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    The Clash

    The Clash ( 1977 )
    Janie Jones / Remote Control / I'm So Bored With The USA / White Riot / Hate & War / What's My Name / Deny / London's Burning / Career Opportunities / Cheat / Protex Blue / Police And Theives / 48 Hours / Garage Land

    There was The Sex Pistols, and then The Clash. Rivalry? The Clash were the marginally more 'musical' of the two groups, although lacked The Sex Pistols ability to delight, frighten and disgust an entire nation in quite the same way. Still, The Clash have the better melodies if we're talking debut albums. The power and image of The Sex Pistols may have defined UK punk at the time, but 'The Clash' has a bunch of songs that are nearly always enjoyable without the sense that here is a tank coming to crush all in it's path. And yeah, that's a good thing, this debut, although still screaming out '1977' from the rooftops so to speak, has to my mind, stood the test of time better than 'Never Mind The Bollocks'. 'Janie Jones' is accomplished Punk music right from the start, punchy guitar lines and a chorus with one gigantic hook. Joe Strummer sings 'Janie Jones', Mick Jones adds his voice to 'Remote Control' - a slightly poppier punk song although still retaining 'punch' in places. 'I'm So Bored With The U.S.A' opens with a CLASSIC punk riff, very typical punk riff but even listening years later, the energy still shines through. The song is something to sing-a-long with.... FUN! And, the hits just keep on coming. 'White Riot' is aptly named, less than two minutes of sheer energy although the bass line pipes through noticeably here. 'Hate And War' comes across as something of a considered song, displays to me that The Clash really thought about the songwriting process, taking in classic Rock n Roll from the past. Punk was all about year zero, but you can't really have that, much as Malcolm Mclaren and others may have pretended otherwise. Of course, it could be your own personal year zero, but that's another thing entirely.

    The Clash didn't quite have enough stellar songs to fill this 1977 released debut. 'What's My Name' and 'Deny' for example are a little more generic shall we say, than much else of what's here. 'London's Burning' picks up the standards again, something for the kids to chant with, punch the wall, set fire to your mattress and then realise you've got nowhere to sleep tonight. Still, no matter. There's a world out there, a whole wide world. 'Career Opportunities' is propelled by a short, sharp riff than runs throughout another Clash sub two-minute special. 'Cheat' and 'Protex Blue' join 'What's My Name' and 'Deny' in being lesser songs here, although they certainly don't stand out as being especially 'stinky', just not as good as 'White Riot', that's all. And you know, that's allowed for a debut. 'Police And Thieves' is an absolute standout, six minutes long! Is this punk? Not really, The Clash gave us all a huge signpost to their own particular future as early as this. The reggae rhythms reflected the sound of the streets of London, where reggae briefly became the Punk fans second music of choice. '48 Hours' and the closing 'Garageland' are both enjoyable, simple - huge fun to listen to. No perfect album then, but damn fine all the same. "We're a GARAGE BAND! We come from GARAGE LAND! Ahhhhhh."

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    Readers Comments

    Joe Aston captain_virage@hotmail.com
    This would have been the greatest early-punk album if it had been the US version. If they’d waited a bit and throw in White Man in H’smith palais, jail guitar doors and complete control on the original, it would challenge Marquee Moon, Ziggy Stardust, A night at the opera and their own London Calling as best album of the ’70S.

    TAylor Shull georgemorrison71@gmail.com
    I agree with your rating. "The Clash" is one of the greatest debut albums of all time. I prefer the UK version to the US version because of how the record label reorganized the album without The Clash's approval, although the singles that were added are truly classics.

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    Give Em Enough Rope 8 ( 1978 )
    Safe European Home / English Civil War / Tommy Gun / Julie's In The Drug Squad / Last Gang In Town / Guns On The Roof / Drug Stabbing Time / Stay Free / Cheapskates / All The Young Punks

    What was that I said about The Clash having more of a sense ( or respect, perhaps ) for musical history than The Sex Pistols? Well, lookee here. 'All The Young Punks'? Hmmm! The actual song is charmingly basic, but there you go. As far as the bulk of this follow-up set is concerned - any album containing 'Safe European Home' and 'Stay Free' at least deserves some sort of respect. There are less classic Clash songs here than the debut - but running to just thirty four minutes means this remains a decently enjoyable listen as an album work. 'English Civil War' and 'Stay Free' are steps beyond the debut, the sound of The Clash progressing as performers. 'English Civil War' is particularly entertaining with its "Hurrah!" refrain and guitar work that sounds improved in technical terms over much of the debut album. 'Tommy Gun' makes it three stellar tunes in a run to open 'Give Em Enough Rope' and some people have this down as being a weak album? Although it's a controversial viewpoint, for me personally, the much more celebrated 'London Calling' has far more 'weak' songs in its line-up than this record. 'Julie's In The Drug Squad' is never going to top the list of the average Clash fans favourite songs poll. But, this is bouncy and fun and contains lots of charming melody. It also boasts a nice Piano part, which is an interesting example of The Clash musically stretching their wings. 'Last Gang In Town' is the sound of The Clash all over, and wonderfully titled for them. 'Last Gang In Town'? Something for people to believe in? I'm no Clash fantatic myself, but I can really appreciate and dig this.

