The dirty truth about the Clash
Greg Brady | Capital City | 10/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you have visions of spittle-spewing, tattoed and pierced, odd-haired miscreants who have as much facility on their instruments as the average zoo monkey when you hear the phrase "punk music", this collection will likely be quite a surprise. The dirty truth is this: Underneath the exterior image and the left-leaning politics, The Clash are really, at heart, a great pop/rock band (albeit an "edgy" one). Listen to "Stay Free" and you'll hear echoes of Merseybeat bands. The faux disco beat underlying "This is Radio Clash" and "The Magnificent Seven" dare you not to dance. The handclaps slathered throughout "Rock the Casbah" are straight out of bubblegum. Reggae also pops up in "Straight to Hell" and "Armagideon Time" among others. Most of the stereotypical "punk" numbers are found on Disc 2, but there's quite a bit here if you aren't necessarily a fan of scream/shout raveups.
"Rock the Casbah" makes the case that Middle Eastern rockers are revolutionaries and took it to the charts while doing so with its irrestible "Shariff don't like it!" chorus. "This is Radio Clash" is "aural ammunition" against the status quo, while "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" poses that eternal question of troubled relationships. "Train in Vain" recounts the aftermath: once she's decided to "go". ("All the times/When we were close/I'll remember these things the most/I see all my dreams come tumbling down/I won't be happy without you around..")Despite the dark subject, it rides a brisk harmonica/guitar rhythm. "I Fought the Law" is a nifty remake of the 60s rabblerouser, while "White Riot" is their own anthem of unrest. "Career Opportunities" are hard to find for the working class of England. "Stay Free" is their "Glory Days", a reminiscence of their days of youth and not-so-innocence. "London Calling" is a punk "The Times they are A-Changing". ("Engines stop running but I have no fear/Cos London is drowning and I live by the river..") "English Civil War" appropriates the ancient military ballad "When Johnny Comes Marching Home", turning it into an anthem for the angry English underclass young.
"Capital Radio" suffers from a roughly 3 minute long (and not particularly interesting) "interview" with the band prior to getting into the song. The song itself is only average, making it completely anti-climactic.
You don't have to be a "punk" fan to like the Clash. Give 'em a try if you like basic bare bones rock and roll."
OK But They Screwed Up Capitol Radio Track
Rude Boy 1979 | Today I'm in Ybor City | 07/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Clash, on retrospect for me were very cool, and I still
listen to this set now, being 41 (although not everyday, once in a while). Like others have said the songs are all mish mashed
out of order, so thats why the 4 stars, but also they put an interview on the same track with Capitol Radio. Why? The interview is on the front of the track and it's longer than the song! Plus the interview sucks! The audio is horrible and its like the guys rambling on while on a train. I like the song Capitol Radio a lot too because I think they are refering to a pirate radio station that broadcast off a ship in the waters off New York when I was living there late 70'sh. That station was awesome playing punk and early new wave rock while stations like WPLJ played Led Zep and Pink Floyd ad nausem (the whole scene was moving real fast and it disappeared way before you were ready for it to). Oh well, I stayed with BAD a little and the first two cd's are cool driving music. This collection is the Clash so if you want the Clash here it is, just packaged like crap."
Out o' date
leo goetz | 04/28/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The existence of this compilation is no longer justified.
Get thee to _The Essential Clash_.
Or better: _Clash on Broadway_. That and _London Calling_ might be all you ever need.
This is not on the list."