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paul weller
after advice from Tiggi, i have made this a 'beginners guide to Paul Weller'. from the music of the Jam, through The Style Council and beyond to his solo years,thread will consist of reviews of all studio albums released since 1977 up to the present,at the end of each 'era' i will include run through of all non-album singles with links to most tracks,where available, most links will be live versions,where possible as Weller has always been a better live artist than a studio artist, where solo live versions exist of Jam, TSC tracks i will use those because of the advances in quality over the last 20 or so yrs. feel free to comment on anythind you see or hear here....enjoy!

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THE JAM "In The City" 1977. vinyl/cd

its amazing how time flies as you get older,thus, i cant believe that this album is 33 years old. it was The Jam's debut set and from the first strikes Paul weller makes on his Rickenbacker on the opening track 'art school' you know you're in for almost forty minutes of 'power'. it is relentless, like the debuts of the Sex Pistols/Clash, also from 1977, possibly all three releases are the three best debut albums from the later half of the 70's,certainly by groups from the UK.
although the music is powerful and raw in the 'punk' sense of the word, the music is more sophisticated than the standard three chords used by the punk bands of the day, ie..the songs contain 'middle 8s'.
The Jam too, although closely related to punk,were smart dressers like their Mod idols of the 1960s.
Vocally and lyrically the songs are slightly immature,due to the fact of singer/songwriter Paul Weller's age(19).
ten of the twelve tracks are Weller originals,the remaining two tracks, 'batman theme' and 'slow down' are Who and Larry Williams covers, respectively. 'non-stop dancing',even though is loud and heavy has distinct resemblences to Motown, another of Paul Weller's influences.
the subject matter deals with, urban decay, street life, not dissimilar to those of Ray Davies.
the album reached #20 UK, 'in the city' #40 UK.


tracks: school**
2.i've changed my address**
3.slow down**
4.i got by in time**
5.away from the numbers**
6.batman theme** the city**
8.sounds from the street**
9.non-stop dancing**
10.time for truth**
11.takin' my love**
12.bricks and mortar**


rating 2.0

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THE JAM "this is the modern world' 1977. vinyl/cd

The Jam's second album, and their second album released in 1977, this album could have been so much better. the basic chord/melody structure of the songs was good but i feel as if they are incomplete....thanks to Polygram Records insisting The Jam rush back into the studio after their debut set to record another album....then Polygram had the balls to threaten dropping The Jam because it wasnt as good as it should have been.
there is only one great song on this album, 'standards', six good ones and five dud tracks. maybe its just the years that ends in '7'? because the style concil released the rubbish 'the cost of loving' in 1987 and Paul Weller released 'heavy soul' in 1997,which was also crap.
thankfully he didnt releae an album in 2007! LOL
this albums music is a lot less 'punkish' than 'in the city' and owes its sound to more of the Kinks and the Who 1965-68 sound.
Paul Weller wrote nine of these tracks,bass player Bruce Foxton wrote and sung on two of the tracks and there is one cover version....
Wilson Picket's 'midnight hour',PW's fascination/influence of soul music still exists to this day.
Foxton's 'dont tell them youre sane' was written after he saw the Nicholson movie 'one flew over the cookoos nest'. the album also contains paul weller's first two REAL love songs: 'tonight at noon' & 'i need you(for someone),lovely songs,just not finished to what they could have been.
the album reached #22 UK, the single 'the modern world' #36 UK.


best track: Standards
worst track: The Combine


1. the modern world** live
2. london traffic*
3. standards*** live from a window* audio
5. the combine*
6. dont tell them you're sane*
7. in the street today*
8. london girl*
9. i need you(for someone)** audio
10. here comes the weekend**
11. tonight at noon** live
12. in the midnight hour** audio


rating 1.5

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THE JAM "all mod cons" 1978.

