As compilations go, this is one of the best from The Jam. Obviously there are omissions which will vary from person to person, depending on taste. What is great about this is the truly impressive remastered sound.
As I, and many others have stated across various media, there were problems with the “deluxe editions” - “Sound Affects” in particular - in that they were very tinny and the bass seemed very low down in the mix. “The Gift” was marginally better and “Setting Sons” better still, but none of them match up to the punchy, bassy beauty of this remaster. The set covers all the singles, some of the 'b' sides and the perceived "best tracks" from the band's six studio albums. Obviously, what tracks are included is open to conjecture - I would have liked a few more from "This Is The Modern World" and "It's Too Bad" or "Fly" instead of "Billy Hunt", and the original "Burning Sky" instead of a "demo version. These are small matters, however. For me, and for many, The Jam’s sound was underpinned by Bruce Foxton’s big, rumbling, rubber band bass on track after track (I am thinking particularly of “Down In The Tube Station At Midnight” right now), so, to hear it so blissfully up in the mix is a delight. The sound here is clear, warm and precise. Bruce Foxton is back in the mix, big time, and doesn’t he deserve to be. What you get on this compilation, it must be noted, are all those truly great non-album singles and some 'b' sides in excellent remastered sound - the punk attack of "All Around The World"; the catchy "Strange Town"; the lovely "The Butterfly Collector"; the upfront blast of "When You're Young"; the full band version of "Smithers-Jones" (which is the best one); the now iconic "Going Underground"; the psychedelic "Dreams Of Children"; the intense "Funeral Pyre"; the horn-driven "Absolute Beginners"; the soulful "The Bitterest Pill" and the upbeat "Beat Surrender".
What is a shame is that if these 44 tracks can be remastered so well, why not the other 40 odd in The Jam’s output? These are so good, it would be great to hear the rest of them given the same treatment. A Clash-style "complete studio recordings" using this standard of remastering would be most welcome.
By: The Punk Panther