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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's like a personal friend
I had to write as I passed, saw the three stars this album had been given and thought it a little remiss not to respond. Yes it's early James stuff, but there's still some great sing along stuff. "Scarecrow" with it's bass and swing along, "So many ways" & "Why so close" (A different, slower and less chaotic version of the early B side) with the harmonies going on, and...
Published on 28 April 2002 by john.whitfield2@btinternet.com

versus
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A James You Perhaps Didn't Know?
Back in 1983 Manchester fourpiece James supported fellow Mancs The Smiths on a UK tour. They were a quirky (always quirky) folkish combo with a very manic edge. Two EPs followed on the Factory label, but they put off this, their first album until 1985.

The James of the 1980s were a million miles away from the James of the 1990s. They were indie stars without...
Published on 22 Nov 2000 by Nettlewine


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's like a personal friend, 28 April 2002
This review is from: Stutter (Audio CD)
I had to write as I passed, saw the three stars this album had been given and thought it a little remiss not to respond. Yes it's early James stuff, but there's still some great sing along stuff. "Scarecrow" with it's bass and swing along, "So many ways" & "Why so close" (A different, slower and less chaotic version of the early B side) with the harmonies going on, and "Johnny Yen" - good enough for them to keep playing right until the end. It's music from another era of James - before they lost some of their soul in some god forsaken stadium in America. It's James at the International, the Hacienda, an album intimate and fitting for that smaller gig - Come home?!?!?
PS: Also try the James Book - by Stuart Maconie, never thought I'd get into it but it is a great read, perhaps 'cos I'm from Manchester (hey, and that's with out the "d") and there's lots of focus on early events but it is good.
Cheers
John
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Idiosyncracy in a nutshell..., 11 Nov 2002
This review is from: Stutter (Audio CD)
...and yet...
Yes, it is true that this is a different James from the current (most recent, whatever) line-up. For the purposes of clarity and decency, the line-up of James during the Stutter era was Tim Booht (frontman, vocals), Jim Glennie (bass, backing vocals), Larry Gott (guitar) and Gavan Whelan (drums).
It is also true that the modern James, with a violinist and keyboards (not to mention more guitars), does have a diffeent sound.
Yet Stutter remains defiantly a James album. It was, after all, their very first. Their folk roots are also very, very clear in this album - the exultant "Scarecrow" starts with a bass line which almost sounds as if it could be something by Bob Dylan. There are many, many tracks like this in Stutter - bland, one may think, on first listening.
But there is something in Stutter which puts one into a slight sense of unease. "So Many Ways" is a fast, racing track with a repeated, addictive chorus. "Skullduggery" is an odd track with insane lyrics (the entire album starts with "An earwig crawls into my ear / makes a meal of the wax and hairs") - indeed, Tim Booth is, apparently, still worried about his state of mind at the time of recording.
There are, I believe, shades of future James tracks - and indeed entire albums - in Stutter. The aforementioned So Many Ways could even be a premonition of equally fast and addictive single "Sometimes". In fact, throughout the whole album there is something beautiful there - struggling to be set free; to burst out, perhaps. James' music will always be like that.
The best example to demonstrate this is a little track named "Johnny Yen" - compare it to a modern live recording of the same. It is starkly different. Yet it is the same track - all the way through. James is James, let us remember that.
This album, while it may always be different, is the start of something oddly provocative and brilliantly idiosyncratic. And who cares what it is, exactly?
It's James. Enjoy James - that's what they're here for.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Idiosyncracy in a nutshell..., 11 Nov 2002
This review is from: Stutter (Audio CD)
...and yet...
Yes, it is true that this is a different James from the current (most recent, whatever) line-up. For the purposes of clarity and decency, the line-up of James during the Stutter era was Tim Booht (frontman, vocals), Jim Glennie (bass, backing vocals), Larry Gott (guitar) and Gavan Whelan (drums).
It is also true that the modern James, with a violinist and keyboards (not to mention more guitars), does have a diffeent sound.
Yet Stutter remains defiantly a James album. It was, after all, their very first. Their folk roots are also very, very clear in this album - the exultant "Scarecrow" starts with a bass line which almost sounds as if it could be something by Bob Dylan. There are many, many tracks like this in Stutter - bland, one may think, on first listening.
But there is something in Stutter which puts one into a slight sense of unease. "So Many Ways" is a fast, racing track with a repeated, addictive chorus. "Skullduggery" is an odd track with insane lyrics (the entire album starts with "An earwig crawls into my ear / makes a meal of the wax and hairs") - indeed, Tim Booth is, apparently, still worried about his state of mind at the time of recording.
There are, I believe, shades of future James tracks - and indeed entire albums - in Stutter. The aforementioned So Many Ways could even be a premonition of equally fast and addictive single "Sometimes". In fact, throughout the whole album there is something beautiful there - struggling to be set free; to burst out, perhaps. James' music will always be like that.
This album, while it may always be different, is the start of something oddly provocative and brilliantly idiosyncratic. And who cares what it is, exactly?
It's James. Enjoy James - that's what they're here for.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A James You Perhaps Didn't Know?, 22 Nov 2000
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This review is from: Stutter (Audio CD)
Back in 1983 Manchester fourpiece James supported fellow Mancs The Smiths on a UK tour. They were a quirky (always quirky) folkish combo with a very manic edge. Two EPs followed on the Factory label, but they put off this, their first album until 1985.