The Jam's third album in eighteen months, and one that im sure messers Davies and Townshend would be proud to call their own!
Paul Weller's songwriting improved 1000% since the debut album,though originally it wasnt that way at all, as the original tracks laid down for this album were discarded as they werent an improvement on the second album. this album single handedly pretty much gave The Jam a contract for as long as they were willing to stay at Polygram Records, it was the album that Weller honed his lyrical and musical niche into a great songwriter, and the Jam as a great band.
11 of the 12 tracks were written by Weller,the remaining track, a Kinks cover(David Watts) sung by bassist Bruce Foxton. it was the first time PW songs dealt with 'charater' songs,something that Ray Davies did so brilliantly with the Kinks.
'english rose', a haunting ballad, is the best song on the album,and one that Weller still sings live now as a solo artist, and stands up well with his more recent music. theres songs cynical of the 9-5(mr.clean), about fame and its benefits-and loss of those benefits once it diminishes(to be someone). 'its too bad' is a lament love song in the vein of The Who's 'so sad about us'. 'tube station' is a song about Racism and racist attacks/bashings, the of the 'anarchic' theme 'a-bomb in wardour street'.if there is one Jam album everyone should listen to or buy,this is it.
the album reached #6 UK.
double 'a' side david watts b/w 'a' bomb in wardour street #25 UK
down in the tube station at midnight #15 UK


worst track: fly
best track: english rose


1.all mod cons** audio be someone(didnt we have a nice time)** live**
4.david watts* live
5.english rose*** live/paul weller solo version the crowd*** live/paul weller solo version
7.billy hunt** live/with 'a' bomb in wardour street & 'in the street today' from debut album
8.its too bad** audio*
10.the place i love**
11.'a' bomb in wardour street**
12.down in the tube station at midnight*** live


rating 2.1

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THE JAM "Setting Sons" 1979 cd/vinyl.

the music on this album cranked up a gear from the more stripped down sound of 'all mod cons' but it couldnt be called 'punk' as it was too melodic.
'setting sons' originally started life as a concept album of three friends from childhood seperated by war only to reunite years later to find that their lives had taken them in different directions, and that the bonds they shared as boys were now torn apart by work/family committments,and that their 'blood-brothers' values had all but gone. Good idea, but due to time constraints and a looming recording schedule approaching, Weller had to finish writing quicker than he anticipated. so only 'thick as thieves', 'little boy soldiers', 'wasteland' and 'burning sky' have some sort of connected concept.
of the other songs: 'girl on the phone' deals with an obsessive fan. 'private hell' deals with the middle age crisis of a married woman whose children have left home, hubby is always working she gets through each day in a 'valium haze'. the only Bruce Foxton track on the album,and possibly the finest track he ever wrote is 'smithers-jones', the story of a man who has spent years being loyal to his employer, suddenly finding himself out of work. 'saturdays kids' deals with the issue of weekend pastimes of teenagers,both boys and girls. 'the eton rifles' is a call for arms for all working class people to revolt against the upper classes of class riddled England. the final track 'heatwave' is a cover of the Martha & the Vandellas motown classic. as a footnote, Mick Talbot of 'Merton Parkas' played keyboards on two tracks on this album, he would later join paul Weller in forming The Style Council.
overall it is a quality album by a vastly improving songwriter and vocalist.
the album reached #4 UK, #137 US. the single 'the eton rifles' became The jam's first UK top 10 hit peaking at #3.

worst track: no one track stands out as being bad
best track: Private Hell.