    'Guns On The Roof' may be one example of how 'Give Em Enough Rope' isn't perhaps as 'clever' or 'cool' as the debut 'Clash' set. 'Guns On The Roof' remains surpremely silly in a enjoyably fun way, though! 'Drug Stabbing Time' rather disturbs me, not an especially quality piece of work as a composition, although the guitar work is groovy. Still, 'Stay Free' dominates the second half of this album like the fantastic song it is. Evocative lyrics, little harmony vocal parts. A very affecting Mick Jones vocal and not forgetting to include moments of 'Clash' guitars either. A lovely, brilliant song. 'Cheapskates' reminds of The Buzzcocks or Magazine with the sound of the guitar lines. Joe Strummer turns in a typical Joe Strummer vocal "and he has never read A BOOK!" and so it goes. 'All The Young Punks' just makes me smile, and that's the end of that. 'Give Em Enough Rope' isn't a classic album, by any means, but it's certainly a fun listen. And yeah, there aren't as many great songs here as the debut, but not much that is truly terrible either.

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    London Calling 8 ( 1979 )
    London Calling / Brand New Cadillac / Jimmy Jazz / Hateful / Rudie Can't Fail / Spanish Bombs / The Right Profile / Lost In The Supermarket / Clampdown / The Guns Of Brixton / Wrong Em Boyo / Death Or Glory / Koka Kola / The Card Cheat / Lovers Rock / Four Horsemen / I'm Not Down / Revolution Rock / Train In Vain

    The two predominant popular music forms amongst those with their ears to the ground in London during the late seventies were punk and reggae. The Clash successfully melded those two forms across many of the songs here. Influential is an understatement. They were clever, thoughtful. Wrote a bunch of classic songs. Wrote some others too, and released a double album. Is the whole more than the sum of it's parts? Not really. Sides three and four are almost completely forgettable, so let's start with those first, before I forget. A good half of the album, remember? We do get 'Train In Vain', not listed originally on the vinyl track listings but present and correct all the same. Added at the last minute. It's one of the best songs here for my money, though not everyone would agree. Less 'the cool' Joe Strummer and more ‘the uncool’ Mick Jones. It's a pop song in format, hooks, simple lyrics. A guitar here and there. It's a strange thing. It's not an obvious melody, more of an insidious one than once repeated grows in power. It's not an immediately special song but it works in the context of the album. Especially considering what comes immediately before it…. 'Revolution Rock' is more Reggae than Punk - the mix not quite right somewhere here. The music is fine, the vocals are sloppy and not suiting the nature of the music. Somebody shoot me! 'I'm Not Down' sounds fine, good melodically and performed well. 'Four Horsemen' would never have been considered if this were a single rather than a double, album. The Clash, being The Clash, invest it with some fine moments -Joe Strummer sounds in fine voice but ultimately it's filler. 'Lovers Rock' is sub-standard from a band of this standing. Again, reggae influences abound, lyrically rather than musically. 'The Card Cheat' invented 'The Boomtown Rats'. 'Koka Kola' is rather entertaining, a mindless two minute punk blast as far as the music is concerned, lyrics intelligent and biting. 'Wrong Em Boyo' is a drunken pub rocker morphing into a ska number, 'Death Or Glory' more considered and containing fine guitar playing.

    'London Calling', the opening title track, still sends chills all up and down the spine, some twenty years on. 'Brand New Cadillac' is an impressive re-working of an old Rock n Roll number, completely brought up to date for the punk generation. 'Jimmy Jazz' is ramshackle in a charming sort of a way and shows Joe and Mick working together well. 'Hateful' contains a bunch of melodic moments, 'Rudie Can't Fail' works amazingly well as a perfect blending of Reggae and Punk. 'Spanish Bombs' and the strangely romantic 'Lost In The Supermarket' both display the more pop pleasing melodies of Mick Jones. The combination, the partnership of Joe Strummer and Mick Jones, worked extremely well. Each musically complimented the other, bringing different elements into the melting pot. 'Clampdown' is a thing of wonder - again, Mick and Joe work together very well. 'The Guns Of Brixton' is possibly the most startling of the lot, even more so than the epic, classic title song. Hugely influential, a reggae beat, political punk vocals and lyrics. It's utterly haunting and special. But, this is a double album. There is always trouble when it comes to double albums. A famous example is 'The White Album' by The Beatles. The filler on that set was generally so very ridiculous it didn't seem to matter. It was funny! It added to the album as a whole! This isn't a Beatles page however, so I’ll leave that there. 'London Calling' deserves its stature in the music world through it's influence and a handful of classic compositions. It's not an album however, that in my view, is very easy to listen to from beginning to end. Which, until the advent of CD technology, was pretty much how you had to listen to an album. That's if you didn't want it scratched to buggery!

