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Some of Mr Weller's finest crafted songs...
on 25 June 2009
Considered for quite some time to be the awkward & dated part of the Weller back catalogue, even the most hardened fan of the Jam or his post 1990 work has to acknowledge now, that the style council period not only contained some finely crafted songs (he performed 'Shout to the top' on his recent 22 dreams tour) but was in fact an essential part of his growth as a song writer.
Weller could never have written modern classics such as Changing man, Broken stones and Wild Wood without this period of experimentation and reflection with his future wife Dee c. Lee, Future long time collaborator Steve White on drums and Mick Talbot on the keys.
Songs included are Have you ever had it blue, Long hot summer, Wanted, Shout to the top, Speak like a child (the style council debut single), You're the best thing, and the glaringly autobiographical My ever changing moods are all here, and wrapped around them are other Style Council classics which are thankfully mainly from the Style Council's most prolific output between 1983 and 1987.
For the now low cost of purchasing the album, one can almost forgive the inclusion of the plodding watered down house music cover version of Promised Land (presumably included on the basis of chart success) as in the humble opinion of this reviewer this would struggle to qualify as a classic single from the Weller collection.
So here we have it, with the odd exception, this is a superb collection of the Modfather's Style Council back catalogue all in one place, and for some this collection will be investigation enough of his 80's output, but the fact that in retrospect the quality of the songs written during this period now stand up on their own, and are worthy of fresh interpretation by the man himself in his live set, says a great deal about the man and his music. If you are a Weller fan than you owe it to yourself to get a copy of this and hear where the song writing roots of his current Mod revivalist musical direction were formed. Enjoy.