One thing that I’ve always noticed is that my favorite albums by an artist are often tied in with a tour that I may have seen. That rings true with Joe Jackson’s Big World. I was lucky enough to have attended one of the shows on this tour at Popular Creek Theater (RIP) in northwest suburban Chicago. It was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.
A couple interesting notes on this album. For one, it was a digitally recorded album that was done in full song takes in front of a live studio audience. A few hundred people were invited to sit in silence and watch the proceedings. They were asked not to make a sound until well long after a song was completed.
The other odd thing was that this was originally released as a double disc, but only three sides had music on them! The fourth side stated that there was ‘No Music On This Side.’ If you dropped your needle on that side the track it moved quickly to the center spindle.
This album was more the “polished musician Joe Jackson” as apposed to the “angry young Joe Jackson.” I think that most people that I’ve seen comment like the angry version. It’s kinda hard to say, but as much as I like the early stuff to, as I mentioned early this is my favorite. There just so many great moments on the album. I love the variety that Joe throws at the listen. He plays some melodica, harmonica and recorder besides the usual piano.
Big World could losely be called a concept album with Joe running a continues theme of travel. During the three sides you’ll visit the wild west, Shanghai around the world and back to your hometown. In fact, “Wild West, ” “Hometown” and the title cut are my favorites of the bunch.
There is a DVD release of this tour. I HIGHLY recommend it. It’s called Joe Jackson, Live in Tokyo. Get it! Make sure you give a listen to the slowed down version of “Steppin’ Out.” (It’s the last video below)
The track sequence differed between the LP and cassette releases).
All songs composed by Joe Jackson.
- “Wild West” – 4:37
- “Right and Wrong” – 4:35
- “(It’s A) Big World” – 4:44
- “Precious Time” – 3:23
- “Tonight and Forever” – 2:31
- “Shanghai Sky” – 5:10
- “Fifty Dollar Love Affair” – 3:38
- “We Can’t Live Together” – 5:25
- “Forty Years” – 4:26
- “Survival” – 2:19
- “Soul Kiss” – 4:44
- “The Jet Set” – 3:50
- “Tango Atlantico” – 2:58
- “Home Town” – 3:12
- “Man in the Street” – 5:05
- Joe Jackson – vocals, piano, recorder, accordion, melodica
- Vinnie Zumo – guitars, vocals
- Rick Ford – bass, acoustic guitar, vocals
- Gary Burke – drums