Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It was 30 years ago...........

Thirty years ago this month The Jam released "Absolute Beginners" (U.K. Polydor POSP 350). I can recall with absolute certainty not being very impressed by it at first (a common issue with most Jam singles for me after "Going Underground", which was the first Jam single I bought hot of the presses after becoming familiar with them). I was far more impressed at the time by the B-side, "Tales From The Riverbank". I think I still prefer it, though that's not to say "Absolute Beginners" doesn't still resonate in my 45 year old mind in a positive way. It blows me away that thirty years ago I bought this piece of plastic (and it came with a cool little insert, which you can see below with the lyrics, a must for a teenager who's ears were not yet attuned to British accented songs).  And I still have it, with all of my other Jam singles.

Bring you a tale from the pastel fields
Where we ran when we were young
This is a tale from the water meadows
Trying to spread some hope into your heart
It's mixed with happiness - it's mixed with tears
Both life and death are carried in this stream
That open space you could run for miles
Now you don't get so many to the pound

True it's a dream mixed with nostalgia
But it's a dream that I'll always hang on to
That I'll always run to
Won't you join me by the riverbank

Paradise found down by the still waters
Joined in the race to the rainbow's end
No fears no worries just a golden country
Woke at sunrise, went home at sunset

Now life is so critical, life is too cynical
We lose our innocence, we lose our very soul

True it's a dream mixed with nostalgia
But it's a dream that I'll always hang on to
That I'll always run to
True it's a dream mixed with nostalgia
But it's a dream that I'll always hang on to
That I always run to
Won't you join me by the riverbank
Come on and join me by the riverbank


pete said...

yep,everytime i hear strangetown, it puts a tear in my eye,and takes me back to being 15 year old in 1979.the best year ever!!

JamesChanceOfficial said...

Yikes, 30 freakin' years...I'm feeling old.

EXPO67 said...

I can still remember seeing the promo video of 'Absolute Beginners' on some kids TV Show back in 1981. It's got Buckler, Foxton and Weller running down some street in their mod gear.

Being a keen sportsman, I remember at the time thinking that Buckler and Foxton were pretty good runners but Weller's running action looked a bit girly....

I looked on YouTube today and sure enough the video has been uploaded. I still don't rate the song very much. The brass is too much for me to take. 'Tales By The Riverbank' is far superior but much to introspective and uncommercial sounding to be an A-Side single.

dickvandyke said...

Just found your blog, old boy. Nice work.

As for The Jam ...
Forming a band? Try this blueprint for assuring integrity forever:
Hit the mark - Call a halt - Then fuck off.

The Jam recorded for 5 years (1977-82). In that time, they changed the lives of many (mine certainly), whilst incidentally, ecoming the biggest band in the UK.

Weller was accused at times of being fashionably nihilistic, inherently miserable, and steeped in unremitting cynicism. That, my friend, is complete bollocks. (I’m an old curmudgeon – so I know what I’m talking about) Besides, it is a fine line between cynicism and reality!

Much of the message of the music of The Jam was, in fact (to scattergun a phrase or two), about bringing hope into hearts, cuddling a warm girl, and dancing the night away with the gift of life. Because, when all is said and done, life is a drink – and you get drunk … when you’re young.

The stark contrast of a picture sleeve depicting grey damp terraced houses in industrial England was firmly against the narrative backdrop of ‘Tales From The Riverbank’ which is a nostalgic lament to days with ‘no fears or worries …just a golden country’. And, as this Blog is worldwide, you certainly don’t need to be British to appreciate the song’s message. I guess it works in the US, Europe, South America or even Japan?

As we stumble toward an interminable winter of discontent, stick this simple spirit-lifter on loud, and warm your old bones and your bitter, bitter soul.


Dickie x