Clips & Pix: Joe Jackson/Geraldine And John

Lately, I’ve been listening quite a bit to I’m The Man by Joe Jackson. His sophomore album from October 1979 is my favorite among his records I know. The timing is not entirely a coincidence.

One of the reasons I dig the album is because of the bass parts by Graham Maby, with whom Jackson works to this day. A few months ago, I decided to get inexpensive bass equipment for home use to see whether I could revive the moderate skills I once had close to 30 years ago.

Since I’ve always liked Maybe’s bass playing, I’ve been working to figure out some of his bass parts. I’m not gonna lie – some of this stuff ain’t easy, especially when you’re rusty, but fortunately there’s YouTube. Plus, I’m doing this to relax and have some fun, not because of any bigger ambitions. I simply don’t have the time to take things to any higher level, not to mention that my skills would certainly need to improve!

Anyway, this is where Geraldine And John came into the picture. Except for a cover of Chuck Berry’s Come On, all tracks on the album were written by Jackson. Not only do I love the laid back groove of the tune, but I also dig Maybe’s bass line. It’s not super complicated, which is why I guess I’ve been able to figure it out 95 percent. But it’s just great, both rhythmically and melodically, effectively helping propel the song forward – exactly what a bassist is supposed to do!

I also like to acknowledge the two other musicians in Jackson’s band at the time: Gary Sanford (guitar) and David Houghton (drums, backing vocals), who both do an excellent job as well. On December 15, 1980, the band played their last gig in the Netherlands in the wake of Jackson’s third studio album Beat Crazy. Jackson decided to reunite them for his 2003 album Volume 4. They also toured together leading up to the record’s release and thereafter.

Sources: Wikipedia, Rolling Stone, YouTube

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18 thoughts on “Clips & Pix: Joe Jackson/Geraldine And John”

  1. Musikalisch ist Jackson hier auf der Höhe seiner “Ska-Zeit”. Wer “Look Sharp” mag, der wird auch bei „I’m The Man“ auf seine Kosten kommen. Für mich bleibt ganz klar „Body And Soul“ sein stärkstes Werk.

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    1. “Body And Soul” ist eine Klasse Scheibe und mit all den Jazz, Soul und Salsa-Einfluessen musikalisch zweifellos wesentlich anspruchsvoller als “Look Sharp!” und “I’m The Man.” Ich hoere gerade noch einmal in die Platte hinein.

      Aber ist es gerade die Abwesenheit von musikalischer Komplexitaet, die fuer mich den Charme der beiden ersten Alben ausmacht. Der schnoerkelose Sound der Band war einfach stark.

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      1. „I’m The Man“ bietet über weite Strecken solides Handwerk. Die Parallelen zwischen Elvis Costello und Joe Jackson waren ja damals frappierend. Beide waren Eklektiker und spielten Power-Pop mit der Aggressivität von Punk, beide waren exzellente Songwriter. Mich hat „Body And Soul“ am meisten überzeugt, weil Jackson hier mit seinem Musik-Perfektionismus die gängigen Genres der populären Musik auslebt, ob melodische Jazz-Einflüsse, Latinsplitter bis zu teils trivialen Mainstreamelementen wie ein „Happy „Ending“.

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    1. Agree, this album stylistically is very similar to “Look Sharp,” which I also dig. It’s also remarkable that both of these records were released within a time span of just eight months!

      I guess part of the reason why I like “I’m The Man” even more is that I’ve had it on vinyl since 1980. It’s still in great condition, even though I’ve listened to it many times over the years!

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  2. Love this song, album and artist. There are few artists that have had a bigger impact on me than JJ, and I especially love his original band…who should be revered as much as The Attractions. I was a bit disappointed by the reunion album and tour (not terrible but a missed opportunity), yet I was thrilled to finally see the original band in concert. My first JJ show was on the Body & Soul tour in 1984, even though I was a fan from the release of the first album. Graham Maby is one of my heroes. His bass parts are so clever, complicated while sounding simple, and his background/harmony vocals are so key to JJ’s sound. He also did some great work with Marshall Crenshaw, Freedy Johnston and numerous others I can’t recall right now.

