DISCOGRAPHY | POSTED ON: Friday 14th February 2020
Gifted, a tribute to The Jam
Gifted is the latest in a series of excellent ska tribute/Teenage Cancer Trust benefit CD compilations from Specialized UK, which have been released in part on vinyl by Jump Up in the USA; previous efforts have focused on The Specials, The Beat, Madness, Bob Marley, and The Clash. The selection of cuts on the abridged, vinyl version of Gifted (in its original form, this is a 4 x CD release!) are a mix of The Jam’s hit singles (in the UK, at least), b-sides, and album cuts (many from Setting Sons; all of them brilliant)–and the vast majority of the covers here bring something different and compelling to each version of these songs. In sum, Gifted is a powerful and winning set of tracks that do The Jam proud.
The Jam’s songs (and Paul Weller’s and Foxton’s enormous empathy for their songs’ protagonists) continue to be surprisingly immediate and relevant three decades on (and oftentimes they’re more accessible, as you can much more easily discern the lyrics in these versions!). Most of all, Gifted reminds the listener that being young and/or powerless in your own cruel and unjust country–when all you want to do is have fun, pursue your dreams, and earn enough to get by–is the same as it ever was