The James of the 1980s were a million miles away from the James of the 1990s. They were indie stars without really selling big. They were NME front cover darlings -- but only in silhouette. They were branded loony Buddhists.

There is a mania about this album, there is an edge, and there is a thinness which really appeals and no longer exist in the band of today.

Sure enough, the album probably suffers from not having those early singles on them. The inclusion of "What's The World", "Folklore" and "Hymn From A Village" would have made this album flawless, and the following tale of hardship and reinvention would perhaps have been very different.

That said, here you have some staple stuff. "Johnny Yen" will always be remembered by fans as a favourite. "Why So Close" presents an acoustic improvement of an earlier b-side, and "Black Hole" is an excellent dark album-closer.

It's a great shame to think any 1990s fans pick this up and drop it on to their least-listened-to shelf as a disappointment. This James is a different band, more personal, and -- well, maybe a little more interesting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 27 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Stutter (Audio CD)
love it
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5.0 out of 5 stars Early James - check it out, 17 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Stutter (Audio CD)
If you like James and haven't heard this album you should buy it because it is brilliant, if you don't like James buy it anyway
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4.0 out of 5 stars Best album James recorded, 14 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Stutter (Audio CD)
Hadn't properly heard it for 15 years. Stands the test of time very well; cranky, perverse, odd and, on occasions moving.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great tunes, 9 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Stutter (Audio CD)
It could be that i am now older, but this album is better than almost anything around today. I understand that it is all subjective, and today's music will be heralded by this generation in twenty years as "better than today's" music. Sadly, i do feel that music from the 80's and 90's maybe the last time that songs with melody, rhythm and audible lyrics were created. Well i will get of my soap box now and say that this is a great album ans worth a listen.
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5.0 out of 5 stars rediscovered a classic!, 19 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Stutter (Audio CD)
i first had a copy this album on a C90 cassette back in the late 80s, and i played it to death as a teenager. Johnny Yen is my favourite James song of all time and so finally decided to buy the CD so i had a copy of the song. So glad i did. I had forgotten what classics every song is (apologies for the poor grammar!) I remembered the words to every song, particularly Skullduggery, Really Hard and Why So Close ... and of course the magnificant Johnny Yen. Love, love, love this album!
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5.0 out of 5 stars James top band, 15 Feb 2012
This review is from: Stutter (Audio CD)
Been a James fan for years this album is a must have for all fans
Would recommend for anybody who likes any music great lyrics by Tim and the boys
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