The Jam: “Town Called Malice”

Posted: February 20, 2015 in THE CLASH of Cover Tunes
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Tune du Jour: “Town Called Malice” – The Jam
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: The Adjusters vs. Okano Kaori
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Homage or Theft? Paul Weller’s love affair with old school Rhythm & Blues, Soul and Motown have been on display throughout his career, possibly never more than on The Jam’s rollicking, catchy number, Town Called Malice. The song kicks off with the classic bass line that Motown’s legendary session artist, James Jamerson, composed for You Can’t Hurry Love and maintains a similar melding of soul and pop that the great songs from  the golden age of Motown pulled off so well.

Town Called Malice appeared on The Jam’s sixth album, The Gift. Released as a single in January 1982, Town Called Malice entered the chart at number one on the British music charts and remained there for three weeks. It was the Jam’s third number-one single in the UK and the band’s sole entry onto any American chart hitting No. 31 on Mainstream Rock Tracks.

The Original

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The Jam:

THE CLASH of Cover Tunes

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The Adjusters vs. Okano Kaori

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The Adjusters:

Okano Kaori:

Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. Only one cover tune will live to play another day and it is your solemn responsibility to decide which one prevails. So tell me … Which Side Are You On?!!?

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Comments
  1. Cuspid says:

    Great song. The Adjusters do a nice ska version musically. But the vocals are awful. Kudos to Okano for a nice Nouvelle Vague-inspired bossa nova version. And it’s always fun to hear Japanese speakers singing English words with the letter “R”.

  2. Arnold Plotnick says:

    Not one of my favorite Jam songs. I really like Okano Kaori’s version, though. I agree with Doug about it being very Nouvelle Vague-ish, and I really love NV, so this version is fine with me. The growly, gruff vocals of the Adjusters version irritates me.

  3. The Bug says:

    I gotta go with Adjusters, I like the gravelly voice and the keyboard pops. I know its almost a carbon copy of original but this is song of my college youth and it has to move like that for me . . . fond memories of skanking to this number with Dougie boy in Gatorwood

  4. RDubbs says:

    Obviously The Adjusters’ take could have used some serious studio mixing. Even so, I prefer their high energy rendition to Osano Kaori’s lounge act. Don’t get me wrong, I do like Osano’s creative, easy listening feel but this song cries out for energy and The Adjusters provide it. I’d bet they’re a helluva lot of fun live.

  5. Arnold Plotnick says:

    Your begrudging agreement with me about the Replacements’ Swingin’ Party does not make up for your disagreeing with me on this one, Winston. I’m miffed.

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