Thursday, July 14, 2005

no elvis, beatles or the rolling stones!

"In 1977 I hope I go to heaven.
'Cos I been too long on the dole,
And I can't work at all.
Danger stranger!
You better paint your face!
No Elvis, Beatles or the Rolling Stones."
('1977' - Strummer/Jones)

it seems to be clash nite in the old wreckroom tonite.
not that s.a. has much to say, i am the dread at the controls.
she is wrapped up in an internet chat party and i am left to my own devises, uh-oh . . .

i just got the jr. murvin cd of 'police and thieves' today. and yes, it is so cool to hear his falsetto all nice and clean with no scratches, (except for the excellent lee 'scratch' perry production).
so that lead me to pull out old 45s and show 'em off, though she wasn't looking. so i guess i'll share with ya'll . . .

i have all the early clash 45s, with the covers. these guys really did a wonderful job putting out singles during the punk movement, prolly some of the best. the records always had an obscure b-side that was just as good as the a-side, (the white riot/1977 45 is still one of my fave singles of all time . . . 2 sides, 4 mins and the most powerful rock statement!). and the covers were very punk art. and very clever.

and i just loved the attitude the clash had, they loved all kinds of music. they tried all every influential style on 'london's calling' then threw all the money they had to buck the industry and release a sprawling 3 record set about revolution and partying called 'sandinista!', (even having the balls to designate the record # with the prefix 'fsln', the call letters for the nicaragaun liberation front). very ballsy.

and they embraced the power of reggae and twisted the punk to make it fit. the clash enlisted the jamaican artist mikey dread to give the reggae they were playing some depth and credibility, and it worked. the stuff he did with the clash on a few singles and the sandinista! album is smokey and muggy like a warm island afternoon on ganja.

i loved reggae as soon as i bought the first wailers lp on a whim, (the one that looks like a zippo). we would have these rasta parties in the '70s where everyone put up for pot and we made a huge spliff, (according to rasta rules, made with corn husks and jutting about a foot from your face), played all the reggae we had and.. just.. drifted... mon.
so when the clash started this kinda hybrid punk-reggae, i was all into that too . . . as early as the 1st lp they were rippin' on jr murvin's 'police and thieves' and later it just got better.

'sandinista!' is the pinnacle tho'. the vastness of the music, the mistakes and majesty, it seemed they were just hanging on a ledge, nekkid for the world to see. it is so ambitious musically, touching every base, with style and surpassing anything any 'punk' band has tried to do. the lp came with a very cool double-sided poster w/ lyrics and bizarre art work and contains the best of the songwriting of joe strummer and mick jones. in fact jones really shines here with very graphic portrayals of late 70's life in britain. songs like 'police on my back', 'up here in heaven' and somebody got murdered' resonate with the feel of london today. and to me 'something about england' is up there with 'waterloo sunset' as the archetypical british songs of the post ww2 era.
the album reminds me of the 'white album' on steroids. too much to take in at once, hell, i am still trying to digest it.

the follow-up, 'combat rock' seems undone, (i think they spent more on the cover shot than recording. . . ). and the last one, 'cut the crap' was done right dissed by strummer and the bass player paul simonon after it was released, (jones had quit to form b.a.d. by then).
i caught the clash at the warehouse for the '82 tour and they were just exhausted, (this was like a week after strummer went m.i.a., he was 'found' just before the new orleans show). by this time the band was lyrically subversive, but the music lacked the primal punch of the earlier stuff, it was as tho' the band had given everything to put out 'sandinista!', and there wasn't much left. they put out that one last uber-lame lp then broke up officially in 1986, but it really was over after 1980.
but they did live up to the hype, for awhile.

some mp3s from 'the only band that matters':

mikey dread and the clash - rockers galore. . . u.k. tour
the clash - 1977
the clash - something about england
the clash - police and thieves

bonus mp3:
junior murvin - police and thieves

get the clash and junior murvin!


Blogger Ben 979 said...

As a HUGE fan of the Clash, I was very interested to see you list a few songs that I think are truly great, yet go unnoticed by many. "Something About England" has a great commentary, and "Police and Thieves" just *might* be the best song they ever did. "Lost in the Supermarket" and "The Magnificent Seven" and "Somebody Got Murdered" rank way up there too!

I though "Sandinista!" was a bit much, had it been cut to even a double album it may have been better (imho, of course).

"Combat Rock" was a let down (although a few of the songs are 'decent') and "Cut the Crap", well, enough said.

10:36 AM CDT  
Blogger sleepybomb said...

agreed, 'sandinista!' is a bit bloated and coulda been whittled down some, but that is why i like it so. just as the beatles white album woulda been a better single lp, it is the throw-away shit that makes it so appealing . . . i just dig the un-dug anyways.
thanks for stoppin' by.

