on 10 July 2009
If like me, you have the Direction, Reaction, Creation box set, then you have all these tracks apart from the last two demos as far as I can tell from the track listing. I do not know if they have been remixed or remastered again for this release.
You can get Direction, Reaction, Creation used for about 50% more than the price of this box set which will give you every studio track The Jam made, then you can add Dig the new Breed and The Jam Live along with The Jam at the BBC to give you the live tracks (you will need the 3 disk version of Snap! for the last live EP to more or less complete their recordings apart from boots).
If you just want the best Jam album, then this is it.
It will never be as good as being 15 / 16 and buying the singles and albums as they came out though... sorry if you missed it.
By the time The Jam were hitting number one with ease, their most feted album seemed to be 'Setting Sons', while Paul Weller later said that his favourite was 'Sound Affects'. All of this ignored the album which really broke the band big when they appeared to be heading for oblivion. 'In The City', an all too often ignored punk debut contained a clue to what would make The Jam great: it was the track, 'Away From The Numbers', which revealed that Weller could craft stimulating pop. The 'Modern World' album all but squandered the band's initial success, but the band's cover of The Kinks' 'David Watts' put them back in the charts ahead of the release of 'All Mod Cons'.
This album contains several tracks with similar qualities to 'Away From The Numbers', notably 'To Be Someone' and 'In The Crowd'. Weller discovered he could convey his sense of outrage without resorting to all-out fury while writing some positive stuff too. 'All Mod Cons' certainly betrays the band's English influences, those of The Kinks, The Who and The Beatles, though the last-named only shows through occasionally. Weller apparently preferred The Beatles until he discovered the other two bands.
Having salvaged their reputation with one single, of course, they cemented it with the wholly original classic, 'Tube Station'. It showcases Bruce Foxton's bass skills as well as Weller's storytelling abilities, a soundtrack to the dark corners of urban Britain. Every track is a winner, even Weller's self-conscious acoustic love song, 'English Rose'. 'All Mod Cons' was one of the most unlikely successes of 1978. These days, it's all you would expect from them.
on 3 April 2007
Anyone buying this album will probably know the music inside out, as is often the case with CD-issues of popular records from the vinyl era. Therefore the question for a reviewer trying to be helpful to others must be whether this version adds anything to what has previously been available, and if the sound quality is really an improvement.
First the sound. Since I own both the original UK vinyl pressing and the 1997 re-issue of this album, it is quite easy for me to compare. These things, of course, depend on personal tastes, but I do NOT find the sound is improved with this version. Compared to the 1997 release, it is harder and more polished sounding (and strangely, the stereo image appears to have moved very slightly to the right, though you will only notice that using headphones). If your system is a bit dull, however, or you've been at too many loud rock gigs in your life, you may find that this current disc sounds "clear and crisp", or whatever terms people use about CDs these days.
This Special Edition offers as extras a number of very interesting outtakes, demos and alt. versions. Personally, I prefer some of them to the album version, which had a few too many overdubs for my taste. Some of these tracks may also appear on the Jam Box Set (which I haven't got at the moment).
Finally there is a DVD with the three members of the Jam talking about the making of the album. It seems that the producers were unable to get them in the same room together, which is a bit sad to say the least. For musicians there is very little in the way of explaining and showing the techniques that were used in the studio, so instead we're given more-or-less the pretty well-known story behind this classic album.
Finally there is a small booklet with sleeve notes.
If you want these extras, this album is worth getting, but for the sound alone I would recommend the 1997 release or the original vinyl. There is also a CD version from the 1980s around selling for chip money, but I don't know what it is like and I doubt it could be better than the one from 1997, as generally CD from the mid-90s have the most natural and "analogue" sound.
on 19 December 2008
The first completely indispensable Jam album; this demonstrates fully the wisdom of allowing strong, if highly-strung talents essential breathing space, and the result is one of the best albums of the seventies.
There's no padding here, 'All Mod Cons' in its entirety is simply, gloriously brilliant.
It's got 'Tube Station' for a start; a colossal Jam song. The album version even better than the single with an isolated despondent Rickenbacker outro, instead of the jutting sharpness of the pop chart aggressor.
'Mr Clean', 'English Rose', 'In the Crowd', 'A-Bomb' it's an impressive list, matching easily anything coming out of the Clash at the time. 'Fly' is a ravishing piece of Weller lyrical romanticism; icy smooth but warming, deeply soulful and resonant. 'Fly' sums up 'AMC' in 3 ½ divine minutes.
There's seriously meaty power songs trailing back to 'In The City', but here they have drive and direction. The extra time allowed enabling them to be honed into the marble-pure statements of anger and frustration which signify 'AMC' equally as much as the beautiful and the whimsical.
Weller was untouchable at this time and there was talk of him quitting while he was ahead.
Luckily for the world he didn't.
on 11 January 2005
If you have got this far along the road to buying "All Mod Cons" & need reassuring by reading a review,I can only say,WELL DONE!!!
I mean it...
My excuse for owning this Jam album is that It was the soundtrack to my youth,& if youre contemplating owning it 27 years later,I would love to meet you & discuss the reasons why,
Whilst simultaniously making sure that all my close friends have a copy, because this album is class.
Listen to the following tunes... "It`s Too Bad, Fly, & English Rose" they are quite simply classics.
Tube Station is also here,but forget that,& enjoy the lesser known of Wellers offerings on the album,they are all great tunes tunes all work together...
I`d pay whatever Amazon are asking for "All Mod Cons" and then sit quietly in the land of the smug,
Safe in the knowledge you own a copy.............x
on 19 February 2000
Wiping out the overbearing ,one dimensional second album,ALL MOD CONS lets Paul Weller slow down,take a breather,and look around....And his songwriting improves with a newly acquired depth and contemporary sound...From the past albums concrete thudding sound,a clean and precise beat is on display here,with intelligent guitar lines snapping at the taut words...a universal dictionary of emotions is being used now,not a local A-Z.....A new era beckons...Classic.
