Forming a band? Try this blueprint for assuring integrity forever:
Hit the mark - Call a halt - Then fuck off.
The Jam recorded for 5 years (1977-82). In that time, they changed the lives of many, whilst (incidentally) becoming the biggest band in the UK.
They were accused at times (Paul Weller in particular) of being fashionably nihilistic, inherently miserable and steeped in unremitting cynicism. That, my friend, is complete bollocks. (I’m an old curmudgeon – so I know what I’m talking about) Besides, it is a fine line between cynicism and reality!
Much of the message of the music of The Jam was, in fact (to scattergun a phrase or two), about bringing hope into hearts, cuddling a warm girl, and dancing the night away with the gift of life. Because, when all is said and done, life is a drink – and you get drunk … when you’re young.
In the days when records had 2 sides, The Jam released strong ‘B Sides’ - which, by design, were rarely found on their albums. Tales From The Riverbank was c/w the single ‘Absolute Beginners’ in 1981. The stark contrast of a picture sleeve depicting grey damp terraced houses in industrial England was firmly against the narrative backdrop of ‘Tales From The Riverbank’ which is a nostalgic lament to days with ‘no fears or worries …just a golden country’. And, as this Blog is worldwide, you certainly don’t need to be British to appreciate the song’s message. I guess it works in the US, Europe, South America or even Japan.
As the sun finally breaks through an interminable winter of discontent, stick this simple spirit-lifter on loud, and warm your old bones and your bitter, bitter soul.
This track can be found on many of the myriad of Jam compilation packages. Try your usual outlet for the more recent ‘The Sound of The Jam’ (‘03), or ‘Snap’, ‘Extras’, The Jam at The BBC, or the mighty box set ‘Direction,Reaction,Creation’. For more info or memories Google ‘The Jam’ or try www.thejam.org or www.thejamfan.net. Dig The Old Breed!