Joe Jackson studio album, released March 11, 2003.

After the Night and Day II tour, Joe began working on new songs, and had several written (as well as a few songs he had performed live but had left off his last few albums) when he realized that 2003 would be the 25th anniverary of him getting the original Joe Jackson Band together. Joe's not one for nostalgia, and has never really done the same thing twice, but he realized some of the songs would work really well with his original 4 piece band (Jackson on vocals, piano, organ, and melodica; Graham Maby on bass, Dave Houghton on drums, and Gary Sanford on guitar). He says that nostalgia is a "recreational drug"--fine to use once in a while, but not something to be indulged in frequently.

A few phone calls in mid-2002, the boys were interested, and they got together for rehearsals. They still could make the music, so they decided to record a new album together, but first, they would rehearse in front of club audiences in the UK in September, 2002. They played 6 dates, with a mix of material from the first three Joe Jackson albums (Look Sharp!, I'm The Man, and Beat Crazy) and several new songs.

The album was recorded in England in October, 2002, live in the studio to 24-track analog tape. Fast and furious. The production is a bit muddy, by design. Good drum sounds, a little compressed in the soundstage, but I think this is for the effect that this band is playing for you in a cramped, smoky bar. There's tape hiss and everything.

This album is clearly a return to form of the first three albums, hence the name Volume 4. The beautiful thing about it is that they're all better musicians, and Joe's a better singer and songwriter. Say what you want about Joe's excursions (Night Music, Heaven and Hell and Symphony No. 1), they've informed his ability to write 4 minute pop tunes. The lyrics are witty and poignant. Many of the songs are having fun with traditional gender and sexuality roles, much as Joe has explained about his own sexual ambiguities, and fascination with androgyny. The band is tight, fast, and smooth.

Initial copies come with a 6 song bonus disc from the September 26, 2002 concert in London. The songs are from the first two albums, much in the style of the album tracks.

If you're someone who used to like Joe Jackson, or only know his old stuff, give this one a spin.

Tracks:

Bonus disc tracks: < Two Rainy Nights/Joe Jackson Live |

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