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    Readers Comments

    Peter Sternfeld petersternfeld@msn.com
    Although there are a couple throwaways on this album, I think that it deserves better than an 8. The first ten songs are great, especially 'London Calling', 'Brand New Cadillac' and 'Rudie Can't Fail'. I agree that 'Revolution Rock' and 'The Card Cheat' are not great, but it is a phenomenal album anyway and deserves a 9.

    I think this album deserves at least 9, I think it's a 10, but it should upped to an 9 because that run of songs from Hateful to the Guns of Brixton is one of the greatest runs of songs ever. If you just focus on that group you'll see that it overshadows the whole album so much so that despite all the throwaways( that are really quite good in their way among the greatness of the other songs) that group of songs, ultimately, is a better clash album than any of the others.

    Jamie Edmondson jeffbuckley94@yahoo.com
    Lost In The Supermarket is such a great song! Am I the only one that thinks The Card Cheat rocks?! It's vocals are wicked! Some throwaways, but what we've got here is an album that took 1980 by storm and's still a modern day classic.

    Simon B slb23@shaw.ca
    This is the only album I own by The Clash. I think that this is one of those albums that would've benefited from being a single album instead of a double. However, it is VERY INFLUENTIAL, having incorporated many styles (punk, rock n' roll, pop, and ska) into one sound. And it still beats the sht out of The Sex Pistols. Best songs: "London Calling", "Hateful", "Spanish Bombs", "Clampdown", "Death or Glory", "Lover's Rock", "The Card Cheat", "Train in Vain". 7.5/10

    matthew byrd matthewbyrd@hotmail.com
    Well, I have to say I disagree with this review. London Calling is probably the greatest records of the new wave movement. London Calling contains some of the most sophisticated and musically diverse songs in "punk" music. The knockout title track and the political discontents in songs such as "The Card Cheat" "Revolution Rock" and "Lost In The Supermarket" are superb-not only as social criticisms but musically as well. Of all the records of the new wave movement Elvis Costello and The Clash really made gave it critical respectability, London Calling is the most ranged as any of the others and proves to be far more facinating than hearing the Sex Pitols scream "Anarchy for the U.K." (at least on repeated listenings, anyways).

    matthew byrd matthewbyrd@hotmail.com
    no, no, no, this one gets a 10 from me.. I disagree with you on this one. London Calling shows the new wave movement at its best. From the explosive title track to "lost in the supermarket" and "the card cheat" to "train in vain" this one is grand from beginning to end. London Calling recieves an undisputed 10 from me... now, when are you going to review Bruce Springsteen, some Prince, and more Elvis Costello!

    Guy guy@guypetersreviews.com
    Jesus H. Christ on a rotten crutch. Yesterday, I decided to give this album another spin, whihc was at least two or three years ago (I have too many albums), and from the frist second onwards it was nearly hypnotised. The songwriting is strong, the structures are original, more genres than one can imagine are blended, and that rhythml section is just so fucking great. ALthough the first half nearly obliterates the second, I'd say that the first 14 songs are all ace. I'm still not that fond of "Lover's Rock", and usually my enthusiasm starts to peter out after 40 minutes, so I blame this on the fact that i'm not a fan of long albums. Anyway, in my book it DOES deserve its classic status, it IS one of the great double albums (along with Blonde on Blonde, Double Nickels on the Dime, Zen ARcade and Steve WYnn's Here Come the Miracles) and really one of the albums I'd recommend if some ugly, warted alien walked up to me and asked "Yo Peters, can you tell me about this Satanic dis! ease called ROCK N ROLL?"...Classis in each and every way. On a final note: I found proof that Phil Collins is actually the EVil One. Just wait...

    pointless peasant captaincrash@isound.com
    Good review, and I would've agreed with it until about a week ago. then, because my girl left me and I needed some rage, I started paying it again and it turned in less than a week from an album I fairly enjoyed to my favourite album ever. songs like guns of brixton, hateful and train in vain don't get in to your head until after a few spins. Sure there are a few bad songs (really only lover's rock, and that one still has a nice hook) but the point of this album upon coming out was that it was a lot of songs for a little money, and you cant make an omelet without braking eggs

    alby damd albydm@aol.com
    Yah, I've only listened to it beginning to end about 2,000 times (if you bought the cassette and had auto-reverse it wasn't hard to do). This album holds up best of their catalogue because it did not treat punk as a rupture from rock history so much as the next step in its evolution. The best fucking album of all time, IMHO.

