Friday, 15 July 2016

"Collected" by JOE JACKSON (2010 Universal [Holland] 3CD Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"…Step Into Another World…"

“Collected” doesn’t look like much but man does it deliver. There’s a lot of JOE JACKSON on here so let’s get to the white winklepickers and dodgy watches…

Euro-released September 2010 – "Collected" by JOE JACKSON on Universal Music 533 069-5 (Barcode 600753306956) is a 3CD set out of the Netherlands and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (74:46 minutes)
1. Fools In Love (Album Version)
2. Is She Really Going Out With Him?
3. Look Sharp! (Album Version)
4. Got The Time
5. Sunday Papers
6. It’s Different For Girls (tracks 1 to 6 are from his debut LP “Look Sharp!” released January 1979 in the UK on A&M Records AMLH 64743)
7. I’m The Man
8. On Your Radio
9. Get That Girl (tracks 7 to 9 are from his 2nd album “I’m The Man” released October 1979 in the UK on A&M Records AMLH 64794)
10. Tilt [see 15]
11. Biology
12. Mad At You
13. Beat Crazy
14. One To One (tracks 11 to 14 are from his 3rd album “Beat Crazy” released October 1980 in the UK on A&M Records AMLH 64837)
15. The Harder They Come (tracks 15 and 10 are the A&B-sides of a non-album 7” single released June 1980 in the UK on A&M Records AMS 7536. The A is a Jimmy Cliff cover – the B-side a JJ original)
16. Jack, You’re Dead
17. Jumpin’ Jive
18. Is You Is Or is You Ain’t My Baby
19. Five Guys Named Moe
20. What’s The Use Of Getting Sober (When You’re Gonna Get Drunk Again)
Tracks 16 to 20 are from his 4th LP “Joe Jackson’s Jumpin’ Jive” released June 1981 in the UK on A&M Records AMLH 65830. The whole album is cover versions of Forties and Fifties Louis Jordan Rhythm ‘n’ Blues hits

Disc 2 (78:00 minutes):
1. Another World
2. Steppin’ Out
3. Real Men
4. A Slow Song
5. Breaking Us In Two (tracks 1 to 5 are his 5th album “Night And Day” released June 1982 in the UK on A&M Records AMLH 64906)
6. Cosmopolitan
7. 1-2-3 Go (This Town’s A Fairground)
8. Laundromat Monday (tracks 6 to 8 are from his 6th album “Mike’s Murder O.S.T.”) released September 1983 in the UK on A&M Records AMLX 64931)
9. Cha Cha Loco
10. Be My Number Two
11. You Can’t Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want) (tracks 9 to 11 are from his 7th album “Body And Soul” released March 1984 in the UK on A&M Records AMLX 65000)
12. Happy Ending (featuring Elaine Caswell) (April 1984 UK 7” single on A&M Records AM 186)
13. Not Here, Not Now (from “Body And Soul” as per tracks 9 to 11)
14. Will Power (from his album “Will Power” released April 1987 in the UK on A&M Records AMA 3908)
15. (He’s A) Shape In A Drape (from the soundtrack LP “Tucker – A Man And His Dreams O.S.T.” released November 1988 in the UK on A&M Records AMA 3917)
16. Nineteen Forever
17. Down To London (tracks 16 and 17 are from his album “Blaze Of Glory” released April 1989 on A&M Records AMA 5249)

Disc 3 (77:05 minutes):
1. The Human Touch
2. Me And You (Against The World) (tracks 1 and 2 are from his album “Blaze Of Glory” released April 1989 on A&M Records AMA 5249)
3. When You’re Not Around
4. Stranger Than Fiction (tracks 3 and 4 from his album “Laughter & Lust” released April 1991 on Virgin America VUSLP 34)
5. Glamour And Pain
6. Happyland (tracks 5 and 6 are from “Night And Day II” released on CD October 2000 on Sony Jazz SK 89621)
7. Too Tough
8. King Pleasure Time (tracks 7 and 8 are from “Rain” released January 2008 on CD)
9. Come On (Live) (exclusive track from the compilation album “Propaganda – No Wave II” released 1979 in the UK on A&M Records AMLE 64786)
10. Right And Wrong (Live)
11. It’s A Big World (Live)
12. Forty Years (Live)
13. Home Town (Live) (tracks 10 to 13 are from his double live set “Big World” released March 1986 in the UK on A&M Records JWA 3)
14. Is She Really Going Out With Him (A Capella Version)
15. Jumpin Jive (Live) (tracks 14 and 15 are from his double live set “Live 1980/86” released May 1988 on A&M Records AMA 6706)
16. Summer In The City
17. Medley (The In Crowd/Down To London- Live) (tracks 16 and 17 are from “Summer In The City: Live In New York” released June 2000 on CD on Sony Classical SK 89237)
18. Stranger Than You (Live 2 Meter Sessies) (from “Night And Day II” released on CD October 2000 on Sony Jazz SK 89621)

