I would have bet it all and I would have lost.
Listening to another genre-hopping release from Joe Jackson, this time, a tribute to lost British dancehall artist Max Champion, was not on my to-do list, nevermind loving it. But I went in because I love Joe. And I loved "Jumpin' Jive." And I loved "Night & Day" and "Body & Soul." And I loved his tribute to Duke Ellington. The classical records, not so much.
British dancehall music can be found in the music of many artists that we love from The Kinks to The Beatles to Queen and Sparks, and even the Rolling Stones on "Between The Buttons." Small doses seem okay. But an entire record might be asking too much. Instead, I found myself wanting more of Joe Jackson "Presents Max Champion in What A Racket." I was having so much fun, I actually said out loud to no one, "Awww" when it was over.
The name Max Champion sounded very familiar to me until I realized he wasn't a boxer or a silent film director. When I found out who he was, I realized I knew nothing about him. That may also be due to the fact that Max Champion was created just for this record. Whoever he is, a Joe Jackson persona or a character from the past, he has inspired one hell of an album.
I imagine British dancehall music meant a lot to people like Ray Davies and Paul McCartney and even Joe Jackson, which is why this record works so well. It's a labor of love and it is best taken whole, so no samples here. I don't think it would do the record justice and I think you'd be selling yourself short, like watching a random 15 minutes of a movie and deciding it wasn't for you.
Clear your head, especially if you are a fan of Joe Jackson. The record is about 40 minutes and it is complete joy from top to bottom.