    The Fly thehouse1813@yahoo.com
    One of the top five greatest records of all time, in my opinon. 'Spanish Bombs,' 'Lost in the Supermarket' and 'Train in Vain' are just amazing and the rest isn't too far behind. I understand complaints with the length and amount of songs, but after about 10 spins the beauty and perfection of this record really starts to come out. 10/10

    TAylor Shull georgemorrison71@gmail.com
    London Calling is by far The Clash's greatest album. It is diverse tone-wise, genre-wise, and very political. London Calling is what spurred the Clash into a new musical strata. Most important songs are: London Calling, Death or Glory, Spanish Bombs, and Train In Vain. 19 Tracks of complete Apocalypse, Hope, Revelation, and Glory.

    Gazza garyhess44@hotmail.com
    This is a 10/10 pure and simple . Along with exile and the white album its the best double album ever. This was a band at the peak of their powers , Instead of limiting themselves to punk the clash had the courage to embrace american and jamaican music and filter it back through a distinctly british viewpoint. The title track roars its disillusionment of a drugged apathetic london over stabbing guitars, rudie cant fail would make a cancer ward get up and groove , clampdown,spanish bombs and guns of brixton all throw political views at us but with great tunes and unerring accuracy. Check out the drummer , his snare work on the suburban sadness of lost in the supermarket is beautiful and its his playing that fuels the record . Topper could play anything - having seen these guys live i can assure you theyd have blown U2 offstage. They were an incredibly commited live experience - they wanted to change lives. Another great thing about the clash was how uplifting thei! r music was, im not down,death or glory and train in vain all communicate a defiance and a will to keep going, to survive in the face of terrible loss. Even the cover versions are awesome , the groups take on rockabilly and ska working beautifully , revolution rock cooks in a way that most white bands couldnt dream of. And with a bit of editing sandanista would have made them the only band to produce two killer double albums within the space of a year !!

    Chelsea palacerevolution2000@yahoo.com
    An absolute 10 if there ever was one. Double album brimming with ideas, inspiration, music and message. IMO the only weak track is "Lover's Rock" and a double album is supposed to have a weak track. The musical landscape is so varied here; it is one of the strong points of the album. Who knew the Clash had digested and revamped so much history so quickly?The horns? This fascination with the USA by Breitish bands has produced magnificent albums.

    Brent myownfuriouslove@yahoo.com
    I'm another reader that comes to your website for hours. Your love of rock and roll and your NON-pretentious writing make this website a treasure. I dig it.But 8 for London Calling and I think you are off your rocker. I've never seen you reply to a post but I still will ask---what was expendable? What needed to be edited? What could this album live without? I'm a little over 40 and have witnessed/cherished only 3 PERFECT albums in my lifetime. Perfect means cohesion, vision, no stinkers: XTC's Skylarking, Stones' Exile, and London Calling...

    Tony Halesowen
    I'm with the author on this one. It gets an 8 from me too....he states much of the second half of the album is forgettable, and I have to agree. (When I owned this on vinyl I would NEVR play side 3) IMO, the closest the Clash got to a 10 was the American version of the first album.

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    Sandinista! 5 ( 1980 )
    Magnificent Seven / Hitsville UK / Junco Partner / Leader / Rebel Waltz / Look Here / One More Time / Corner Soul / Equaliser / Call Up / Broadway / Junkie Slip / Version City / Crooked Beat / Up In Heaven / Midnight Log / Lose This Skin / Kingston Advice / Let's Go Crazy / Ivan Meet GI Joe / Something About England / Somebody Got Murdered / One More Dub / Lightning Strikes / If Music Could Talk / Sound Of Sinners / Police On My Back / Washington Bullets / Charlie Don't Surf / Mansforth Hill / Street Parade / Living In Fame / Silicone On Sapphire / Version Pardner / Career Opportunities / Shepherd's Delight

    Somebody in Clash towers had obviously decided releasing the double vinyl 'London Calling' just wasn't enough material, you know, bad value for money or something. I mean, what the hell is this? Originally spread over six sides of vinyl, The Clash, if nothing else, were giving their fans plenty of material to chew over in a short space of time. And, if it can be said 'London Calling' may have benefitted from being a single rather than double album, I don't even know how to begin to approach this, other than to say The Clash experiment all over the place, often sounding so hilariously different from their punk roots, or even the pleasing Punk/Reggae mix of 'London Calling', that it takes some time for this to sink in. Mick Jones apparently said you weren't 'meant' to listen to 'Sandinista!' all in one sitting, just however much you could take. Clash fans obviously couldn't take very much at all, as this was a poor commerical seller, even if The Clash insisted this triple set be sold at the same price as a regular LP. There are a handful of regular Clash songs here, some of them pretty great, but only a handful. What is a handful of songs, anyway? Well, we shall see! 'The Magnificent Seven' is pretty funky and groovy, a good start to the album, if little hint at what was to come. 'Hitsville UK' is some hint at what was to come. Female vocals, Mick Jones, a soul rhythm. It's quite nice, actually, if hardly the regular sound. 'Junco Partner' goes all reggae albeit with much dub influence. Joe Strummer sings, but you get the impression he wishes he was elsewhere, anywhere rather than singing this immensely silly song. 'Ivan Meets GI Joe' is more the regular sound of The Clash, although still mixed in with sonic experimentation which doesn't really help in this case, doesn't quite fit or serve any 'sensible' purpose. The Clash should be applauded though, I suppose, for experimenting in the first place.

