October 16, 2001
Paul Weller : Days of Speed
Live acoustic brilliance from the master songsmith
9 / 10
In many ways Paul Weller is caught between generations. The old folks, for their part, still can't believe he split up The Jam. Meanwhile, to a younger generation, The Modfather has come to personify a certain type of fusty muso revivalism, where punk never happened and men talk wistfully of what it might have been like to jam with Traffic, 'round George Harrison's, in 1972.
'Days Of Speed' then - live acoustic versions of songs from Weller's three
periods - may well pass, quietly, into history, an addicts-only affair. It is,
however, a record of such quiet, intense beauty that, given half a chance, it
will reassert Paul Weller's greatness amongst even his biggest doubters. Stripped of
Cradock and co, voice and guitar form an elemental force of great character.
Moreover, latter-day obscurities like 'The Loved' match classics like 'That's
Entertainment' for tumultuously emotional punch.
It is, of course, a man sat on a stool, playing a guitar and singing songs in a
husky voice. But it is in precisely this bare context that his respect for songwriting craft and his striving after that elusive quality, 'soul', make perfect sense and bear fruit.
As restless, in its own way, as anything The Jam ever recorded, 'Days Of Speed'
hovers high above all prejudice and preconception. Every home should have one.
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