Happy birthday Joe Jackson!
No! Not the paterfamilias of the Jackson family of Gary, Indiana…
No, no! Not Shoeless Joe of Chicago blacksox fame and star of Field Of Dreams!
Yes! David Ian “Joe” Jackson the musician responsible for 23 (soon to be 24) prime post punk, swing, jazz etc. records. Today’s spin was JJs debut, 1979s Look Sharp:
One of my all time favorite album covers… the simple, stark black and white composition really sums up what you are going to get on this record. Not the snarly, loogie spitting, vitriol of many of the UKs best known punks… this is a punk record with a sense of 1930s cinematic style and elegance that still manages to punch you in the balls when you’re not looking.
The record starts off strong with three solid tracks: One More Time, Sunday Papers and the top 25 song that every dude I know has lived through… Is She Really Going Out with Him?
“Pretty women out walking with gorillas down my street”
“They say that looks don’t count for much and so there goes your proof”
“…if my eyes don’t deceive me there’s something going wrong around here.”
Side two continues the themes of love, resentment and living a life as beautifully as possible. It swings. It stabs, there’s a Reggae tune and it’ll even get you to laugh out loud occasionally. The LP production seems a bit compressed for the era, which is probably why it sounded so damned good on a car stereo in the 1980s.