Purchase Sound Affects by The Jam
The Jam: Start!
The world really doesn’t need another music blog written by a fifty-plus year old amateur. But this old guy found out a few years ago that he really likes writing about music, and that there are even people out there who seem to appreciate his stuff.
After writing for Star Maker Machine for a few years (as J. David), and being co-moderator for a while, I decided that I didn’t want to be limited to the format of that great blog. Also, SMM is supposed to be a group blog, but I was writing more than a quarter of the posts, and felt pressure to produce content so that there was regularly new material on the blog, because many of the other writers were less consistent. I also write for another excellent blog, Cover Me, which has given me the opportunity to write for a larger audience, but only about cover songs, which is fun, but is still limiting.
So, I decided to start this thing, and my plan is to write whenever something piques my interest. There will be longer pieces, like the ones I write for SMM, shorter items that might pop into my head, maybe some reviews, interviews, whatever. But they will all be tied in some way to music.
Let’s kick it off, then, with The Jam (but not “Kick Out The Jams,” which is a wholly different thing).
In England, The Jam were huge, and Paul Weller is an icon. In the U.S., not so much. Was there something about their music that was so specifically English that the quality of their music barely made a dent here? It’s a toughie, but I remember playing The Jam on the radio pretty often. Sound Affects, which came out in 1980, became a particular favorite, filled with tight songs with an undercurrent of anger or despair that were affecting. “That’s Entertainment,” with its understated seething intensity, remains one of those songs that make me shudder whenever I hear it.
But in honor of it being the first post here, I decided to highlight “Start!” which, yes, completely rips off The Beatles’ “Taxman.” It’s about as overt a theft as you will find in music (at least in the pre-sampling era), and I often played the two songs back to back.
Now some people think that the song is about the lack of communication in the world, and others think that it is about a one-night stand, neither of which are particularly appropriate messages for a blog that hopes to engage its readers for more than a quickie. Nevertheless, it does seem like a good place to start.
I’ve made a vow to myself not to go to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame until the Jam are inducted. Which I’m afraid means I’ll never go to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. But dammit, if an act is huge everywhere in the world except America, that shouldn’t be held against them…