    I enjoy 'The Leader' a great deal, a short groovy little song, 'Something About England' is a mess, 'Rebel Waltz' hardly better - another dub influenced experiment, but again, with Joe Strummer hardly sounding committed. 'Look Here' is dreadful, forgettable and very silly, 'The Crooked Beat' one of the more sucessful dub experiments where The Clash actually remember than the key to dub music isn't just lots of echo, but a prominent bass line as well. The first classic Clash song arrives with the jaunty singalong that is 'Somebody Got Murdered', a fine moment. 'One More Time' which sounds dubby enough in the first place, if hardly good, wasn't enough. NO! They had to follow it with 'One More Dub', which is even worse. 'Lighting Strikes' is more 'regular' Clash, but only for Joe Strummers vocal, which sounds more engaged here. 'Up In Heaven' is groovy, 'If Music Could Talk' a nice reggae number. And, that pretty much wraps up the first half of the album, bar more strangeness, if enjoyable strangeness this time, with 'The Sound Of The Sinners'. If you've managed to survive thus far into the album, quite frankly you're doing well. The rest of the album still doesn't make it easy, devitating through further half formed dub experiments, the occasional bearable song such as 'Police On My Back' through to the deeply disturbing electronic backwards vocal noise of 'Mensforth Hill' which just should have been binned, quite frankly. 'Career Opportunities' is sung by a bunch of kids, and that's pretty much it. I said there was a handful of great songs here? I was wrong. <

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    Richard singitalian@wmconnect.com
    I think that if you gave the album a couple or three listens you might rate it higher. There is a lot of good music here, and almost none of it got any airplay. Thanks for your site, you have helped me find some great music!

    Jude Bolton Bolton_154@hotmail.com
    There's only about 5 songs on Sandinista that I don't like: Look Here, One More Dub (mostly b/c of its placement, it should at the end), If Music Could Talk (but the remix Living In Fame with Mikey Dread drooling over the mic sits fine with me), Mensforth Hill (duh), Junkie Slip and Shepherd's Delight. This doesn't mean the rest of the album is great, but IMO the first four, Something About England, Somebody Got Murdered, Sound Of Sinners, The Call Up, Broadway, Charlie Don't Surf and Version City, at least, are great songs. So how do I give this a rating out of 10? I'm not going to average out all the songs, or even get an average of each side of vinyl, I'm just gonna give it a 9.

    Mark Valle mvalle@npcfoil.com
    I want to start by saying that every time I get onto your website, I spend hours reading. Very nice job. Rock on. I must take exception to your assesments of the Clash's late era work.First of all,having been a punk in the very late 70s and early 80s, I always saw them as our Beatles, in terms of change and creativity.If you chart the evolution in their sound from the first album to the last proper album,(we will pretend that "Cut the Crap" never happened)it is astounding that this takes place over a scant 6 years. With the success that was "London Calling", the Clash found themselves with a new freedom to look beyond the confines of Punk rock and 1977. "Sandinista" saw them go deep into the jungle, so to speak, of sonic experimentalism. It is worth pointing out that the band seemed to be deeply influenced by the film "Apocalypse Now", which had premiered during the making of the album, and indeed, following the album's path is like heading deeper and deeper into the Nung ri! ver until we finally meet Colonel Kurtz. By the end of the album, the sound is deeper, dubber, dreader, and more hallucinatory. You can almost smell the wafts of ganja floating through the air. You spoke of a lack of great songs, but I think that misses what this album was really out to be. I think that it is more like a psychedelic rastafarian journey through the jungle, than a focused collection of songs. It is, without a doubt, not bereft of great moments. "The Magnificent Seven" was the first signal that the Clash was continuing their tradition of discovering new forms of black urban music. In the first album, it was reggae, in "London Calling", it was blues, ska, and even jazz, and in Sandinista, it would be rap and funk. There are many great reggae and dub moments here, most notably The Crooked Beat" and "Living in Fame". "Broadway" is one of my all time favorite Clash songs, because of the sheer maturity in Strummer's songcraft. Also, "The Leader", "Somebody Got Murd! ered", and "The Call Up" are classics. I noticed that you gave! the Bea tles' "White Album" a 9 1/2 rating, but I think it would be safe to call "Sandinista" the Clash's "White Album", maybe with a little "Sgt. Peppers". With "Combat Rock", the Clash decided that it was time to be a bit more focused, and try to make that breakout album. No more double and triple album excursions. There was even a couple of big hits as you mentioned, but the experiments would go on too. Vietnam is still in the minds of the band, with "Straight to Hell", and "Sean Flynn" With "Sean Flynn" is where I take exception to your assesment of the album. It still ranks as one of their finest moments to me, because it showed again, an astounding maturity in their creative vision. It is a dreamlike ambient excursion into the heart of a mysterious jungle that swallowed swallowed a man, never to be seen again. With "Sean Flynn", you really got the sense that the Clash had moved way beyond the class of 1977. Also omnipresent is a new influence on the Clash, that, had they conti! nued into the later 80s, would have been as big to their sound as reggae had been: funk and rap. Where they were white boys hanging in Kingston earlier in their careers, they were now soaking up the sound coming out of the South Bronx. I really like "Overpowered by Funk". The name says it all. So, while you gave the later albums the lowest scores in their discography, I think they are every bit as deserving as the earlier ones. The Clash dared to challenge themselves, and in turn challenged us. I would go as far to say that I find the later material much more interesting than the rat-tat-tat of the first album. Whad'ya think, man?

