05 May 2005

Aztec Camera - Jump (loaded version)

12 inch : AC1T

As mentioned in that Smiths post, I have great respect for bands who put good stuff on B-sides. Fuck instrumental versions of the A-side, haven't ya got anything more to say?

Loads of my favourite artists had some of their best work tucked away as extra tracks.

As Peter Buck said in the sleevenotes to REM's 1987 B-sides compilation Dead Letter Office;

No matter how lavish that packaging, no matter what attention to detail, a 45 is still essentially a piece of crap usually purchased by teenagers. This is why musicians feel free to put just about anything on the B-side; nobody will listen to it anyway, so why not have some fun. You can clear the closet of failed experiments, badly written songs, drunken jokes and, occasionally, a worthwhile song that doesn't fit the feel of an album.

I'd add another couple of categories - artists like The Jam, The Beatles and The Smiths who were simply so talented and prolific that they could release good albums and good singles with good B-sides; and secondly that great staple of the B-side, the inspired cover version.

Aztec Camera were great for B-sides on pretty much every category. There has been a B-sides album released in Japan (Covers & Rare, WEA WMC5-671), but it misses off a couple of corkers, and it should be available worldwide.

Not only did they use their B-sides for some gorgeous original songs, but they were masters of the unexpected cover. You can expect to see a few crop up on this blog in times to come. True Colors, The Red Flag, Dylan's I Threw It All Away and, for now, this. Van Halen's Jump, recorded only six months after the original, as the B-side of All I Need Is Everything.

It was the flagship single for Aztec Camera's second album Knife, and their first release since signing to a major label. Would the corporate muscle have pushed out the subtlety, intelligence and quirkiness that characterised the previous releases on Rough Trade and the legendary Postcard labels?

This B-side was here to make the answer plain. Roddy Frame (the band's one-and-only in the same sense that Matt Johnson is The The) utterly disarms the cock-rock and makes it a gentle tongue-in-cheek acoustic glide.

On the 7 inch, that's all there is. On the 12 inch there's the Loaded Version, where it carries on longer and a squealy widdly-widdly metal guitar solo comes in and rocks away, getting louder and louder until it drowns out everything else. Mental.

[MP3 deleted to make space for new ones. Sorry!]


Anonymous said...

I saw Van Halen perform this song way back in 1984 at Donnington Monsters of Rock. The same show where AC/DC had huge cannons on stage......

Jump is a seminal piece of 80's rock. It's perfect pop-light for me. Not too worthy, but it makes me wanna dance and play air-guitar and keyboards. Reminds me of beautiful days as an 18 year old with hair getting longer and the white leather jacket I owned back then. (I still have the jacket, complete with a painting of a Toronto Water Company fire hydrant on the back..)

Roddy Frame is an undeniable talent that I've never managed to really connect with, despite several compilations coming my way. I "respect him as a musician", to coin a phrase.

Can't comment on this version of Jump as I can't get it to download at the moment for some reason.


Anonymous said...

Been searching hi and lo for this one since my vinyl collection got stolen (f*ckers). Contact me on: whoof (at) thedoghousemail dot com, i'd really like to listen to it again!


matt said...

I've put this on YouTube here

Anonymous said...

I would love the mp3 for Roddy singing Jump (loaded version). Please send to me at cecelia.stevens@comcast.net.

Been an Aztec/Roddy fan since high school. Still love the tunes as much as the first time I heard them.

Love your Blog by the way - sorry I didn't find it sooner!

Take Care,

Anonymous said...

this is a total longshot since you posted this 4 years ago, but I have to ask. Would it be possible to get the link to this and Fun Boy Three's Our Lips Are Sealed emailed to me at mreinartz(at)gmail(dot)com?? I used to have both on vinyl but lost during one of many moves.

Unknown said...

I loved this track and listened to it incessantly until the NME cassette fell apart. Since then, I have not been able to find the long version - its criminal that they edited out the best bit on the "best of" CD. Please send to me and I will be forever grateful!

merrick said...

Mark - I can only send it if you give me an address to send it to!

Anonymous said...

where has the song gone? my harddisk crashed and i lost the version... can somebody help me by sending me the song via mail?
thx in advance

merrick said...

Anonyperson, yes I can send you the track. Check the 'deleted tracks' bit of the side bar.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for the track!
Such a classic!!!