Spike wrote this for Green Man Review.
How the #$%^ ‘as ev’rybody been keepin’? It’s great ta see ya’ll. I know I’ve been keepin’ a low profile, because me therapy ‘an me biography’s been keepin’ me busy, but I wuz stoppin’ by to see me ol’ pal Dave the uvver day, an’ he wuz playin’ this new CD by one of my fave groups…Various Artists! I luv those guys! No kiddin’ I think they’re fab! Since I been away seems like Dave’s been takin’ a bit of a breather hisownself! An’ listenin’ to flippin’ Leonard Cohen! But this double set, which you can sample a bit of it ‘ere or read about over ‘ere, is miles away from where any ol’ introspective crooner could be.
I plopped disc two into the player first, since that’s basically the way I do stuff. Willie Nile (who has a fine new CD out of ‘is own I might add, called Streets of New York) does a rockin’ version of “Police on my Back” that truly pays tribute to the Clash’s original! Soul Food joins forces wif Mick Gallagher on “Midnight Log,” nice harmonica too! The Equalizers turn the guitars up to 11 for “Sunset Heroes” (reminds me a bit of the old Jap Zeroes!). The Lothars go a bit electronic for “The Call Up.” An’ that’s the way this tribute goes, everybody does things their way, while still havin’ respect for the originals. After all…The Clash were all about takin’ chances, right? Phil Rockrohr & the Lifters tackle “Washington Bullets” a bit folky, wif a #$%^in’ xylophone! Cool or wot? All that an’ we’re only five songs in. Of course we started in the middle!
Let’s go back to the beginning to see how we got ‘ere!
Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers start things off by, well, rockin’ the #$%^in’ house all right! They do “The Magnificent Seven” an’ sound exquisitely Clashlike doin’ it! “Hitsville UK” is loud an’ tough wif Katrina Leskanich singin’ her heart out. Then a touch of folkiness wif Jon Langford and Sally Timms with Ship & Pilot doin’ “Junco Partner.” Maybe a fave…lemme think about it! WAIT! It’s CLASH-COUNTRY wif Jason Ringenberg an’ Kristi Rose doin’ “Ivan Meets G.I. Joe”! Yeehaw! Amy Rigby punks out on “The Leader.” Good fer her! “The people must have somethin’ good to [dig] on a Sunday!” More country as the Coal Porters banjo-up “Something about England” and then Ruby on the Vine centres “Rebel Waltz” around a mandolin.
Then Jim Duffy takes “Look Here” in a jazz direction, while Wreckless Eric turns “The Crooked Beat” into a Wreckless Eric song! Good though. You haveta turn this album up loud, or LOUD, or even LOUDER. It’s so much $%^&in’ fun! An’ in no way does it harm the memory of the original album. Can you recall when the Clash album came out? I mean it wuz a shocker! They followed up the double album that wuz London Calling wif a TRIPLE album! An’ then it din’t sell! But if you listen to the songs…tributized ‘ere…you’ll find that it wuz a pretty solid collection. Maybe not the smartest commercial move in the world, but then, who ever said the punks were smart about the commercial end of things? Not me, an’ definitely not Freddie…an’ Joe Strummer an’ Mick Jones an’ Paul Simonon an’ Topper Headon did wot they bloody wanted!
All together this two-disc set ‘as got 37 songs on it — 37 songs by 36 artists. Haale gets to do two! You’ve got the Smithereens, Ethan Lipton, Bill Lloyd, Camper Van Beethoven, Sex Clark Five, and The Blizzard of 78 (featuring Mikey Dread)! Thassright! Mikey Dread! An’ still lots more to discover for yourself! I should tell ya, the song order follows the original album. Sides one, two and three form disc one, and disc two holds sides four, five an’ six. The extra song is an extra version of “One More Time (One More Time)”. Wot a surprise!
Glad to be back, especially if there’s dandy new music like this ‘angin’ about waitin’ to be reviewed! Get yerself a copy of this tribute. Crank it up an’ drive the neighbors batty!