It brought in influences of soul, funk, and American R&B. The album went to #1 on the UK charts. "A Town Called Malice" was a huge hit for the band, it sounds like a Motown Supremes song. The bands second single "The Bitterest Pill" went to # 2, and the band had one final single "Beat Surrender" which was another # 1. The band did one final tour in the UK, then broke up. After The Jam Paul Weller formed the band Style Council. The band had a few hit singles then broke up toward the beginning of the 90s. Weller then went solo. In the 90's Weller also played the lead guitar and solo on Oasis's "Champagne Supernova", who cited The Jam as a big influence.

In 1997, Direction Reaction Creation was released, it was a five CD Jam box set. Rumours started to fly in 2006 of a possible Jam reunion when Weller and Foxton met backstage. Foxton and Jam drummer Rick Buckler revealed that in autumn of 2007, The Jam will reform for a tour, but there's a catch Paul Weller doesn't want any part of it. So the remaining members of the band will play some shows without Weller and are rumoured to be working on a new album to come out in 2008, once again without Paul Weller. The Jam were a popular band in the UK, but never made it successfully in America. The band started inspired by mod and punk and went into a Motown, soul, and R&B direction and were influential on many bands in the nineties.

Here's what was played:

1. XTC – are you receiving me
2. The Stranglers – Sweden (all quiet on the eastern front)
3. The Swingers – five o’clock shadow
4. Bored Games - joe 90
5. The Stones – something new
6. Boys Next Door – somebody’s watching
7. Radio Birdman – hanging on
8. Burger Boys – shake
9. Vindicators – you’re too much
10. The Diodes – shapes of things to come
11. Richard Hell & The Voidoids – new pleasure
12. The Drones – movement
13. The Jam - the place I love
14. The Jam – eton rifles
15. Gruesomes – leave my kitten alone
16. The Government – telephobia
17. Crash 80s – thrills
18. Radio 4 – caroline
19. Air Traffic Control - what stays
20. The Numbers – I want to believe
21. Albert Hammond Jr. – in transit
22. Television – ain’t that nothin’ (single version)
23. Only Ones – language problem
24. Klark Kent – away from home
25. Air Traffic Control - realize
26. Talking Heads - I wish you wouldn't say that

Jam Videos:

All Around the World (Marc Bolan Show 1977)
In the City (So It Goes Show)
Art School
In the City/A Bomb on Wardour Street/Billy Hunt (OGWT 1978)
Down At the Tube Staion At Midnight (TOTP)
Going Underground (TOTP)
That's Entertainment!
Eton Rifles (Something Else Show 1979)
Town Called Malice
Funeral Pyre (Live on Swedish TV 1981)
Beat Surrender

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