Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Joe Jackson - This Is It


Where do I start?  I've been a fan since Look Sharp, so for many years.  And I've seen him perform a few times too, so excuse me if I just wrap up all the experiences into a little abll and throw them at you.

So one time Sheldon, Ruth, Deb and myself (hi guys!) were going to see the man at Sydney's Entertainment Centre.  I had been responsible for the ticket purchase, and had secured what I though were great seats.  We assembled in someone's car before the gig to partake of (ahem)  what I believe the youngsters of the day would call a doobie.

Some time later we realised we'd missed the support act and would have to get our skates on.  So we stumbled into the venue and I confidently led everyone to what I thought were our seats.  Despite a feeling of unease (on the side of the stage? Really?) we got comfortable.  And then an usher came along with another group of people and pointed out we were approximately 90 degrees away from where our actual seats were, facing the stage and a lot closer to the action.  We sat down just as he walked out.  Whew!  And I really can't remember if it was that concert or one of his others that I saw Mr Jackson's angry side.  At one time he stopped playing because the audience wasn't clapping in time (!) and at another he was using a piece of equipment to play recorded loops.  It malfunctioned.  He destroyed it onstage.  You coulda heard a pin drop.

But despite being Captain Grumpy, I love this man's work.  Different for Girls, Real Men, Is She Really Going Out With Him?  They're all here, they're all great, so just...



One of the things writing this blog had us wishing for was a turntable as we still have quite a few pieces of vinyl.  So Mine found a second hand one (a really good one too) and we found a space for it.  But because we own a modern amplifier, we discovered we needed a phono preamp of some sort.  Let me tell you this straight up - if you're thinking of doing the same thing, don't, under any circumstances, buy a cheap preamp.  We learnt the hard way.  So despite having a turntable, we are unable to use it until we find a better preamp so we can run it through our system.

What does all this have to do with Joe Jackson?  Well, I would have liked to have said that listening to This Is It made me go and get Look Sharp out of the vinyl collection and play it as I hadn't heard it in years.  The cover of said album informed my sartorial tastes for a number of years to come (not that I wore white winkle-pickers).  This album, along with a few others, were the albums that chased me over the years, constantly grounding me with brilliant song writing.  Joe might have a reputation for being a curmudgeon but he writes such truly great songs, it is easy to forgive his temperament.

This Is It is a retrospective of the ten years Jackson spent with A&M Records (1979 to 1989) and includes some of the best tracks from this period.  While I love the hits, it is the lesser known tracks like Beat Crazy, Steppin' Out and Don't Wanna Be Like That that make me happy we have this collection.  And the live version of Got The Time is almost worth the price of the disc.  Anthrax were never any competition...


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