London Calling – The Clash

What better way is there to spend a Sunday afternoon alone than to play London Calling (or as it is known in the north, That London Calling) very loud while throwing Strummeresque shapes of air guitarness in the kitchen.
There aren’t many other albums with a stronger opening track, it’s a timeless piece of Rock and Roll and deserves its place up with the best opening tracks of any album (I am including Gimme Shelter here).
But this listen-fest today is all about the cover. I spent the afternoon listening to the whole album, no skipsies, and while doing so I scanned every inch (or centimetre for you Europeans) of the vinyl cover. That cover shot of Simonon is something else, I doth my cap to you Ms. Pennie Smith, talk about capturing a moment.
My favourite track from this album changes week by week, today it is Guns of Brixton, Roots rock meets Gangster Rap. Last week it was the cover version to end all cover versions, Brand new Cadillac, what a song.
Hidden gem; Death or Glory
An aside; Travelling back to the UK in the late 1990s I was standing outside Gatwick Airport waiting for a hotel shuttle. A white van pulls up and a bleary-eyed Joe Strummer emerged with his raggle taggle possie. I was there by myself, nobody around, I had the chance to engage the great man in a debate on the burning political questions of the day, but instead I said how’s it going Joe? He was cordial and polite, but needed to catch a plane. I still regret that I missed my chance, 2 years later he was gone.

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Give Em’ Enough Rope – The Clash

The teacher says we’re dumb, We’re only having fun, You know we pissed on everyone, In the classroom
I have measured out my life with Clash vinyl. Well you have to have a hobby, don’t you? I remember when I first heard this album, not long after release, and wondered what was going on with Julie’s Been Working for the Drug Squad, that ain’t no punk rock I know.
Give Em’ struggles against the other Clash albums, basically down to the production and tailoring to the US market (apart from Cut the Crap of course, but let’s not open that Pandora’s Boxset) but I would argue that the first three tracks on this album are as strong as any Punk/New Wave album released in the late 70s.
Micro review; Sandy Pearlman’s first production job without excessive cowbell use
Standout track; English Civil War
Hidden gem; Stay Free, of course.