    chris loades CLoades@aol.com
    This is one of the greatest 10 albums ever.I think 30 of the 36 songs are great.It is definately better and more consistent than London Calling.I think this is a 10 and London Calling is 7 and a half.

    Ross Upchurch rupchurch@agric.wa.gov.au
    Obviously you haven,t given Sandanista! a good listen. As an album that holds it's own as time goes by I rate it as there best - 5 is an outrageously ignorant rating for this masterpiece

    M. Dorian mdorian@hotmail.com
    Missed the boat here. One of THE greate albums of the 80's, enduring more than magnificent 7 - do yourself a favour and thrash this album

    roscoe rupchurch@agric.com.au
    Sean Flynn is about the Vietnam War, about a photojournalist, son of Errol Flynn, the movie star, who was captured and killed, probably by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. I think the song is trying to create a deep in the jungle feel, of heat, etc. Flynn, who was very good looking, better looking than his father, rode off on a motorcycle with reporter Dana Stone from CBS to the Cambodian border to try to verify that the U.S. was bombing that country, which the U.S. denied. I believe it is thought he was held for several years, but details on his execution are sketchy. There is some speculation he was drugged and buried alive, I have read. The lyrics "They filled the sky with a tropical storm," I believe refer to a bombing raid. It's spooky.

    Broderick Harper broclear@blueyonder.co.uk
    Usual rubbish about a much underrrated album. How dare 'The Clash' not release an album true to their 'punk' roots!! This and combat rock are by and far away their best albums (yes i am a rock fan!!) because they just sounded like nothing else at the time - but remain 'timeless'. I have just been listening to 'Junkie Slip' and i swear i could listen to it all day. Strummer sings like that, not because he is BORED but because he is taking the michael out of all the whole junkie image - i.e. their is a sense of irony in his vocal.

    Roscoe rupchurch@agric.wa.gov.au
    It is very spooky!!. Just a note to advise that I'm not the author relating spooky Errol Flynn son theories on Cambodia. Much as I love this album I must confess I haven't got that deeply attached to it.

    David Dickson ddickso2@uccs.edu
    Now now now, not let's be silly. Like you, I consider the Clash gruesomely overrated (at least in terms of enjoyability, if not influence), and I find their debut album a shining example of why Robert Christgau is a horned Satanic devil who should not be trusted by anyone ever. But this? GOLDEN! Two hours and twenty-five minutes of pure experimental rock coolness. Yeah, not every song on the album works (side 2 (out of 6) is particularly stinky in that regard), but overall, I'd say the Clash have earned the right to be called, if not the World's GREATEST Rock and Roll Band, at least the Most Adventurous. Their melody-writing (and singing--berf!) ability hasn't improved much since 1977, but their arranging and producing talents have multiplied million-fold. At least 24 of the 36 songs on here are at least pleasant to listen to, and those that aren't are very carefully placed in the song order so you don't notice them(with the exception of aforementioned side 2). Every! LP--and even CD--seems to have a clear and logical beginning and end. And even though 5 of the songs are re-mixes of previous songs, it took me about three listens to realize that. "Silicone on Sapphire"? "Washington Bullets" without the vocals? Who woulda thunk it. Yeah, I'd say this album is their best without exception. I wouldn't call it a masterpiece, of course, because of that dastardly side 2, but it's still listenable from start to 144-minute-distant finish. Mick Jones says you SHOULDN'T listen to it start to finish? He must not have given his own work a good once-over, then! If he realized what he wrought, he wouldn't be so 'umble.

