Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Song of the Day: Billy Sedlmayr on Paul Weller's 'She Moves With the Fayre'

Posted By on Tue, May 16, 2017 at 4:30 PM

A Kind Revolution
just dropped and it wasn’t Trump's latest riddle on Twitter referencing Comey's fast track to the wood chipper.

No, it’s Weller's umpteenth album release. One in which he may still be committing treason to the angry young idealist who in his late teens and 20s led the mighty Jam, running with peers The Clash, The Damned, and others, destined to the piper’s call of identity, purpose with guitars and drums.

Chasing his career, the new album has guest spots from Robert Wyatt, old-school soul-shouter P.P. Arnold, and Boy George, who’s back from the slums of newspaper gossip and curiosity. It’s an album that’s less cosmetic then the last one.

I swore off the Modfather for playing it safe, and for the death of his own urgency. I mean, this songwriter at one time captured British life, and like a soldier fighting for ground beneath his feet, he had a real sense of homeland, community, if nothing else. He was a contender, a thinker, with vanity, ego, sure, but that made This is a Modern World, All Mod Cons, Setting Sons and The Gift incredibly tough albums with respites of odd calm in songs like "Life From a Window," "Don't Tell Them You're Sane," "English Rose," "Butterfly Collector," and "Ghosts.”

The Jam had worn suits, neat and tailored, a mix of Northern Soul and the London scene of the late ’60s—Who, Kinks, Small Faces. They broke singles like beer bottles. Mod revivalists sure, but they hit those who became loyal to a fault.

When Weller broke the trio up in ’82, a hugely unpopular decision, with his mates, the fans—and he made no apology for it. Instead, he created the loose Style Council with Mick Talbot from Dexy's Midnight Runners, a great drummer Steve White, and even married member Dee C. Lee, a lovely black singer on leave from singing backup in Wham!

The blue-eyed soul bled into samba, jazz and all things not rock ’n’ roll star. But the outfit turned on a dime and dropped several beautiful singles, very French—think quant cafés meet Hammond organs. Great vocal takes, and then slightly big and overblown with dancing bears and the whole freakin' deal. Tripped me out. Took me 20 years to listen to the albums.

Now I really dig the Style Council singles and Weller’s Curtis Mayfield obsession, songs like “The Whole Point of No Return,” “Paris Match” and “Sure is Sure,” which Polydor flat turned away but is as close as Weller will get to Mayfield. The tune went huge in Japan, Sweden, and planets undiscovered.

Everyone can't be brilliant or even good all the time, excepting our new king, who knows how to really stir some shit up. Yessir, I'm on board with the White House, it may be selling real estate or perfume but it is making us pretty darn great after all. "Dropping Bombs on the White House" was a Style Council number that kicked up its heels in jazzy riffs and gestures.

Well Paul has got to be a bit discouraged what with our greatness and all, the Middle East, the refugees, the bigger, better walls to hide in or from. So I take his new Kind Revolution album as another plea to go easy on this ol' world. The song “She Moves With the Fayre” feels live at its core, and is one of his stronger tunes, and he brings a nice spacious groove with funk tom-tom hits and the remixed version I got has the swell of the group and Robert Wyatt's reedy voice and a sweet blow of that horn.

You got to give Weller some skin for his accomplishments—and, he never broke in the U.S. of A. or became Sir Paul Weller. An original that ain't thrown in the towel just yet. Dig it.

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