4:47 PM CDT  
Blogger nostradumass said...

damn, taking a walk down memory lane with you again. 'lost in the supermarket' was my themesong for a while in high school--the lyrics and guitar work just resonated with me. i had the story of the clash (not sure which volume... i think 1) and borrowed combat rock from a friend (or stole it from my brother, you never know after all these years). never have heard sandinista all the way through, though--perhaps i've been missing out all these years. i also find myself digging the undug sometimes...

you gotta admit that the triple album is ballsy as hell, though... sink or swim punk rock attitude, i guess.

7:12 PM CDT  
Blogger sleepybomb said...

well, well, hey nostra! i figured i'd hit on something to pull ya back in here sooner or later. how the hell ya been?
glad to hear from another clash fan all the time. i still think the 1st lp is the best but 'sandinista is just so. . . epic!
welcome back!

8:01 PM CDT  
Blogger nostradumass said...

i've been good, thank you, and i've been lurking all the while. just been taking a break from my own blogging duties. i noticed that you changed from figure 8 to basement around the same time i went back to basement from my either/or / xo kick. synchronicity or something?

i have to take issue with your (and many other people's) assertion that the white album could've been trimmed down to one disc(tape/record). of course, i have it on cd, so it's easier for me to advance past #9 and obladi and birthday, but that's about all i see as throwaway on that album, and i still like birthday sometimes (say, on my birthday), and some might contend that obladi and #9 are essential, but... whew. sorry bout the tangent, but criticizing the beatles (and more importantly, the white album) to me is like criticizing jesus to a southern baptist... just gets the blood a'boiling. speaking of, who is your favorite beatle? inquiring minds and all that... i'm of an evolving opinion, appreciating george more than i used to for his songwriting skills.

oh, and i totally stole your flood st. pic for a later date... perhaps when emily's smacking "america's wang" (ie, florida). that's a classic picture, though.

peace sleepy!

8:52 PM CDT  
Blogger sleepybomb said...

actually, i could never imagine the white one being whittled down, (was just using as an example), tho to fit the whole thing on 1 cd ya gotta get rid of the fluff. and #9 is usually the 1st.
and if you saw the real wreckroom you'd know i'd be the last to speak bad about the boys.
as for my fave, it would be john. he was the brains of the operation, and was the one who gave george all the support he needed early on that helped improve his chops in songwriting.
as for the pic, have at it, i forget where i stole it from. . .
peas, out!

9:20 PM CDT  
Blogger nostradumass said...

yeah, i probably wouldn't have appreciated the white album as much if i only had it on tape and had to ff through #9... sheesh. i know you're not one to knock the beatles (i've seen a pic of the wroom via a guitar posting a while back)...

i have yet to hear ringo as the favorite beatle... how very not strange.

9:30 PM CDT  
Blogger nostradumass said...

oh yeah, and now back to the clash--gonna have to fish through my tapes when i get home tonight... you and your inspiring posts.

9:31 PM CDT  
Blogger sleepybomb said...

i dunno, at this point i rate ringo over paul. . . saw both in the last few yrs, both great, but it is that 'heather' thingy that gets me.
and i am glad i get ya all bothered enuff to dig around for shit.
i got as much of the white one demos and alternative takes and what-not as i can find,(which is quite alot). . . if ya want. . .

9:49 PM CDT  
Blogger nostradumass said...

you know me... the more cds i get, the more i want. i'm always in the market for more music. i'm gonna have to add you to my christmas cd list (like musical christmas cards). the next one is due to come out in august (long story involving hookers and lawn gnomes) and you'll probably have most of the music, but hopefully you'll find something new that you like.
i'll be in touch.

3:40 PM CDT  
Anonymous Leo The Wop said...

Say Patsy,

Didn't you have some song about 'lawn gnomes' yourself???

RE: Ike an' Spike an' Dyke......and that one gnome was smoking that pipe till he was blue in the face.

That is...
Until Mr. Cairo and Mr. Gutman confronted me and my Monsters one night and then the Duchess caught me putting yours back......

oh yeah, me and Arthur Miles were singing duets of Johnny Cash material today...Ring of Fire......and I just caught him singing I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles....... so I explained what he was singing to him and he stopped and started singing I'd like to be, under the sea, with Octopussy's Garden...6 years old and singing Ring of Fire and the Flames got higher...

9:26 PM CDT  
Blogger sleepybomb said...

i seem to remeber stealing lawn knomes one silly knight in metry. as it played out i think they ened up as our stage knomes . . .
but then again that was a life ago, i wonder where spike is now?
and does miles get into 'miles runs the voodoo'? very appropriate, bein' as he lives in the swamps and all.

9:50 PM CDT  
Anonymous Leo the Wop said...

he's a scared of dead peoples

12:00 AM CDT  
Anonymous Jenny said...

I'll have to show your post to Dave. He used to go to quite a few of their shows and would hang out with Joe Strummer every now and then. Hopefully at some point he'll write about it. He's also got a few of their old records. Pretty cool.

4:33 AM CDT  
Blogger sleepybomb said...

thanks jenny, i need to come up with something witty for a guest blog on the band weblog thingy. . . i am glad to know dave and i share the same love for the clash!

12:46 AM CDT  

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