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3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 4 December 2012
The Jam's sixth & final studio lp was given the super-deluxe treatment by Universal in respect of 30 years since its release and 30 years since the bands split. This review is not going to breakdown each track (quality reviews already exist on Amazon) but is more on the overall presentation of the actual box set & its contents.

First impressions are positive as the lp sized candy striped box (based on the original paper bag that initial copies of the lp came in) looks very appealing. Inside we get a reproduction of the "Trans-Global Unity Express" tour program, 3x (A4 sized) prints housed in a smart wallet & a 72 page hardback book (which includes contributions & memorabilia from fans own personal collections) complete with a new interview from Paul Weller himself looking back on the album. The 4x discs are housed in individual card sleeves at the back of the book & this is what we get folks:

Disc 4 - Is the dvd and all the content on here has been available on YouTube for a few years now. You get the edited "Trans-Global Unity Express" gig from 21/03/82 (9 tracks) but we all know that the full version is out there including super-rare soundcheck footage of the band. The Spil-Op show (12 tracks) from 23/04/82 is also present here with the Danish subtitles thankfully removed. Three promo vids and the double helping of "Precious" & "Town Called Malice" from TOTP end the disc. There's no TV or live footage from Belgium, France, Holland, Sweden, Japan, Canada or the USA - a real shame as the lp was heavily promoted in these countries at the time.

Disc 3 (RT: 79:05) - Is the live cd from Wembley Arena 03/12/82 (23 tracks). The previous nights show has been heavily bootlegged ("Ready, Steady....Gone") but it's nice to have the gig in re-mastered (ie: officially released!) form. An earlier gig from 1982 or even the Hammersmith Palais gig from 14/12/81 would have been a better choice though as you do get backing singers, Afrodiziak, providing vocals on a number of classic tracks.

Disc 2 (RT: 41:43) - The demos disc (16 tracks), which includes 3 instrumentals. "The Planners Dreams Goes Wrong" feels more like a Jam track than the final lp version & "Beat Surrender" is played at a slower tempo than the single version. The bootleg cd "Skirt!" had demo versions of "Circus", "Happy Together" and the Small Faces cover, "My Mind's Eye" which could all have been included on this release and possibly omitted the previously available versions of "Precious" & "Get Yourself Together". Surprisingly, (I Got You) I Feel Good is missing. What would have rounded this cd off nicely would have been the Weller interview from the SFX tape (Issue 6 - February 1982). Weller also remarked that his demos had a more soulful feel than the finished band versions - judge them for yourselves!

Disc 1 (RT: 73:22) - Features the original 11 track lp & 10 (previously released) bonus tracks. Considered (& rather unfairly) to be the Jam's "Ball of Confusion" due to the eclectic nature of the tracks but it's still stands the test of time & is a great listen today. One little quibble is that the "Just Who is the 5 O`Clock Hero?" EP version of "War" (incidentally, available here as an extended mix) should have been track 13 (& not 21) while the Swing version of "Pity Poor Alfie" should have been on the demos disc as should have "Stoned Out of My Mind" as this definitely sounds like a demo with Weller's vocals sounding very high pitched. Minor? Maybe. Sloppy? For the price, certainly. This track was also rumoured to have used a drum machine & perhaps a direction in what Weller wanted with The Style Council. There could also have been room for the rare live outing of "Give Me Just a Little Bit More Time" to be squeezed on as this is a great cover of the Chairmen of the Board classic.

So is it worth the £80+ quid asking price. In my honest opinion, no & this should have been nearer the £45 mark as this would have been a fairer price as a lot of Jam fans will feel a bit short changed about this (especially with the 6 studio albums being released as a boxset soon for under £20). With the high asking price, there should have been a bit more content included - replicas of the Japanese "Town Called Malice" and Swedish "Just Who is the 5 O'Clock Hero?" 7" singles could have been included for starters as well as the ticket stub for the last ever gig at Brighton (11/12/82). A re-master of the actual lp on heavyweight vinyl or even the tracks made available across 3x 7"(33 rpm) singles would have been a nice touch if included. There was talk of a 10" vinyl release of the Spil-Op show intended for this set but the powers that be decided to release this separately at £20 a pop and limited this to 1000 copies (which, not surprisingly, is already fetching big monies on Ebay!).