    Gazza garyhess44@hotmail.com
    Im with the guys in approval here - this is the punk "white album"(and like the beatles this splurge of material was to get out of their record contract ) . "its fuckin long innit" joe states during the magical magnificent 7 ! And boy it is - but with a bit of pruning and cd programming (best to divide it into 4 parts) you have a double album that is a more experimental companion to london calling . I consider "broadway" to be one of the clashs finest moments ,the music is incredible matching pefectly the ups and downs in the life story of an old down and out joe met in new york. The politics are coming more to the fore too and are still relevant today (washington bullets,call up,charlie dont surf- all ace tunes too) . Few bands could match the constant will to experiment and change like the clash could , the breadth of this is just awesome (funk,rap,gospel,electronica,dub,blues,reggae are all tried out)and although it lacks the discipline and focus a production te! am provides this is kind of part of its rambling overcrowded charm .Its definitely a case of an album thats more than the sum of its parts . 7.5/10

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    Combat Rock ( 1982 )
    Know Your Rights / Car Jamming / Should I Stay or Should I Go / Rock the Casbah / Red Angel Dragnet / Straight to Hell / Overpowered by Funk / Atom Tan / Sean Flynn / Ghetto Defendant / Inoculated City / Death Is a Star

    "THIS IS A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT! WITH GUITARS!!!" - What a fantastic song! This is what I want from an opening song on a Clash album. A bit of Rock n Roll, a bit of fun. An absolutely storming song, hugely entertaining, funny, exciting. There's some sterling guitar 'work' - impassioned, playful vocals. Everything you could want. 'Car Jamming' is weird, funky, half done but fully done in a strange minimalist way. Little bits of funk guitar, weird vocal rhythms, weird drums rhythms. A vocal chorus in the chorus, well, what passes for a chorus. Strange stuff, good stuff. Hmmm. And then the two biggest hits The Clash ever had follow. Chances are you'll have heard these songs. The guitar blast and riffing of 'Should I Stay Or Should I Go' matched with a pure Punk vocal from Mick Jones. 'Rock The Casbah' may well be silly, but that's 90% of the fun, for me. Were The Clash losing their 'punk' roots? Who fucking cares, when they were writing songs as great and timeless as this? The song with the unlucky task of following two such huge songs is the experimental 'Red Angel Dragnet'. Well, perhaps this is just as well. No watered down, semi-pop song to weakly follow two hits. This is totally different, very dub reggae in musical sound but with a spoken / half sung lyric that works. The song works. Like a few other songs here, it's funny, humorous. Not entirely serious, but lots of fun. Music should be fun. This may not be the sound of 'the worlds greatest rock n roll band' - but then, do you really believe that is what The Clash in their supposed prime, were? I don't.

    This particular album should have been the start of a period of world domination for the group. They had the talent, they had the style. America was just beginning the process of falling in love with them. Of course, following this album, Mick Jones for one would leave - The Clash begun to disintegrate, and it didn't take very long, either. It's a shame. 'Straight To Hell' has a damn distinctive introduction, guitar and keyboards. The vocal is full of echo, the song is one of the finest and most affecting the group ever did. 'Overpowered By Funk' is a bolt out of the blue. The word 'funk' in the title is a slight clue. There is little discernable guitar here, very keyboard, computer heavy. Very daft and almost crap - very eighties. I don't know what the hell it is, but it sticks out like a sore thumb, so much so, it ends up being unintentionally comical. 'Atom Tan' returns things to normal. It's by no means the finest song The Clash ever did, but it's still better than two thirds of 'Sandinista!'. 'Sean Flynn' is unfortunate, because we were starting to think of 'Combat Rock' in classic album status. 'Sean Flynn' is horrible, a trumpet wails - the vocal is dislocated, nothing at all happens for four and a half minutes. 'Ghetto Defendant' is back to Reggae rhythms, but the 'vocal' includes speech going on about some 'metropolis' and the song falls into novelty, ultimately. 'Innoculated City' at least is a half-decent song, but that's some relief indeed following the previous few tracks here. 'Death Is A Star' ends an ultimately disappointing second half that saw an album looking at getting a '9' fall to below an '8' and almost fall further - but for the sheer joy of songs one through to six. The Clash were silly buggers, sometimes.

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    Readers Comments

    bass player edd eddie123zeppelin@hotmail.com
    clash's finest piece of work 9.5/10

    Jude Bolton Bolton_154@hotmail.com
    One of the major questions that's been bugging me is how did The Clash write 3LPs worth of music in one year, then take 2 years to write 40 mins worth of stuff that isn't any more consistent or of higher quality?

    Pat rammstein_24@sbcglobal.net
    You are kidding, right? Sandanista was a much better album, it gets a 5. London Calling only gets an 8??? Have you ever heard any of these albums?!?!? I'm a huge Clash fan. I'm listening to a playlist compiled of their whole discography (excluding Combat Rock and Cut the Crap, since they're. . . well. . . Crap). You must be terribly confused with your ratings.

