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Joe Jackson - Joe Jackson's Jumpin' Jive

Before anyone had ever heard of The Stray Cats, Joe Jackson began the post-angry young man period of his career with this innocent album of jump-jive and swing songs. A relative commercial pause in his career between "Is She Really Going Out With Him?" and "Steppin’ Out," Jumpin’ Jive became a cult favorite, gaining in such stature after it was shamefully went out of print.


That’s the sound of the public getting the last laugh while the record company wrings its hands about the money it missed out on. See, in 1998, when The Gap’s ad agency decided that swing music was cool for the first time in 45 years, you couldn’t buy a CD copy of Jumpin’ Jive, a prime contemporary example of the genre. Now, in typical major-label fashion, A&M has woken up late and, in an effort to cash in now on a trend well on its way to being passé, re-released the record, spending the money to repackage and remaster a recording that never should have been deleted from the catalog in the first place. Like they say, you have to spend money to make money.

While it’s easy to be cynical about A&M’s motives in breathing new life into this particular Joe Jackson album—anyone holding their breath ‘til Big World comes out on CD domestically?—it’s of course better late than never. Jumpin’ Jive is hardly the only relatively recent swing album that matters, but, like Van Morrison & Georgie Fame’s beautiful 1996 How Long Has This Been Going On?, it is one of the few recorded after 1970 that’s worth seeking out. It will put a smile on your face. For those who want to go straight to the source of the original stuff, by all means start with Louis Prima’s Collectors Series (Capitol) and Cab Calloway’s Are You Hep To The Jive? (Columbia/Legacy). Hurry, or you’ll be late for those swing dance lessons.