Happy Loving Couples (Tendolar TDR-085)
Park West, Chicago, IL – October 20th, 1979
(65:44): Look Sharp!, On Your Radio, The Band Wore Blue Shirts, Sunday Papers, One More Time, Friday, It’s Different For Girls, Is She Really Going Out With Him?, Baby Stick Around, Don’t Wanna Be Like That, Happy Loving Couples, I’m The Man, Got The Time. Bonus tracks: Throw It Away, Come On, Don’t Ask Me
Joe Jackson hit the scene in 1979 with a tremendous amount of energy and creativity. He released two albums, Look Sharp! and I’m The Man within six months of one another. Both albums plus all the singles charted and received heavy airplay on radio. Jackson distinguished himself from the rash of “new wave” acts in the late seventies by his wit, humor, creativity, and ability to adapt many different styles.
Jackson’s show at Park West in Chicago, about two weeks after the release of I’m The Man, was broadcast on WXRT-FM. All of the show except the final encore “Ain’t That A Shame” was broadcast. The recording utilized for Happy Loving Couples is excellent stereo. There are some cuts between numbers and the artwork omits “Friday” but it is present on the disc.
He is in very good spirits and delivers a very powerful and punkish performance. Before the opening number Jackson shouts “okay, you scruffy people. Look sharp!!” The tune segues directly into the new song “On Your Radio.” There is a bit of a breakdown at the end of the second song resulting in loud buzzing through the PA. It actually seems like an effect, but Jackson confesses to the audience that “I had a slight accident there.”
Before “Sunday Papers” Jackson reads the ridiculous headlines from The National Inquirer causing a lot of laughter with the crowd. “It’s Different For Girls” was his latest single and forms an interesting bridge to “Is She Really Going Out With Him,” one of the hits from his first album.
The tape ends with an extremely energetic version of “Got The Time.” It’s the perfect end to a show which displays Jackson’s early rough and heavy side, something which would change within a year or so and lead to some of his biggest hits.
The three bonus tracks are taken from the rare promotional A&R Records LP Propaganda. “Throw It Away” and the Chuck Berry cover “Come On” are taken from the May 12th, 1979 show at the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood. The final song is “Don’t Ask Me,” recorded in August 1978 and initially released in 1979 on B side of UK single “One More Time.”
Happy Loving Couples was pressed by Tendolar in the late nineties. The Tendolar label feature very cheap packaging printed on only one side of the paper. They also at times seem clueless about the sources for their CDs. But they are quite inexpensive and easy to find. Since Joe Jackson titles are an extreme rarity, this is good to own.