With the music biz trying desperately to compete with the internet, they really need to take a good hard look at themselves & think of future releses that fans want & at a price thats afforable to all (some of the prices for the Pink Floyd & The Who editions are eye-wateringly high!). This release crept into the U.K charts at #86 meaning that a lot of fans gave this (& the standard 2x cd version) a miss. One positive about this release though is that it got the actual fans involved (something that should have happened for the deluxe versions of "All Mod Cons" & "Sound Affects"). The main downsides are, of course, the lack of quality control before its release and missed oppurunities for something REALLY special for fans to treasure.

Not sure what 2013 has in store for us Jam fans, although, its rumoured that a new dvd and live cd boxset ("Jamplification!") may be doing the rounds soon - hopefully with a few rare foreign performances being included. Universal should, in my book, get Dennis Munday back on board to oversee any future projects & also to take a look at the 2x Facebook sites - The Jam Anthology & The Jam Memorabilia (both a credit to the band) - when planning any future releases, just to get a truer flavour on what fans really want!

Can I also recommend the new book, "Thick as Thieves - Personal Situations With The Jam", as this gives you a fantastic idea on what the band really meant to their fans (The Jam-Army!) between 1977-1982. Cheers!
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on 6 December 2012
I've been a long time fan of The Jam. I saw them seven times and have all the original vinyl albums. I agree with the previous reviews.
I think it's fair to say that this 'Deluxe Box Set' is aimed at, and will mostly sell to 'hard-core' fans, who wish to own the ultimate version of the album. Cleary a fair amount of effort has gone into this package, but sadly, more with the packaging than the actual content of the discs.

What really makes the content disappointing for me is the fact that the actual album has the stereo reversed - the left channel comes from the right and the right from the left!! For £80+ pounds, I'd expect the actual album to be carefully and acurately remastered. This is just amateurish!

Sadly, poor attention to details like this have been rife in CD releases of The Jam. The 'Direction Creation Reaction' box set was great. It was well put together and well mastered. However, some of the individual albums (Setting Sons, All Mod Cons)released at the same time had the left and right stereo channels reversed. The Live at the BBC CD was a mess - the limited edition Live at the Rainbow CD that came with it, had the stereo reversed halfway through the concert, so it appears that Paul and Bruce changed sides on stage halfway through the concert!! Then there's the recent 'remaster' of Sound Affects. The powerful, driving bass and drums sounding so thin and the treble so harsh. Had the engineer ever heard The Jam or referenced an original vinyl copy.

Anyway, I've digressed. I guess I stupidly believed that at this price I would get some really good quality recordings to listen to, but that's not the case. Even the live at Wembley CD is disappointing. It sounds like a rough mix taken straight from the mixer on the night - The Jam sounded much better live than this example.

The Danish TV appearance on the DVD is really good though. Much better than the bootleg copies I've seen.

These albums were superbly recorded and produced at the time - with real passion and attention to detail. They should be treated with respect by the record companies that now own then.

Oh dear. Roll on 'Setting Sons Super Deluxe Ultimate Box Set'!!!?? Hopefully we will at least get an official, good quality DVD of the fantastic 'Rockpalast' concert.
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on 29 November 2012
Firstly, I would like to say that this is a well put together package. It also contains a nice piece of `personal' memorabilia in the Hardback 12"x12" book, namely a reproduction of a poster featuring images from the Trans-Global Express and Sound Affects tours. There with his arm raised, is my brother Adam at fourteen years of age. About six people to his right, wearing glasses, is me, aged nineteen. Next to me is my old friend Kelvin. This picture was taken at the wonderful Rainbow Theatre on 16th November 1980, during the Sound Affects tour. I can't believe how quickly time has flown : I now have two boys, aged nineteen and twenty one.

I was lucky enough to attend five Jam gigs in 1982 ;

In March at the Alexandra Palace on the Trans-Global Express tour, which is represented by the Stafford Bingley Hall show, featured on the DVD disc.

Three of the December shows at Wembley Arena, Thursday 2nd, Friday 3rd (from which the live CD is taken) and Sunday 5th.

Finally, in more ways than one, the Brighton Conference Centre show on Saturday, 11th December.

I'm sure I don't have to say anything else for you to know why this release is so close to my heart. So why am I a little disappointed with it? I'll tell you :

Disc 1 contains The Gift along with Singles & B-Sides : The Precious 12" mix is included but not the live version of A Town Called Malice from the same release, recorded at the Hammersmith Palais. The Pity Poor Alfie (swing version) has been released before but was never issued as a B-side. Disgracefully, the versions of Stoned Out Of My Mind and War are not those released on the Beat Surrender packages. The former has Weller attempting to sing in a Falsetto range, in-keeping with the Chi-Lites version. Surely these tracks should have been placed on the Demos & Alternate Tracks disc? Surely someone with even a passing interest should have noticed these oversights and mistakes?

