Thursday, 26 July 2018

Joe Jackson - Live At The BBC (1979-1983)


Recorded live at concerts and sessions from 1979 to 1983.

Compared to “Joe Jackson Live 1980-1986”, I rate this as a superior album of Joe Jackson live material from that period.

The first four John Peel Sessions cuts are incredibly good. The sound quality, as on all the BBC live in the studio recordings, is superb. Stunning in fact, considering it is from 1979. The band’s version of “I’m The Man” is positively incendiary. “Fools In Love” is suitably cynical in its delivery. The remaining eleven tracks on this first disc are taken a Hammersmith Odeon concert in October 1982. Again, the sound quality is mind-blowingly good. Highlights are a rhythmic and pulsating “Look Sharp”; an exhilarating, once again addictively rhythmic “Cancer”; a beautiful, but bassily powerful “Real Men”; the incredible, insistent intro to “Fools In Love” and its subsequent hypnotic backing; then you get a series of tracks from the ”Night And Day” album, all performed incredibly well and with real enthusiasm and vitality. To think that punk/new wave was, by 1982, producing music like this is mightily impressive. In many ways, this was ahead of its time. It still sounds fresh today.

“It’s Different For Girls” is given a wonderful makeover - Jackson and “Joy”, a female singer he introduces only by her first name, duet fetchingly. An intriguing and inventive version of the song. “Steppin’ Out” is played truer to the original here than on “Live 1980-1986”, where it is frustratingly slowed down.

Disc Two, strangely enough goes further back in time for a “Rock Goes To College” gig from January 1980 which includes here en songs played with a funky verve and vigour, as suited the 79-80 milieu. These recordings have a real “live” atmosphere. Again, they out-do the “1980-86” considerably, particularly in sound quality. These are far superior, as indeed is the whole album. The final seven tracks are from January 1983 and “Sight And Sound” gig. There are some repetitions of songs, but “Another World” and “A Slow Song” are welcome inclusions.

I cannot praise these “Live At The BBC” recordings enough. They are all just so enjoyable - Thin Lizzy The Jam, Paul Weller, Big Country, Led Zeppelin, Blondie, Dr. Feelgood, Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, Queen, Tom Robinson, Dire Straits, Roxy Music, The Specials, The Selecter, Ian Dury.  I would recommend the lot. Oh, and the “Movement - Peel Sessions 77-79” as well.


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