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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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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 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 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".

Disappointing.
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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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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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How do you follow something as beloved as 1978's "All Mod Cons"? You do it with 1979's "Setting Sons" that along with The Clash's "London Calling" probably represent Britain's Punk and New Wave period at its snotty full-throated working-class best. And as a nice boy from a nice part of Dublin - I'm down with that Mister Smithers-Jones (The Jam were huge in Ireland)...

Unfortunately like others who bought and loved the glorious embossed original vinyl LP (Polydor POLD 5028) back in the heady end-of-a-decade days of November 1979 - this December 2014 Universal/Polydor 2CD 'Deluxe Edition' feels like a hamburger instead of a steak. I think a lot of it has to do with the presentation of these newer 'Deluxe Editions' that are minus the plastic slipcases that came with the older variants (gave them a bit of class and the easy-to-crumple digipak within some much-needed protection). But like the "Some Girls" Deluxe Edition from The Rolling Stones which completely wrecked fabulous original artwork too – this one screws up the artwork as well and the flimsy exposed card digipak doesn't do this 4th 'DE' for The Jam any favours either.

Having said all that and having whinged like a big girl's blouse - for roughly a ten spot of your hard-earned there's a lot to like about this 2-disc reissue. The new 2014 remasters are superb, Pat Gilbert's liner notes explain the LP's impact really well and the pictured fan memorabilia is impressively in-depth. And on the bonus front you forget just how good all eight of those stand-alone 45s were (both A's and B's) and as evidenced here - The Jam 'live' was an awesome thing to behold - even it this BBC stuff has been released before. Time for some details of our own methinks – let's get to the missing bulldogs and added deckchairs...

UK released December 2014 - "Setting Sons: Deluxe Edition" by THE JAM on Universal/Polydor 0602537946952 (Barcode 602537946952) is a 2CD Reissue/Remaster and plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (58:00 minutes):
1. Girl On The Phone
2. Thick As Thieves
3. Private Hell
4. Little Boy Soldiers
5. Wasteland
6. Burning Sky
7. Smithers-Jones
8. Saturday's Kids
9. The Eton Rifles
10. Heat Wave
Tracks 1 to 10 are their 4th studio album "Setting Sons" - released November 1979 in the UK on Polydor POLD 5028 and in the USA on Polydor SD 6249. Produced by Vic Coppersmith-Heaven - it peaked at No. 4 on the UK LP charts but didn't chart in the States (the US LP also reversed the Sides - Side 1 beginning with "Burning Sky" and Side 2 beginning with "Girl On The Phone").

BONUS TRACKS - The Singles & B-Sides:
11. Strange Town
12. The Butterfly Collector
Tracks 11 and 12 are the non-album A&B-sides of their 6th UK 7" single released 9 March 1979 on Polydor POSP 34 (peaked at No. 15)
13. When You're Young
14. Smithers-Jones (Single Version)
Tracks 13 and 14 are the non-album A&B-sides of their 7th UK 7" single released 7 August 1979 on Polydor POSP 69 (peaked at No. 17)
15. The Eton Rifles (Single Version)
16. See-Saw
Tracks 15 and 16 are the non-album A&B-sides of their 8th UK 7" single released 26 October 1979 on Polydor POSP 83 (peaked at No. 3)
17. Going Underground
18. Dreams Of Children
Tracks 17 and 18 are the non-album A&B-sides of their 9th UK 7" single released 14 March 1980 on Polydor POSP 113 (peaked at No. 1)

Disc 2 - Live At The Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park, London, December 1979 (59:08 minutes):
1. Girl On The Phone
2. To Be Someone
3. It's Too Bad
4. Burning Sky
5. Away With The Numbers
6. Smithers-Jones
7. The Modern World
8. Mr. Clean
9. The Butterfly Collector
10. Private Hell
11. Thick As Thieves
12. When You're Young
13. Strange Town
14. The Eton Rifles
15. Down At The Tube Station At Midnight
16. Saturday's Kids
17. All Mod Cons
18. David Watts

THE JAM was:
PAUL WELLER - Lead Vocals, Guitar and Principal Songwriter
BRUCE FOXTON - Bass (wrote "Smithers-Jones", all others by Weller)
RICK BUCKLER - Drums

MICK TALBOT - Future Style Council partner for Paul Weller is credited as "Merton Mick" and plays Piano on “Heat Wave”
RUDI - Saxophone on “Heat Wave”

The 24-page booklet tries hard to impress - a centre 2-page spread of concert tickets from the Oakland Auditorium in San Francisco in late April 1979 to the unbridled luxury of the Bridlington Spa in November of that Jam-momentous year. There are trade adverts, NME repros, WORDS magazine covers and other depicted memorabilia alongside some live photos. But every one of the flaps is covered in blurred concert photos that have been colour-tinted and look awful and the Red and Blue CDs themselves with a 'Bulldog' face don't impress much nor resemble the LP - and the Bulldog/Deckchair is missing from the back sleeve. The Inner sleeve that came with original British LPs is bizarrely AWOL and it doesn't seem to occur to anyone to provide basic catalogue numbers for anything like I've done above (and don't get me started on the cost of the desirable but extortionate Uber Deluxe Edition). Still - Pat Gilbert's new liner notes give insights into the sheer pressure Weller was under to top "All Mod Cons" and cement their huge and growing popularity and he gets behind the sheer Britishness of the band and the LP's music - how these angry young working-class men were angry at everything - especially the heartless Establishment of the day - and thereby put a single as physically violent as "The Eton Rifles" up to No. 3. And it does sound better...