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  3. Good tune. I didn’t know it. For the record, my chiropractor follows my blog pretty religiously. Big music fan (originally from France) and this is his era. After he read my Joe Jackson post a while back, he went to JJ’s site, found his tour info and went to see him in Boston a couple months ago with his wife. Loved it. I had thought of going myself but, well, back to our discussion on which shows you go to $$$-wise. Plus, alas, it would be another show I’d go alone. I do enough of those. He’s swinging back and the closest (I think) he’s coming to you is New Brunswick, NJ.

    http://joejackson.com/tour

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      1. You’re right I did. And when I made that comment, I really thought I had missed the boat, including New Brunswick! Then something interesting happened.

        I got an email from the venue State Theater of New Jersey, advertising the show. Knowing it previously appeared there we no affordable seats, I was about to hit delete but then decided to take a look anyway.

        Not only did it turn out there were seats left, but at least some of them looked much more affordable than what I had seen before. Maybe those previous seats were offered by some rip you off reseller – frankly, I don’t recall.

        There is just too much fucking greed in the concert business. But in this particular case, it certainly looks like a happy ending. I guess I’ll find out in three weeks! 🙂

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      2. I think there are definitely games played but sometimes it’s just the market. When I went to see Lynyrd Skynrd it seemed like everybody in the row paid a different ticket price. I think too that there are frequently last-minute tix released and they may well drop the price just to get rid of them

        I went to a show last night that I’ll write about soon. But I finally came to the realization – and this is a tough one – that I’m kinda burnt out on the whole concert-going experience. I’m sure I mentioned this before but I just kinda sit there and watch, all the while thinking about what I have to do the next day. I’m having a hard time getting out of my head and into the music. This, for me, signals much more of a death knell for my concert-going days than any price issues. But I can say unequivocally that it put to rest any thoughts of going to see Queen or even Clapton. From now on I just sit home and work on my knitting. 🙂

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      3. Wow, Jim, I’m sorry to hear that. I hope you’re going to reconsider this. Though I will admit I have found myself in a similar situation where a concert experience was impacted by fatigue or other stuff going on in my life.

        But without meaning to sound overly dramatic here, I feel music is my only serious hobby and a huge passion. And while one can obviously enjoy music in many ways other than live, I feel there’s really nothing that can replace the concert experience.

        So if you took that away from me, I might as well shoot myself. The one advantage that would admittedly have is that I would no longer have to pay my friggin’ mortgage!😆

        Which kind of brings me to my main point. Probably like most middle class folks, I feel I’m working my ass off to provide for my family. While that’s what I signed up for, what’s the point if we can’t enjoy life at least from time to time?

        Music is my therapy to temporarily escape stuff happening around me, including things I would rather like to forget. As such, while I may have to reduce my concert indulgence, given increasingly ridiculous ticket prices, I just can’t see giving it up altogether, at least not at this time – and hopefully for as long as I live!

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      4. Well, don’t get your hair on fire over this. I’m just dialing back on live shows not giving up listening to music, playing guitar or blogging. If I’m paying money for shows and largely siting there bored, what’s the point?

        I’m kind puzzled by your reaction. I didn’t say “Christian, you need to go to fewer live shows.” No one’s taking anything away from you. I’m just talking about my own experience and how I’m going to spend time and money going forward. Don’t confuse my experience with yours as if somehow my going less impacts your enjoyment or my decision is somehow a value judment or your going. They’re unrelated, yes? Go! Enjoy!

        I actually still have two shows to go to this year. Who knows? Maybe a year off will be just the ticket.

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  4. No worries. Just wanted to make sure you hadn’t lost perspective on this thing. I used to have that passion that you have for going to shows but its waning. Truthfully I had more enjoyment listening to my Talking Heads Spotify list on the way home than I did at the show. I just couldn’t connect.

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