There are a number of different Jam compilations with little variation between them. The usual hit singles and best known tracks all make the grade, however this is a band who had a very high quality control, which makes this mainly B-Sides comp very necessary. By rights, we should all have the complete catalogue of releases, however, a comprehensive best of coupled with this release would be the next best thing.
I am not a great fan of collection albums, but this really is the exception to the Rule. For someone whom had all the singles and albums available as a kid, this is a must for any collection of your favourite artist. This is the only single album that contains the simply brilliant 'Tales from the Riverbank' which was orginally tucked away as the B side to 'Absolute Beginners', its the Jam at their very best, excellent bass, understated drums and superb guitar. 'The Butterfly Collector' is another masterpiece, tucked away as the B side on 'Strange Town', dark melodic overtones, like 'Riverbank'. The Jam never ripped off their fans with dud B sides, even if some were 'cover's they were great cover's , like 'Stoned out of my Mind' but some of the gems on this CD are the demo's, though these demo's are strictly Paul Weller plus his Rickenbacker, listen to 'Thick as thieves' and you will hear a raw and superb artist excelling at his craft. Essential Jam.
This CD is far from the scraping the bottom of the barrel that many such offerings are, it is a superb recording which charts the bands rise to prominence through demos and samples. In short, it is an artefact of the band's work, especially Paul Weller's, throughout the period they were recording. Some of the songs appeared as B sides on some of their most famous singles but the real treat comes from the previously unheard tracks such as "No-one in the World" and "Hey Mister" and the rough and incomplete works in progress which featured on later CDs. As you listen, you get the feeling that Weller is playing them for the very first time fresh after writing them. This is a CD which shows a master song-writer from one of his most creative periods actually at work. For any Jam fan, this is a must have CD and for the general listener it will provide an excellent accompniment to the greatest hits CD you might already own.
I was, as the title suggests, swayed to purchase by the cover of Curtis Mayfield - not that I don't love The Jam. Anyway, what I found was a veritable treasure trove of forgotten gems, golden covers, and a few diamond-backed demos. From when the CD really kicks into gear (Dreams Of Children is never going to be anyone's favourite Jam track) on 'Move On Up', until it calm's down on the vocal-based Eton Rifles (that was something I found brilliant, the vocal level of Weller's voice in both that and the Thick As Thieves demo) it is great to listen to. It is, as are all Jam albums, one that you have to listen to, not wallpaper music, but that is a good thing. And And Your Bird Can Sing. Can't say fairer than that.
Simply love this record. It's in fact THE most frequented for months now. "Extras" is supposed to indicate that here are leftovers and b-sides. Na'ah, It is one hefty collection of English songs by that band that had they're dynamic in the late 70's like so many others. Just a few of these bands happened to become evergreens though. This is one of those bands that one can't really blame for having all those best of's out there. They are so honest, funny and entertaining these guys.