1.girl on the phone** audio
2.thick as thieves** audio with lyrics
3.private hell*** live
4.little boy soldiers** audio with lyrics
5.wasteland** audio
6.burning sky** audio
7.smithers-jones** audio
8.saturday's kids** audio
9.the eton rifles** live,paul weller solo version
10.(love is like a)heatwave** live


rating 2.1

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THE JAM "Sound Affects" 1980.

following the double 'a' side #1 single of "Goin' Underground b/w Dreams Of Children" in march of 1980 The Jam returned to the studio to record their fifth album since mid 1977.
the result was 'sound affects', an eleven track Beatle-esque sounding album inspired musically by the Fab Four's "Revolver" set, however, the initial thing that sticks out when listening to the album is the brilliant bass lines and percussion work of Buce Foxton and Rick Buckler. this is evident from the opning track 'pretty green' and carries through the best part of the album. Again, Weller's lyrics have improved to almost perfection, apart from the instrumental track 'music for the last couple' the album is very good,allbeit with a rewrite of the Beatles 'taxman' (start!).Weller's lyrics still deal with social issues, from the rise of fascism in europe to love.
he takes a swipe at John Lydon on 'scrape away' for being a pessimist and cynical about life. the song 'thats entertainment' reached #21 in the UK as an import from Germany.
the album reached #2 UK, #72 US, the single 'start!' #1 UK, #75US.

worst track: music for the last couple
best tracks: man in the cornershop & monday


1.pretty green*** live/paul weller solo
2.monday*** audio
3.but im different now** live
4.set the house ablaze**
5.start!** live
6.that's entertainment*** live
7.dreamtime** in the cornershop*** live/paul weller solo for the last couple*
10.boy about town**
11.scrape away**


rating 2.3

to be continued,next..."the gift" 1982.
Great job, Lloyd.

I wonder what happened to In The City ?!
Tiggi Wrote:Great job, Lloyd.

yes it is.
I've managed to recover your In The City post from the site Archive. Hope you don't mind...
Tiggi Wrote:I've managed to recover your In The City post from the site Archive. Hope you don't mind...

of course i dont mind Tiggi, i appreciate your help and thanks for your PM about Archive page i will have a wander around it on sunday.

thanks Music Head for your positive comment also
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THE JAM "the gift" 1982.

'sound affects',the previous album was released in 1980,1981 produced two stand alone singles and Paul Weller suffered from a breakdown also in 1981,brought on by the stress and pressure of being famous....and the apparent 'spokesman for a generation',whereby he had to watch everything he said as teens around the UK and some parts of europe were hanging on his every utterence.
come 1982 The Jam were back in the studio recording their sixth album in six years... but there was discontent in the camp, Weller wanted to explore more styles of music namely soul,blues and jazz,Foxton and Buckler were opposed to this expansion of their successful sound. Weller also felt confined and boxed in having to write songs for his three piece band and didnt feel his bandmates could play the styles he envisioned.
so what we have here is a good album,but one made through malice(pardon the pun). the album ended up being a hybrid of the Jams traditional sound and soul/funk beats. most of the song themes deal with 'being stuck in a groove/rut and confusion.the album cover even shows three seperate images of the band members,signifying where the band were at...three seperate entities.
'ghosts' is a slow haunting electric guitar/vocal track summing up his feelings perfectly. 'precious' is a very good funk based track inspired by Curtis Mayfield.'running on the spot',as the title suggests, about not being albe to move out of comfort zone. 'carnation' is the best track on the album with lines like :thought that i was a devil,but im an angel waiting for my wings' which sums up the perceptions of its writer from his point of view and those of his cohorts. 'town called malice' encompases the theme of the entire album into just over three minutes of near perfect pop music via a Motown beat.'thats entertainment' from the previous album was the first import single to make the Uk singles charts,'just who is the 5o'clock hero' was released in Europe as a single but not the UK, it became the second single to make the UK charts reaching #8 as an import,which shows just how fanatical Jam fans were in their pursuit of wanting everything paul Weller. in fact the three tracks that dont cut the mustard are the ones that sound like The Jam's trademark sound,so either Weller wasnt interested in pursuing that route and was just doing it to appease his bandmates or he had outgrown that style of writing.
the album reached #1UK/#82US. the double 'a' side single 'town called malice b/w precious' reached #1 in the Uk charts, two interesting facts about the single are:
1. only the second time in 'top of the pops' history that a band were asked to perform both sides of a #1 hit on the same show(the firts being Beatles 'day tripper/we can work it out'.
2. the first single to top Uk charts to be released in conjunction with a 12" single version containing alternate versions of the 7" single, in this case live versions. incidently Stranglers who were #2 in the charts at the time with 'golden brown' protested to the BMI about this saying that it was the same people buying both versions and not double the people purchasing the single...i think they were right in their assumption.