I've had the "Direction" box set from 1997 and to my ears there's an improvement with these new KEIRON McGARRY Remasters - and those Bonus Single Sides tagged onto Disc 1 pretty much make it essential in any man's books. I don't have the BBC Sessions stuff so the Live Concert on Disc 2 is new to me. I like it - especially lesser-heard tracks like "The Butterfly Collector" and a storming rant through "Mr. Clean" (from "All Mod Cons"). But you'd have to say immediately - what is there here that would tempt a true fan who has purchased all of this before (docked a star for that)?

There's amazing punch in both "Girl On The Phone" and the stunning "Thick As Thieves" - both walloping your speakers as Paul Weller spits out "...says she knows everything about me..." and "...times are so tough...but not as tough as they are now..." (lets not mention the size of Paul's appendage as he does on the "Girl On The Phone" track). The sheer sonic wallop of "Private Hell" is thrilling - as thrashing as I remember it - and the words just as harrowing and locked into the reality of city living in an unemployed England town - singing about an unrecognisable junkie girl lost in their "Private Hell". When the in-yo-face "Eton Rifles" climbed to No 3 on the back of a Top Of The Pops appearance - the album arrived a fortnight later and didn't disappoint with tracks like the unemployed boys and girls holding hands in "Wasteland" and the equally disarming "Little Boy Soldiers" where Weller rages about picking up a gun to shoot a stranger for Queen and Country because you're a "...blessed son of the British Empire..."

Side 2 opens with a "...taxman shouting because he wants his dough..." in the attacking "Burning Sky" that's followed by Foxton's lone contribution and genuine moment of glory - "Smithers-Jones". The single version we're so used to hearing dropped the strings of the album mix - upped the Bass and plucked guitar notes - but I'm a fan of both versions. "Saturday's Kids" drinks lots of beer and work (if they can) down at Woolworths and Tesco's - dreaming of the Mod weekend and the dancehall (and probably seeing The Jam). I've always thought that their storming cover of the Martha and The Vandellas Motown hit "Heat Wave" is the most fantastic version and somehow bookends an angry LP with a moment of upbeat hope (Rudi on Saxophone).

The Bonus Singles throw Disc 1 into superstar territory. I'm fond of "Strange Town" but I'm always drawn to its brilliant flipside "The Butterfly Collector". I can vividly remember playing this side of the Polydor 45 much more than the A. Both the Single Version of "Smithers-Jones" and the Single Edit of "The Eton Rifles" are friggin' genius - but again your heart goes out to the fab B-side "See Saw" which Weller gave to the Glasgow Mod Band THE JOLT who put it onto Side 2 of their 4-Track "Maybe Tonight" EP on Polydor 2229 215 in June 1979 (a huge collectable piece ever since). As if that's not enough - Disc 1 ends on the undeniable brilliance of "Going Underground" backed with the equally cool "The Dreams Of Children". Both rightly took the No. 1 spot in March 1980 - the first of four number ones for this most British of bands.

True fans will probably feel peeved as their computer's access the Gracenote Name database only to be told that Disc 2 of this supposedly new 2014 Deluxe Edition is called 'At The BBC - At The Rainbow' - Disc 3 of the June 2002 3CD set "The Jam At The BBC" - in other words material that's already been released. Well at least its newly remastered making killer tracks like "To Be Someone" feel 'huge' and less muddied than before. People who invested money in 'that film' get a ribbing in the acidic "Mr. Clean" - the crowd secretly loving it when Weller says I'll 'nice' up your life. The gig is not audiophile for sure but it captures the raw power of the band in front of a devoted crowd and has you nodding at the quality of song after song.

I suppose there are two ways of looking at this 2014 DE - for fans it's a pain and apart from the improved Audio - something of a pointless exercise. But I'd say get past the naff packaging and concentrate on the music - The Jam in all their working-man's glory. Weller would go onto The Style Council and Solo glory and has pretty much remained at the top of his musical game every since - each release still awaited with an excitement this band engendered almost 40 years ago.

"...Saturday kids play one-armed bandits...they never win...but that's not the point is it..." - Weller sang on "Saturday's Kids" way back in 1979. It seems that in 2016 - not a lot has changed when it comes to reissues for fans. We're still at the grubby hands of fruit machine vendors...
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on 28 May 2005
Due to their non stop output of top notch singles, The Jam are often understandably remembered as a "singles band", when in fact nothing could be further than the truth. They made some good albums as well, but Setting Sons was not one of them, because it's not just good it's absolutely superb! The songs relate to everyday issues that are as relevant now as they were when it was released. Buy this album - you won't regret it.
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on 20 November 2014
Very disappointed with this reissue
A brilliant album 5/5 but 1/5 for the reissue
If you are a Jam fan and bought the jam live at the BBC which included the extra cd of live at the rainbow , would advise (unless you are a completest) to avoid this as the second disc is basically the Rainbow gig again!
was looking forward to demos etc but there is nothing new on here
Looks like I will have to get the box set to get any rarities
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on 2 July 2013
I really love this album, as it is one of my favourite jam albums. I find the songs on this feature, reflects to the many troubles of what Britain is going through at the moment, e.g the current government, austerity, and the economy, but these issues nowadays, are a lot worse now, than they have been. I find this cd really good and I use this music as political and also enjoyable. I love 'eton rifles' and the album closer 'heatwave' this is a must have cd' as it redefines the punk and new wave era.
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