Tuesday, September 21, 2010
The Magificent Clash List
So Last week... or the week before, some week anyway one of my friends sent me this thing on Facebook... basically it was a quick exercise take 15 minutes to think of 15 albums which really stuck with you over time. Then you send the request to 15 more people and everyone kind of compares notes... sounds easy enough innit? Bullshit! The kind of people you'd usually send this kind of request to have the most trouble with such a simple request. I found even choosing just 15 people to send it to, to be rather difficult. At any rate, I did my list, and sent it on. I found myself thinking afterwards how much I had left off. It made me actually feel bad, and I find this somewhat humorous what with all the pressing things that you could read in the news at any time. None the less it saddened me, and after discussing it with a music addict friend of mine we surmised the only proper way to do this was to break things down further. Top whatever number of albums in so and so genre... in some cases maybe break that down further into a decade or specific year. Basically it had my mind racing over bands and making all sorts of rock lists in my head.One band that always comes to mind to me is The Clash, so needless to say in the past however long it has been I have fashioned more Clash lists in my brain than I know what to do with. This morning I was thinking about songs... not albums. The Clash put out a lot of covers, covers I quite enjoyed. Many of them reggae cuts, and anyone who knows me knows well that I dig reggae, and that I love The Clash. The following list is not about the covers, that is likely a list of it's own, which may or maynot show up here at sometime time in the future. This one is covering originals. No specific order here, and it's in no way concrete. I find it rather difficult to say with any finality what my favorite so and so songs might be, particularly with a band I enjoy as much as The Clash. basically I am saying, this could change at any time, but for right now my Top fave Clash songs and why are as follows:
Deny - From their first self titled album UK version. Of course they got much better as time went on, but the energy was there from the start. This song is heavy and angry like UK Punk should be, and I really like the bit near the end when Paul and Mick begin screaming out What a Liar.
(Whiteman) In Hammersmith Palais - Again from the first album, US version. One of the few tracks from the first album to feature longtime drummer Topper Headon. Although this was only released a little over a year after the first album as a single in the UK, it shows a great amount of improvement on the band's playing. Some of which is likely due to Headon's drumming. We have that signature sound that went with all of their reggae flavored tracks present, with all the usual balls that comes with a Clash track. Yet at the time it was a break from what they were known for. This was known to be a favorite of Joe Strummers, and that in itself earns it yet even more cool points. The emotion on this track is what kills me, I saw The Mescalaros play this about a year before Joe passed and it nearly brought me to tears.
Safe European Home - First Track, Second LP. Possibly one of the LOUDests intro pieces I have ever heard. You could almost power an entire city on the fucking energy in this one. If you even have to think about why this would end up in my list, you haven't heard the song. They played it with even more enthusiasm live!
London Calling from London Calling - Yet another steamtrain hitting a brickwall intro, these boys really had a knack for starting the party with a bang! This is not one of their better known songs and enthusiasts favorite's for nothing. This was Joe Strummer calling out 1984, 5 years early, and his mates bringing up the soundtrack. Yet another scorcher live.
Guns of Brixton - from London Calling. rare Paul lead vocals and a fantastic reggae groove. Paul was arguably the most keen on Jamaican music and this would be the first song he wrote with the band. He was never comfortable with his singing voice, and I kind of think that alone makes the song even better.
Bank Robber - from Black Market Clash EP. If a gun were put to my head and I were forced to choose an absolute favorite track from The Clash, this would almost definitely be the one. Why? Well Have You heard IT??
The Magnificent Seven - from Sandinista. Joe Strummer, Rapper? say It Ain't So, Joe! It is so, and it is brilliant. Fucking Long Innit?
Ivan Meets GI Joe - from Sandista. This made the list based solely on the merit that it features Topper on lead vox. I don't think it a bad song in any way and it proves to be a strong track in the many sides of Sandinista. I just happen to enjoy Headon's voice and I think it's a shame we didn't hear it more.
Rock The Casbah - Combat Rock. Yes I know, this song got very big, the closest to commercial that the band ever ventured. There have been plenty of good songs that got popular...even over popular. Keep in mind also, this was the first Clash album I bought, and at the time it was brand new. How many other Punk bands can say their record was played in dance clubs in the 80s?
Straight to Hell - Combat Rock. Yet another long time favorite for me. I always liked the drums in this track, and I used to think that U2 owed much of their early sound to this song... back before they got bigger than the planet.
... I think that's ten. I could probably go on, but I am tired of typing. My need to discuss the Clash seems to be satiated for the time being. Read the list, enjoy the list, enjoy the songs, or not.
see ya next time.
PS: Hours after I compiled this list I of course thought of many many songs that should of could of would of made the list, had I bothered to think harder on it. Most notable would be either of the Capitol Radio tracks as well as a slew of others. I also noted the lack of Mick vocal songs, please do not think I am not a fan of Jonesy. While I tend to enjoy the songs with Joe singing lead more so, I don't mean to lessen Mick's strength as a singer and song writer. Like I said, lists of these sort are difficult for me.