Joe Jackson “Night and Day”

Posted 19 Oct 2011 in 80s, Albums of 1982, Albums of the 80s, Rock + Roll

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#528 in the Series) is Joe Jackson, Night and Day

Just recently, I looked at the great self-titled Fleetwood Mac album from 1975. I asked the question “Has any band been through more incarnations than Fleetwood Mac?”  Joe Jackson’s story is similar. This hasn’t been a band going through different incarnations, his story is about a musician who has over and over, reinvented myself. His early stuff was chalk full of great post-punk rock and roll. He’s also done some great swing in his Jumpin’ Jive release. This was released the next year and almost had a Cole Porter feel to it. Heck, that’s where he got the title after all.

I hadn’t plopped this disc on the turntable in a long, long time. That’s one of the fun things about writing these daily tidbits. It forces me to expand on variety.  When I did slide this out of the sleeve and crank it up, I could not get over how great of an album this is.

Check out the video playlist below, I tried to find as many high-quality live versions of songs that I could. The album opens with “Another World.” I found a killer version of the tune from a late 1982 Saturday Night Live performance.  Pure genius. I can listen to this all day.

The song that ends side one (or as Joe titled it, the “Night” side) is the magnificent, “Steppin’ Out.” Not only is this one of the best songs Joe Jackson has ever written, I think it’s one of the best songs that anyone has ever written. Yes, you read that correctly. This song should be in the songwriter’s hall of fame.  Oddly enough, where Joe himself has reinvented himself, he’s also reinvented this song a few times. Besides the original version that’s here, he’s also done a lounge version and also a very slow tempo version. I saw him do that on the Big World tour. While I was a little bummed about not hearing the original, it didn’t take long to enjoy what we were treated to that outdoor summer evening.

Side two is referred to as the “Day” side.  The side opener is another Joe classic. “Breaking Us In Two” is a realistic look at an ending relationship. However, as good as that track is, it’s not the highlight of the side. That would be a lesser known song called “Real Men.”  This haunting song looks at what makes a real man. He looks at how it was looked at then, and now.

Make sure you check out the videos below.  Make sure you check out “TV Age.”  I was looking for a version of it by its self. I couldn’t find one, but I did find a great one where Joe covers the great classic Manu Dibango song “Soul Makossa” before segueing into TV Age. Cool stuff, cool stuff indeed!

— Larry Carta

Track listing

Side 1 (Night side)

  1. “Another World” – 3:53
  2. “Chinatown” – 4:07
  3. “T.V. Age”  – 3:47
  4. “Target” – 3:48
  5. “Steppin’ Out” – 4:23

Side 2 (Day side)

  1. “Breaking Us in Two” – 4:53
  2. “Cancer” – 5:58
  3. “Real Men” – 4:04
  4. “A Slow Song” – 7:01

Personnel

  • Joe Jackson – Organ, synthesizer, harmonica, piano, hammond organ, electric piano, alto saxophone, vocals, vibraphone, Rhodes piano
  • Sue Hadjopoulos – Flute, percussion, bongos, conga, timbales, vocals, xylophone, bells, orchestral bells
  • Graham Maby – Bass, percussion, vocals
  • Grace Millan – Vocals, background vocals
  • Ed Roynesdal – Violin, keyboards
  • Larry Tolfree – Percussion, drums, timbales
  • Ricardo Torres – Percussion, claves, bongos, cowbell
  • Al Weisman – Vocals, background vocals

Links



Posted by Larry Carta


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