Unfortunately the errors continue : The said Demos & Alternate disc contains a demo of the Small Faces' Get Yourself Together : A great version of a great song, which they featured in the final tour dates. The issue is that it has recently been on the corresponding disc of the Sound Affects Deluxe Edition.

If I am going to get really critical I would also say that the cassette bootleg I've had for nearly thirty years, contains a show from the Wembley dates that is superior to the one issued here. It too opens with Start, so it's not from the Sunday show where they opened with a blistering Beat Surrender.

All of us who saw this wonderful, life-affirming band live were privileged and are also thirty years older than we once were. The Jam are still a great love of mine : It's a great shame that they don't mean as much to the people who put this together.

Love to Ad, Danny & Kelv.I'll be thinking of you on 11th December, thirty years on.
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on 6 December 2012
I'm glad I read the reviews (Amazon and elsewhere) and looked at someone else's copy before purchasing this; it made me decide not to bother. £80+ is extortion for what you get and is flagrant profiteering. I've been a Jam fan since 1978 when I first heard them, and Weller & Co are the main reason I then went on and accessed so much great music (and music scenes) over the years. But I shan't be poking £80 anyone's way for this box of missed opportunities....there was so much more they could have done with this set; especially for the price.
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on 26 February 2014
Being a true Jam fan their last album was never my favourite. Paul Weller who has been my hero from day 1 right up to now was in a very experimental stage in his life! Infact too experimental that a lot of the songs lose their soul. Especially "Trans Global Express" &"Precious" even though brilliant musicianship is showcased, tends to be too cluttered. Still the opener "Happy Together" with its rousing chorus & the haunting "Ghosts" are gems not forgetting "Running On The Spot" & "Carnation" that are spot on!! The classic "Town Call Malice" has the most amazing lyrics of all time as does "The Planner's Dream Goes Wrong" even though the calypso style does not quite seem to fit in. All in all I would give the album 4 stars but the bonus material is great. The bonus disc of b sides & out takes is worth for "The Great Depression" alone! The live CD is a collectors item & the DVD completes the set. The book has great photos, quotes & a track by track review by Paul Weller. For a Jam enthusiast like me a MUST HAVE!!
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on 3 February 2015
While the packaging is nice with replica programme, photo's and lot of pics. The main reason for buying this is the music!
How disappointing is the mastering on this! Where's all the bass?
Bruce Foxton must be thinking where am I?
The sound has been cleaned so there's a bit more treble but the driving bass has been lost.
Buy this as a nice memento but hold on to you 1997 re-master if you want some bass on 'Town Called Malice'
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on 20 February 2013
An amazing package for the Jam fan in your life. If you don't know The Jam, where you been? The Gift was the last studio album and here it is given the deluxe treatment, you get 3 discs ( two studio, one live) and a DVD (gig) along with postcards and a book.
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on 20 April 2015
My childhood musical heroes. Many happy memories in this set
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on 8 January 2015
Five stars for the music but the price is a bit steep.
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on 14 December 2012
I haven't heard this as yet as I am expecting to receive this for Christmas.
I cannot comment on the sound cause as I say I haven't heard it.
But as someone who has been ardent Jam fan from the age of twelve I feel this is a missed opportunity to round up the final chapter of probably the last great English band.
For me it was disappointing to see get yourself together as a bonus track on Sound Affects
as it was recorded around the time of the Gift sessions, And why the bands version of my minds eye wasn't included is a total mystery as it was recorded at the same time. Also why isn't I got you included as it was recorded at same time as the other soul covers which at the time were rumoured to have been coming out as an Ep. It is good to see the original version of War which was the b side of the 5 o clock hero 12 inch single included.
It would of been nice to see one of the Hammersmith or Sobbell shows that took place before Christmas 81 included , They played some great covers on those shows.
For me the other things missing are
Solid bond in your heart band version
the brass version of tales from the riverbank
also the demo of Dr love which was recorded by Tracie.
I am still looking forward to getting it for Christmas i just wish there was more fan involvement.
It will be intresting to see what will be reissued next? My money is on a super deluxe of Café Bleu.
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