Joe Jackson, 1981
first, it seems like an odd undertaking-- punk/new wave crooner Joe
Jackson trying to belt out jump-blues and swing classics, but when
you listen to
"Jumpin' Jive" you can tell it's a perfect
fit. Jackson takes tunes from Cab Calloway, Louis
Jordan, and others, and gives them a contemporary feel. This
album is not a stylistic reworking of the genre, like seen in the more
modern retro-swing bands, but rather an honest homage to the great artists
that came before him. When this album came out, Jackson had
already made a name for himself as a pop artist, so there was no career
to nurture, no musical axe to grind.
"Jumpin's Jive," from
start to finish, is a labor of love--and that love really shines through.
Granted, there are some drawbacks to the album, that even Jackson
admits to. In the 1998 re-issue liner notes, he admits that he was never
a jazz musician but, "I managed to fake it pretty well." Jackson
really shines through when can let his pop sensibilities come out with
slower pieces like "What's the Use of Getting Sober (When You're Gonna
Get Drunk Again)" and "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby." All in all,
this was a great way of getting fans of Jackson, and fans of pop in general,
to take a listen to, and hopefully fall in love with, the popular music
from an earlier era.
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