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4.6 out of 5 stars86
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 21 November 2014
Personally I do think there is an appreciable sound quality improvement with this remaster. Disc 2 of the physical set is an improved version of the disc that was released with the Limited Edition of the BBC recordings. And if you think that you maybe should save up for the box set to get the Brighton live disc you could be in luck here as the AutoRIP files that are available with this are actually the Super Deluxe Edition files so you get all the demo recordings as well. Now that is a bonus.
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on 10 September 2009
Paul Weller was 21 when this album was released, but the songwriting shows an amazing level of maturity. No British songwriter has managed to articulate feelings of growing up and non dewy-eyed nostalga as well as Weller. On the brilliant Private Hell, he even manages to get inside the head of a middle aged, vallium addled housewife!
As Im old school, and up until recently listened to my old vinyl copy, I still divide this album into 2 sides. Side 1 Girl on the phone - Wasteland is perfect. Taking in the previously mentioned themes of growing up and middle age; along with war and urban alienation. Side 2 begins with Burning Sky (about growing apart from your childhood friends - although Im still not sure what bowing down to the Burning Sky specifically refers to). Following this is Bruce Foxtons finest moment, Smithers-Jones, a critque of the acceptance of the 9-5 grind (I believe the final chorus lyrics are by Weller). To follow we have 2 excellent tracks, Saturdays Kids - adolecents without much of a future; Eton Rifles - comment on the class system - the single sales of this track signalled that The Jam were hitting the big time. The album finishes with a cover of Heatwave - it doesnt really fit with the rest of the album, but is entertaining never the less.
The music needs no explaination - you either know The Jam 'sound' or you don't. All in all IMHO, this is a faultless album.
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on 13 March 2010
The Fab 3 at their best. I first heard Setting Sons as a 15 year old Mod in 1979. 30 years later it still makes the hair on my neck stand on end; even if, these days, I have more hair on my neck than on my head...
For David Cameron to try and lay claim to the Eton Rifles is just disgusting.
Buy it and love it.
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on 17 November 2014
This short review is for the 2 CD deluxe edition of Setting Sons. The actual album would get 4 stars from me. I prefer Sound Effects and All Mod Cons but Setting Sons isn't far behind in terms of greatness. The mastering on this release sounds fine to my old ears. There's a bit more welly overall but nothing approaching distortion or compression hell.

Where this release falls down is on the bonus disk. I expect there are a few fans of the deluxe editions of Mod Cons, S Effects, and The Gift ? Although the demo stuff and other bits and pieces included in those weren't mind blowing they were still worth having and I was thrilled they had been included. When I found out that SS was going to get the deluxe treatment as well I stupidly assumed that the extra material we were going to get was going to be comparable to the previous releases. You know where this is going, don't you ? :)

So, what do you get on this so-called deluxe edition ? You get the contemporaneous singles and b sides tacked onto the first disk. Then disk 2 is the already released concert from Brighton. Came out with that Jam At The BBC collection years back (A MUCH more essential purchase than this one, I can assure you). Not one unreleased or unusual track on the whole thing. On top of that, you get that horrid wrap-round sticky thing with Deluxe Edition printed on it as opposed to the much nicer plastic slipcases we used to get back when I was in shorts and you could leave your front door open and not have to worry about burglars). Tell you what. If anyone burgled my CD collection I'm betting they'd leave the Setting Sons deluxe edition behind.

Or at the very least post it back next day with a note saying "No Thanks".

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"Setting Sons", though arguably not the album it should have been (due to the fact that its concept was left unfinished) nevertheless represents The Jam at their peak. The fact that the bonus tracks on the first disc (A- and B-sides) are as good as the source LP itself speak volumes for the creative genius who is Paul Weller. And not forgetting Bruce Foxton whose best ever track "Smithers-Jones" - in orchestrated and unorchestrated versions - also appears here.

It's not surprising that "All Mod Cons" was the first Jam deluxe re-issue (because it is their best album). What IS surprising is that "Setting Sons" - an LP which typifies the Jam's sound more than any other - has been left to fourth (and, possibly last - assuming they don't bother with "In The City" and "The Modern World") in the series, because it's arguably their second best.

You wouldn't have thought it would be difficult for the record company to release a respectful re-issue of a record as good as this - irrespective of whether or not it contains previously unreleased music - due to the richness of the source material. Wrong. Whilst the first disc succeeds up to a point - you certainly can't argue with the music on there; the second disc is, peculiarly, a previously released live disc. Basically, the compilers have given zero thought to this.

Although, for me a re-issue is not necessarily about the contents of the record: a nice, faithfully reproduced artwork helps - which, sadly, we don't get. Remember the iconic dog and Union Jack deck chair on the back sleeve? It's not there anymore. Nor is the army memorabilia, or the lyrics that appeared on the vinyl inner. And then there was the cool label copy with the painted soldiers? Nope that's not there either - replaced by some unimaginative mod bulldog. Personally, I'm always suspicious of revised artwork - is the record company trying to save a few bob by avoiding royalty payments to the artist maybe?

Anyway, fans of the original album will be sorely disappointed - this one isn't worth the re-purchase. On the other hand, if you don't know "Setting Sons" and/or The Jam - then dive in - you wont find better music. 5/5 or the tunes. 1/5 for the compilation/reproduction/repackaging.

