I now know that there are far more extensive collections of The Jam's music, but as someone who was initially only familiar with the big hits, this three pound (from most stores and Amazon at the time of writing) compilation was just what I was looking for at the time.
Among the tracks, most of which brilliantly portray typical English life and living, are 'That's Entertainment', 'Going Underground', 'Town Called Malice' and 'Down In The Tube Station At The Midnight', which were the reasons why I bought the CD. However, track 9 'Wasteland' quickly became my real favourite for a while.
'That's Entertainment: The Collection'' offers plenty of other hits, as well as album highlights, B sides ('The Butterfly Collector' is a great tune, deserving of an A side) and a live recording of 'Set The House Ablaze'.
The packaging is also very nice, the cover looks cool, and the booklet contains detailed liner notes, photographs, newspaper cuttings and memorabilia. I doubt that the compilation will ever offer up anything brand new to someone who is a already a fan (then again, I doubt that they are the target audience), but from a causal listener's point of view - I can't fault it. Well, it would have been nice to have Paul Weller and his men's later mega-hit 'Beat Surrender' as well, but nevertheless, this budget album was a great starting point for me.
I never really liked the Jam when they were current and I can say that I like them more now than then.
This item was purchased for my son who has expressed an interest in the Sex Pistols and I felt that he needed a few more bands to examine and compare and so I have added to his collection an album of Clash Singles and of course this one. As he expands his knowledge of how modern music developed I dare say he will reflect on the stuff that I had before such as UB40.
What I think is tremendous is that music like this is being sought after by a boy born in 2000, demonstrating that whilst some of this stuff is quite old, it is not likely to be forgotten by those around when it was released and looks like it will be listened to for quite a while yet.
If you are new to The Jam you are in for a treat! The Jam never made a bad song, great singles band, some cracking B'Sides which often over shadowed the A'Side and some great Album tracks. That's Entertainment : The Collection is an Excellent starting point. With all great bands there are plenty of Greatest Hits collections to choose from but this budget collection has been thoughtfully compiled.
The classics are here 'Going Underground', 'Town Called Malice' 'The Eton Rifles' 'Tube Station 'Strange Town' and this albums title track but mixed with some lesser known album tracks including my favourite from All Mod Cons 'The Place I Love' and that standout album track from Sound Affects 'Man In The Corner Shop'. We also have 'The Butterfly Collector' possibly their greatest B'Side but a real curiosity is adding one live track from Dig The New Breed 'Set the House Ablaze' which for me was always a better sounding live track than it was on Sound Affects makes this a cleverly compiled collection. Ok its missing 'Start!' and 'Beat Surrender' their two other No 1 singles and their debut 'In The City' and no Bruce Foxton tracks but as a nice rounded mix its a very fine collection. Sleeve notes are also particularly good on this budget collection, well worth investing in. Best Jam compilation under a fiver!
This band were responsible for some of the greatest pop songs of the 70s/80s and this album has them all - although their presentation was more robust than Squeeze both groups wrote and performed some of the classics of the era