March 1994. The record label, as usual, want to promote an album through lifting a further single from it. The band, conscious of the backlash from fans when this had happened before, are against the idea. But where in the past there would have been an irreparable clash between label and band, this time round a compromise was reached.
It was by now an open secret that during the recording sessions for Laid that much more material had been recorded. Indeed, James had hoped that the fruits of those labours, which were for the most part were well-produced recordings of demos and works-in-progress, would have been released alongside Laid in a limited edition form. In the end, it would be in September 1994, a full year after Laid had been released, that the LP Wah Wah was released.
The March 1994 single provided a taster for Wah Wah as one of its two lead tracks was culled from that material along with a track from Laid:-
mp3 : James – Jam J
mp3 : James – Say Something
Unsurprisingly, the radio stations stuck to the tried and tested and it was Say Something which was given all the prominence. Jam J didn’t at the time, nor today, strike anyone as an obvious single release……
The single was released as a CD and in cassette form with the CD single having two further bits of music:-
mp3 : James – Assassin
mp3 : James – Say Something (new version)
The former was a more than half-decent new track (albeit one which clocked in at under two minutes and whose storyline would no doubt be greeted with horror by the UK tabloids nowadays leading to an immediate ban across the airwaves) while the latter was exactly as it said on the tin and came in at over a minute longer than the version made available for radio play. At least it wasn’t a crazy dance remix….that came via a second CD and a 12″ single.
I never did get round to buying the second CD of Jam J. It was two remixes of the track by Andy Weatherall in his Sabres of Paradise guise, each clocking in at around 17 minutes in length. I have absolutely no doubt that it is top quality material but I balked at the idea of owning a James song clocking in at that length. Nor was I sold on it when reviews indicated that the remix was ambient music with Tim’s vocals more or less removed altogether. Very much an acquired taste.
The single reached #24 in the UK charts. Little did any of us know that it would be three more years before the next James single.