RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Joe Jackson – British Live Performance Series
Rainman Records


Rating: B

In 1982, Joe Jackson had a huge hit with the song “Stepping Out” and he was then known forever after as that dude who plays cool jazz kinda pop rock stuff.  Before that, back in the early 1980s, when he was starting out, Jackson was a much different artist.

Rainman Records has released a concert recorded in August of 1980 that shows the younger Jackson was less kind and gentle, and more of a punker.  From the spiked hair on the album cover to the punchy chords on the songs, Jackson was pretty cutting-edge. 

The show was recorded at the Nottingham Theatre Royal in the UK, with Jackson just hitting the scene riding on his first single, the now classic “Is She Really Going Out with Him.”  That song is included in the set list, as is the show opener “I’m the Man.”  These two songs make the album worth the purchase price, yet there is not a bad note played on this release, to be honest.  His band back then featured guitarist Gary Sanford, bassist Graham Maby and drummer Dave Houghton... and they were jamming it out and hamming it up. 

While the music is punky and strong, it is still Jackson’s use of prose that takes the music over the top.  He has a quick mind, a sharp wit and a subtle irony to his words. 

He may be known for being stone-cold smooth nowadays, but back when this concert was recorded, Joe Jackson was a punk/pop rocker with both musical chops and lyrical substance… it turned out to be a good mix.

File this one under “Lost Gems” and check it out! 

    I'm the Man
    Evil Eye
    Beat Crazy
    Look Sharp!
    Mad at You
    Pretty Boys
    Is She Really Going Out With Him?
    Don't Wanna Be Like That

Jeb “I'm the Man” Wright