    David M italights@hotmail.co.uk
    As far as i'm concerned Combat Rock is the Clashes potential coming to fruition. The "metropolis" speech you talk about as a novelty is Alan Ginsberg's poem talking about the Paris Riots in which hundreds of people were killed. Not exactly Mr Blobby is it?

    gazza garyhess44@hotmail.com
    his is nowhere near as good as london calling but yet it recieves a rating close to it ?? And how can any review of combat rock fail to mention straight to hell by far its strongest track ...

    This is easily my favorite clash album. Its the clash using thier very obvious and brillant ability to broaden to many genres. London Calling was some of the beginnings and Sandista went a little wayword with it. Combact Rocks beginnings is flawless. "Know Your Rights" is the song every band should wish they had as an opener to a rock/punk album. "Red Angel Dragnet" is probably my favorite Clash song, i love the bit when Travis finishes and then the line "personally, i know an alley..." kicks in. One of my fave moments in a song, ain't to sure why though. "Ghetto Defendant" is not a farce, its very captivating and a fave on this album. Overall its a brillant CD, not sure how they managed it as there was a lot of acromony at the time, if it wasn't for "Sean Flynn" it would be pretty much perfect. 9.5/10

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    Cut The Crap 3 ( 1985 )
    Dictator / Dirty Punk / We Are the Clash / Are You Red..Y / Cool Under Heat / Movers and Shakers / This Is England / Three Card Trick / Play to Win / Fingerpoppin' / North and South / Life Is Wild

    Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon 'removed' Mick Jones from The Clash, hired three unknown goons to replace him, and made a new Clash album. Forget that one song is ludicrously called 'We Are The Clash' for a second, and let's see what we actually have here. Mick Jones went on to have hits with Big Audio Dynamite, taking the pop hooks away with him from The Clash, seemingly, because there is very little here that jumps out at you, or stays in your brain, even if you'd want it to. The artwork, the albums title, one or two of the songs seem to be an effort to move The Clash back to their punk roots. What, in 1985? Well done! Great idea!! The opening song is terrible, very Eighties, but what exactly are New Romantic production effects and sounds doing on a Clash album, bearing in mind 'Combat Rock' had already come out, and although wasn't perfect, at least didn't sound as desperate as 'Dictator' sounds? 'Dirty Punk' is entertaining enough, a guitar based song where Joe Strummer is audible with his usual Clash singing voice, same comments apply to 'We Are The Clash', actually - even if the execution of this song is ham-fisted, especially the soccer hooligan styled backing vocals. The production of this album leaves a little to be desired. Nothing leaps out, the guitars and vocals both sound muted, the bass sounds non-existant, which is strange for a Clash album, given the likes of the reggae mix on previous albums. 'Cool Under Heat' continues with the hooligan styled backing vocals ( also light in the mix, by the way ) and although Joe Strummer still sounds like Joe Strummer, everything else sounds awful, and 'Cool Under Heat' is absolutely no kind of good song, let alone a great song. 'Movers And Shakers' is a little better, an almost urgent energy permeates through it and it passes for a genuine Clash song, just about, even with the awful production and continued and very irritating massed backing vocals.

    'This Is England' is the best song on the entire album, by some distance. It tries to capture the feel of previous Clash songs, even if the sounds and production are wildly different. You can tell with 'This Is England', that given a different approach and instrumentation and performance, you'd have a genuinely great Clash song. The lyrics are good, by the way. 'Three Card Trick' has a little 'whoa!' to try to inject some sort of life into the whole enterprise, and maybe it did the trick! 'Three Card Trick' is another good, if not great song. I hesitate to call it a Clash song, although at least we can hear a bass part here. 'Play To Win' makes me want to kill somebody. Hideous guitar lines, stupid song introduction featuring voices talking about some crap or other. I get weary listening to this blandly produced, lacking in hooks, only nominally Clash music. 'Fingerpoppin' has a disco / dance sound, and I can't even be bothered to describe the final two songs, but suffice to say the closing 'Life Is Wild' repeats the massed Soccer hooligans vocal backing effect, and although Joe Strummer actually turns in a good vocal himself, must be deeply embarrassed about this whole 'Cut The Crap' enterprise. I'm pleased he's managed to recover from it all, first as guest vocalist with The Pogues, and now with his own new band.

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    Readers Comments

    Cayn White CaynW@aol.com
    kind of agree but then again I also disagree, The choruses of some of the songs do stick in your head after a bit and though it does seem abit distant than Combat Rock and Weeker than the Clash Albums I've heard the lyrics still have a meaning, however it is possibly the Worst Clash album I've heard as of yet. P.S This is England was released as a single and peaked at number 24 spending 5 weeks in the U.K charts.

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    this page last updated 08/02/14

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