Forgotten series: Jet – Nothing To Do With Us: A Golden Treasury Of Jet (2000)

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Not at all associated with the contemporary Australian band of the same name, these fellows came from London, England and got together in 1974.

Toting impressive pedigrees, the group included lead singer Andy Ellison and drummer Chris Townson, who both played with John’s Children, which also featured Marc Bolan. The other members of Jet were lead guitarist David O’List, late of the Nice and Roxy Music, and two Sparks refugees, bassist Martin Gordon and keyboardist Pete Oxendale.

Picked up by the CBS label, the band delivered their debut album, simply called “Jet” in the spring of 1975. Produced by visionary knob twiddler, Roy Thomas Baker (Queen, Journey, The Cars), the record ably addressed the glitter rock craze of the day, with flicking wrists and flailing arms intact. Gorging on a high-calorie diet of dramatic vocals, thickly crusted power chords, rollicking piano fills, shouting choruses, meaty, big and bouncy Mod minded drumming, weighty hooks and a whole lot of flashy noise, “Jet” proposed a great collection of songs.

The band eagerly began work on a subsequent album, but since their first effort failed to move mountains and part seas, the record company dumped them. And that was that.

A double disc packet, Nothing To Do With Us: A Golden Treasury Of Jet (Fan Mael Records) contains the band’s sole album in its entirety, plus a glut of previously unreleased material. Though “Jet” definitely plugs in as a classic of its hammy glammy kind, with “Nothing To Do With Us,” “My River,” “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend,” “Brain Damage” and “Start Here” strutting and stomping forth as some of the grand goods to be cherished, the tracks whisked off to the vaults are just as inviting. Cloaked in inventive arrangements and progressive melodies, “Hand On My Heart” teeters with naked emotions, the Chuck Berry meets the New York Dolls styled “Johnny Mekon” rocks with unstoppable energy, and then there’s pieces such as “Horrible Breath” and “Lady Ricochet” cackling with raw creativity and catchy creases. The retrospective further supplies a few live cuts that were recorded when the band toured with Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson.

How true and obvious it is Jet nicked spicks and specks from the Sweet, David Bowie, Mott the Hoople and Queen. But they were noticeably quirkier and edgier than their influences. Jet was actually ahead of their time, and had they arrived a couple of years down the road they would have probably been top dogs of the punk and new wave scene. Give a listen to folks like XTC and the Talking Heads, and even the Clash and the Cars, and it’s not hard to sense the presence of Jet lurking in the shadows.

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Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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