Please note: This review is for the 1997 edition of the album, which was released as part of 'The Jam Remasters'. This version offered up great sound quality, but no extra tracks. It does contain a booklet with the original art work as the cover, and a reasonably detailed study of 'All Mod Cons', written by John Reed, who has written biographies about pop group Madness, and The Jam's frontman and vocalist Paul Weller.
In my opinion, The Jam's third record, released in 1978, is a very strong contender as these lads' best album, because virtually every track is a gem, and the whole record has a very polished sound. Whatever, it's my own personal favourite. If you don't want to pick up one of the many compilations out there, and instead wish to have a studio album as an introduction to their work, I would highly recommend that you opt for 'All Mod Cons'.
There are strong British Invasion pop influences running through 'All Mod Cons', most obviously on the cool cover of The Kinks' 'David Watts', which is a much faster version compared the original, of which I do favour. Two absolute classics are also here, the beautiful and tranquil 'English Rose', and the ever popular 'Down In The Tube Station At Midnight', with lyrics are unmistakably British. This hit single closes things out on a high note.
The Jams' third album, put together when Paul was only 20, is simply well-crafted, intelligent, witty, and catchy punk-rock music. I have no doubt that it will appeal to those people who wouldn't normally listen to such a genre.
on 13 March 2003
All Mod Cons defecates all over it from a great height. NME have just voted The Stone Roses' eponymous debut as "The Best Album Ever". It is however a mere pretender to the crown. The similarities are obvious - from the sixties influenced guitar stabs, to the pumping bass and drums which underpin some sublime plectrum work - but All Mod Cons is better because is as diverse as it is distinctive.
A footnote: All Mod Cons is NOT a punk album.
"In The Crowd" demonstrates this perfectly. It evolves from the Kinks & Small Faces, and melds into a psychedelic mixture of the Who & Beatles. What more could you ask for? Not a lot!
The best Jam album (and that's saying something) and certainly better than the Stone Roses.
Or when The Jam took off and really started fulfilling the potential they had shown with a string of singles and intermittently on their previous albums In The City And This Is The Modern World. All Mod Cons see's Paul Weller embracing a more English stance to his song-writing , with undercurrents of 1960,s pop like The Kinks - so much so they even cover the Kinks song "David Watts". The albums title also alludes playfully to the bands prevalence in the Mod revival.
The songs on All Mod Cons are often about ordinary people , or places but viewed through Weller's coruscating filter . He scorns the 9-5 existence of "Mr Clean" ( "If I get the chance ill f**k up your life") while seemingly revelling in the indestructible qualities of "Billy Hunt" right down to it's terrace chant chorus. "In The Crowd" is a glistening pop tinged number about the numbing anonymity of being errr part of a crowd. "The Place I Love" manages the neat trick of being urgent and wistful at the same time while "To be Someone ( Didn't We Have a Nice Time)" neatly encapsulates the celebrity grasping culture we have saddled ourselves with . The original vinyl edition ( which i still have) ended with the prescient twins "A Bomb In Wardour Street" powered by a chugging riff and the first person narrative of "Down In The Tube At Midnight " replete with Bruce Foxton,s expressive bass lines and Weller's vivid imagery. "They smelt of pubs , and Wormwood Scrubs and too many right wing meetings".Both these songs are probably more topical now than they were then .A bomb is taking it a bit far maybe but then you cast your mind back to the horrendous London bombings ...
By way of contrast there is the lovely acoustic ballad "English Rose" ( which portents some of Weller's solo work) which was not acknowledged on the original vinyl pressing in any way as Weller found it too personnel. The soaring chords of "Fly" are added to Weller's rather strained falsetto after the incongruously jaunty break up song "It's Too Bad".
All Mod Cons eschewed the more strident punkish themes of the era for a more considered quintessentially English album. The Jams angry punk album followed with the brilliant 1979 album "Setting Sons" . So what if it is lyrically clumsy sometimes ( "And my only link is pots of Walls ice cream"....oh dear) and that it contains a cover version ( I rather like" David Watts" and rather identified with it's scabrous envy of someone more self assured, better looking and more successful with the opposite sex) All Mod Cons is not just a great album but a great Jam album and that makes it something else all together.
The Jam's third album saw them at the zenith of their powers. Their first two had established them as a vital force amongst the angry young musicians of the punk era, and In The City in particular is a classic in its own right. But All Mod Cons has all the energy of its predecessors with the added thoughtfulness probably enabled by a record contract and a decent time interval between albums (This Is The Modern World was reportedly rush-recorded by a record company desperate to exploit the success of In The City).
The two opening songs, the title track and To Be Someone, reflect some of the disillusion that must have been assailing the still-young Paul Weller, berating the hangers-on making a living from his talent.
Mr Clean is the first of three tracks, with David Watts and Billy Hunt, in which a real resentment of the meritocracy comes to the fore. The band performed David Watts on Top of the Pops at the time, and the disdain in Weller's voice and facial expression was tangible - it was very clear that "I wish I could have all he has got" is 100% ferrous irony.
English Rose is the best slow song Weller has recorded, and the final three tracks form a suite for the seventies, particularly the imagery of A-Bomb - "In the corner I can see my girl, fifteen geezers got her pinned to the wall" - and the thugs smelling of "too many right wing meetings" in Tube Station.
My one criticism is that, whereas on vinyl the dying notes of Place I Love segued perfectly into A-Bomb, the record company has sadly not reproduced the effect on the CD.