Friday, December 1, 2023

Sal Nunziato Presents Joe Jackson Presents Max Champion


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.


hpunch said...

I was wondering what you would think of this album. I am so happy you love it as much as I do. Instantly one of my favorites of the year. I was under the impression Max Champion is a fictitious character Joe Jackson created. These are really covers? The lyrics are very topical and very Jackson-esque.

Allan Rosenberg said...

I agree with you, the album's a hoot!

Captain Al

Michael Giltz said...

How did I miss this coming out? Thx! I was just about to listen to Big World again but now it's gonna be this.

cmealha said...

On my first trip to London I was taken to a Musci Hall revue which was all about this genre of music. I had a great time but never thought of pursuing any of this music for my listening pleasure.
I listened to the Joe Jackson album this morning based on your recommendation. I have to say I liked it a lot. I've been humming "Dear Old Mum" all morning.
You said it perfectly. We've been exposed to this type of stuff, in small doses, by a lot of the artists we love. I never thought that I'd enjoy an album full of this type of stuff so enjoyable. I'm not going to go out and get a whole bunch of Gilbert and Sullivan records, but this album resonated. The orchestrations are wonderful and Joe's voice was made for this stuff. How did Elvis miss doing this?

steve simels said...

Another record that seems relevant — “Lazy Sunday” by the Small Faces.

buzzbabyjesus said...

Here's a documentary:

Sal Nunziato said...

I think that "documentary" is a "mockumentary."

Christine said...

I enjoyed this from the first WHY WHY WHY! Never heard of this genre of music, but this kinda feels like I'm listening to an OCR of a Broadway show, which is good enough for me! I especially love "Worse Things Happen at Sea" and I've decided that "Never So Nice in the Morning" is now my own personal anthem.

You're right - you really can't just post a sampling. It's too good to leave anything out.

Also, you should make a list of your funniest blog titles - they're so damn clever!

Anonymous said...

Do you want to hear about the Bishop and the Actress? (Yeah!)

That was a fun listen. I had kind of forgotten about this coming out, so thanks for the reminder, Sal!


Michael Giltz said...

I second Christine. This headline def one of your drollest, mate.