AN INTERESTING FOOTNOTE: As my fellow reviewer Philip D has pointed out - and I don't know whether this is generosity or a mistake on Amazon's part - at time of writing if you buy the Deluxe Edition CD from Amazon you get the AutoRIP of the Super Deluxe Edition with bonus track galore - get 'em while you can!
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on 21 August 2000
Setting Sons is the album which best defines The Jams most prophetic period. Weller and Foxtons finely balanced composisions make this album a true classic. The album seems to have lost the rough edges which adorned the previous albums, but it still has managed to retain the cynical cheek which all fans have come to know and love. "Thick as Thevies" is a song which I think that everyone can relate to, with its pumping base and machine gun drums, this song for me, is the best on the album. Paul Weller may have been responsible for 8 of the 9 composed tracks on the album ( exculding Heatwave) but we must not forget the genius that was Bruce Foxtons "Smithers Jones". This song brings some light relief to an album that can, after a while, become a bit wearing. ....Five stars for this little gem, a must have in any music lovers colection.
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on 29 August 2003
This album was the very first quality L.P. that I ever bought, and "Girl on the phone" simply lit up my record player every time it was played. "Little Boy Soldiers" gave me my first ever experience of feeling like a thug which at the age of 7 was something to behold!! And as for "Eton Rifles", say no more. I will always regard Paul Weller as a genius to the British music industry, but Bruce and Rick also played their part in making one of the greatest UK bands ever. Any chance of a reunion lads??
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on 11 June 2007
I first heard this album in 1979 when at University shortly after its release as a flatmate of my girlfriend had a copy I was a fan of the Jam at the time but I was rather impoverished at the time and wasn't going to buy it on spec. I immediately went and bought my own copy even though it stretched my overdraft to the limit.

But then again what is money compared to the genius of the songs on this album tracks such as "Eton Rifles" "Girl on the Phone" "Little Boy Soldiers" "Private Hell" "Smithers-Jones" "Saturday's Kids" in fact I could name all the tracks as having some relevance to life in general in the 1970's and for me during my time at University. Needless to say as soon as the Jam toured in Bristol I was straight there risking being spat on to hear them live, which is a pleasure which remains at the forefront of my concert going memory.

BUY it now!
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on 27 January 2010
We are told Setting Sons was originally conceived as a concept album about old friends reunited after many years to find they had nothing in common anymore (Sound Familiar). "Setting sons" doesn't quite follow through on the premise of a song cycle but it still makes for a fascinating listen. Weller had incredible foresight and was even cable of switching gender roles as demonstrated on the articulate and hellish nightmare of Private Hell. Its a harder and grittier record than "all mod cons" and the band back him with some brittle white knuckle rock music and muscular tracks boiling over with class hatred and spot on insights into British life. Like Ray Davies and Pete Townsend, Paul Weller is obsessed with England. But we also find Weller and the Jam beginning disassociating themselves from mod before they were buried with it. The cold bleak atmosphere and depression created by this record means the sound remains a product of the late 70's and doesn't quite have a place in today's egocentric self obsessed world of gluttony. History tells us that the Jam had three members, Weller, Weller and Weller, but here we have Weller, Foxton and Bucker perhaps for a last time acting as a cohesive unit and dare I say enjoying themselves.
As on most of his compositions, Weller is pointing his finger at the protagonist whilst accepting that he is merely a pawn in society's game. Factor in "strange town" and "when your young" oh and "going underground" singles from the period and its clear the band were starting to hit their stride. Paul Weller's lyrics concerning all the quirks of school, work and family life have a brutal honesty reflected in Paul's harsh Surry accented vocal. To day we Weller's "Love Child" Alex Turner (Artic Monkeys) picking up the gantlet where the Jam left of.
Me and my radical left wing college mates of the day (1979) we were more interested in the lyrics than the music. Weller gave us an insight into the world around us just at the time when were eligible to make our first visit to the ballot box. Remember this bloke was only 21 years old when he wrote this stuff but his vision and understanding of life was like that of a bitter man in his 40's who had experienced and bore the scars of life's the trials and tribulations. Songs like Burning Sky 30 years on is so dam accurate its scary. The Jam had sophistication and style of there own abiet borrowed from the sixties. Weller was never likely to self-destruct he was far too clever and his legacy is testimony to that. .
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on 24 November 2014
First I want to say, for the music this gets 5/5 easily. As a package it's the kind of lazy, cynical repackaging that whoever oversees The Jam's reissues seems to be increasingly fond of.

The 2nd disc is basically a gig which was released on the At The BBC set back in 2002. If you want the Brighton gig or any of the demos, you'll have to buy the "Super Deluxe" edition for near enough £100. For an album about the evils of capitalism, that strikes me as a little ironic. The 1st disc has some non-album singles, including 'Dreams of Children' which was also on the Sound Affects reissue in 2010...

The "new essay" is unsightful dross from the usually alright Pat Gilbert and the booklet as a whole doesn't have much except reprints of some old tickets and NME covers - hardly anything by way of unseen pictures.

If you just want Sound Affects, either get the 1997 reissue and save yourself the money or the original vinyl - this 'Deluxe' edition adds nothing at all.
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