worst track: circus
best track: carnation


1.happy together** live
2.ghosts*** live
3.precious** live
4.just who is the five O'clock hero** live
5.trans global unity express* live
6.running on the spot** live
7.circus* live
8.the planner's dream goes wrong** audio
9.carnation*** live
10.a town called malice*** live
11.the gift* live


rating 2.0

to be continued,next...the non album singles and essential b-sides of note.
This is excellent CH !

It is one of the greatest strengths of this site that we can post in depth and well researched articles such as these..................Well done !Cool
Nice to be able to go back to trust and friendship!!!!!!!!!

It's a mixed up sensation this being alive
Oh! it wears a man down into the ground
It's the strangest elation
I can't describe it
Oh it leaves a man weary
It makes a man frown.
.............................Chris Simpson ( "Mixed Up Sensations" 1975 Martin's Cafe )
gryphon Wrote:This is excellent CH !

It is one of the greatest strengths of this site that we can post in depth and well researched articles such as these..................Well done !Cool

thanks G-man. im not blowing my own trumpet but i probably know as much about Weller as you do about Beatles,tiggi with his Floyd etc. we all have our strengths and should let others in our knoweledge,just as we learn from everyone else.
THE JAM: non album singles:

1977: all around the world**: released between "in the city" & "the modern world" albums reached #13 on UK charts live

1978 news of the world*: released inbetween "the modern world" & "all mod cons" albums,written and sung by bass player Bruce Foxton, it reached #27 on the Uk charts video

1979 strange town***: released after "all mod cons" album and prior to "setting sons" album,has a very good beat and musically it is between the sound of both mentioned albums, it reached #15 in the UK, and caused minor ripples on airwaves across Europe. video

1979 when you're young***: a song about the struggles of working class kids in Thatcherite Britain, reached #17 in UK charts video

1980 goin' underground*** b/w dreams of children***:two songs both musically different, 'underground' a Who sounding rocker politically tinged lyrics, 'dreams' is a psychadellic track complete with backwards guitars.Paul Weller wanted to release 'dreams' as the 'A' side, Polygram 'underground'...the comprimise saw release the single as a double 'a' side. the single became The Jam's first UK #1 hit
goin' underground video
dreams of children live

1981 funeral pyre*: a horrible song as it has no melody,a terrible tune and a lousy video to accompany the song, this song has writing credits as 'the jam', i think the bass lines and pounding/rolling drums are good though,deffinately not the best Jam single,it did reach a respectable #4 in the UK charts,IMO those sales were helped greatly by the name of the band. live

1981 absolute beginners*: another shocker of a single featuring brass instruments in the mix,the only bonus of this single was the classic 'tales from the riverbank' on the b-side,again,this song reach #4 on the UK charts,and likewise,the name "the jam" probably didnt do its sales any harm. live

1982 the bitterest pill(i ever had to swallow)***: if 'the gift' album didnt express Paul Weller's desire to change course on his musical journey, then this one certainly did, a great soul based song complete with falsetto vocals and a great video to boot. this song deserved to get to the top of the charts,it stalled at #2,backing vocals to complete the soul sound were by then unknown singer Tracie Young who went on to achieve moderate success on Paul Weller's 'respond' record label over the following two years. audio

1982 the beat surrender**:the Jam's final single before the split at the end of 1982,and aptly titled,this one debuted at #1 in the UK, becoming the third Jam single to do so,prior to that only 70s rockers Slade had achieved this feat. the lyrics,in hindsight, mention that change is coming and PW will be back again. live
blow that trumpet..
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we need more members like you.

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