Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Jags - "Back Of My Hand" (1979)

You just have to laugh when you hear that the name of this band was "The Jags." C'mon. Just as the New Wave movement was building up a head of steam, every other new rock band had their skinny ties and their name began with "The." But The Jags?

OK, well, back n the late 70's, early 80's, for a short shining moment in radio time, WPIX-FM in New York played all the latest new wave and what was considered "alternative rock" for that era. This was before consultants came in and ruined everything good about radio. The other station that led the way in this edgy format was WLIR-FM, which broadcast then out of Hempstead, Long Island, but could be heard in the boroughs.

WPIX-FM played a lot of cool stuff, a lot of the "The" bands, and one of them was this absolutely fantastic piece of rock music which reminded me of Dire Straits, simply because they both prominently featured Fender Strat solos. That's where the comparison ends, though. The Jags came and went, like many other new wave bands, but they had it all riding on "Back Of My Hand."

All the new wave hallmarks were intact: biting put-down lyrics, unforgettable melodies throughout, hard-strumming rock guitars, short sharp stops. The single, lifted off the Evening Standard album, actually had high production values with every chord chiming clearly. Apparently, the song was featured on the Owen Wilson-starring "You, Me and Dupree" soundtrack from a couple of years back.

You only call me if your feeling blue
You tell me I don't pay attention to you
But if you only knew, just what I'm going through
You wouldn't phone those guys who mess around with you girl.

When i call you I get stack of lies
You whip 'em out before you dry your eyes
I'm not a fruit machine, a nineteen sixties dream
And in the 'bet you' list I bet you've never seen her.

You're not unreadable, you're not unbeatable,
I know just what you are, don't push your luck too far
You're not untouchable, not just another girl
I'd get in touch with you , I only wish you knew that

I've got your number written on the back of my hand (x 3)
I've got your number

As much as The Jags came and went, they contributed this one amazing song and for here, we salute them, wherever they may be.

What I love about the video below is that The Jags are not the best song synchers. My favorite guy is the blond guitarist when the camera moves in and pans around to him early on in the song. Not only is he nowhere near the song's timing, but he looks like he's spastically slapping the guitar. Too bad because the guitar playing on the single itself, including the solo, is superb. The end is cut off a little early with audience applause, unfortunately, but to hear this song again is worth it.
the jags - back of my hand

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