You get a four-way foldout digipak with a piano on one flap and a saxophone on the other and a very basic 8-page booklet with a 2-page catch up on his career. But that’s not why I’m here. I’ve found a strange “Collected” anomaly that I’ve mentioned before (see STEELY DAN, J.J. CALE and GERRY RAFFERTY). These Universal compilations come out of Europe (the Netherlands and Germany) - mastered by QS Sound Lab (no names) - and I’d swear the audio is better than previously released issues anywhere else. I tried the 10cc set but there was no improvement. But on this Joe Jackson set its far more pronounced. The audio is gorgeous and beautifully rendered.

Fans will also know that the "This Is It: The A&M Years 1979-1989" 2CD anthology (reissued as "Gold" in 2008) is the last half decent remasters of his material – and both end at 1989. But as you can see with this tasty number and the detailed track lists I’ve provided above – it extends way beyond and is so much the better for it.

Tracks like “Down To London” and “Me And You (Against The World)” are typical of him – radio-friendly boppers with an irresistibly catchy sing-along chorus and sharp lyrics. But when he slows it down and even goes all Sloppy Joe on the romance front – Joe Jackson has a way with a melody and words that cut like a knife – even be ‘too’ real for comfort. This started happening on the “Night And Day” LP with “Real Men” and “Breaking Us In Two” and continued “Be My Number Two” “Not Here, Not Now”. It’s the same for later gems like “The Human Touch” with its Eleanor Rigby strings and gorgeous melody/words.

The first CD is chockfull of fantastic New Wave three-minutes blasts - most of which come from his brilliant debut “Look Sharp” – tracks like the smarmy “Fools In Love”, the biting “Sunday Papers” and the frantic “Got The Time” still sound vital like the first Police album. “On Your Radio” with its harmonica/guitar/bass combo was the kind of single we chewed up back in the day. But although I love Louis Jordan (see my review for the Bear Family box set) – Jackson’s “Jumpin’ Jive” project still doesn’t sound right (sound quality is ace though). Things of course took a massive leap forward with “Night And Day” – a truly sophisticated piece of work. Nice to hear that Mike’s Murder track too. He continued on that tack – his “Blaze Of Glory” is a bit of a forgotten classic.

You might think the inclusion of ‘live’ stuff is perfect compilation filler – but in the case of Joe Jackson (and the compilers) – it’s different for us (never mind girls). His incendiary version of Chuck Berry’s “Come On” is fantastic as is the brilliantly clever Acapella vocal take on “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” – the same song just told in a clever new way. The “Big World” 3-sided double-album was all new material but just to make things difficult (or fresh as he felt) it was recorded ‘live’ – and again tracks like “Right And Wrong” and “Forty Years” are stunning stuff (could easily have been “Night And Day” outtakes). The cheeky Brit even has the nerve to cover The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Summertime In The City” in front of a New York audience – but his combo of 1965’s “In Crowd” with his own “Down To London” (from 1989) is bloody genius (you can feel the audience digging it).

Who would have thought that England’s sleepy Burton-On-Trent could produce such consistent brilliance. Like his contemporaries Graham Parker and Nick Lowe – Joe Jackson has always been bubbling under with album after album of class – looked on as ‘that guy’ by a public unwilling to keep up with his latest spin - yet beloved by fans. And yet with 55 tracks across three CDs – you get the strong feeling that this fab Euro compilation is only scraping the surface of a rock you should have looked under long ago. Looking bloody sharp my son…

PS: Artists in this Universal Euro Series are:
The Allman Brothers, The Band, J.J. Cale, The Carpenters, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Cuby + Blizzards, Fairport Convention, Golden Earring, John Hiatt, Joe Jackson, The Moody Blues, Gerry Rafferty Stealers Wheel and The Humblebums, Shocking Blue, Steely Dan, Cat Stevens, 10cc., Thin Lizzy and Gino Vannelli.

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