clash - The I-94 Bar

Come back Lucinda, all is forgiven

lucinda live

Truth be told, Lucinda Williams’ last tour of Australia in support of the "Little Honey" album was a little disappointing.  And by a little you can read a lot.  I had pretty much said I would never attend one of her concerts again.  Ever.  All right.  It was more severe than that.  Blood was spilled and oaths were sworn.  A goat may have been sacrificed. 

So what was wrong with that show?  Vague and disorientated, Ms Williams stumbled around the stage in a manner suggesting someone had slipped her a Rohypnol and it may well have been her.  She kept telling us how great it was to be playing in a rock and roll club.  The “rock and roll club” in question was the all-seated Enmore Theatre. 

The seats were so tightly jammed against each other that you couldn't clap for fear of putting someone's eye out.  The band laid down a brutal four-on-the-floor boogie.  She indulged in strange off beat dance steps, shifting weight from foot to foot and clapping hands above head.  These activities seemed to bear no resemblance to the placement of snare and bass drum.

Hey Rock 'n' Roller - The DomNicks (Citadel)

domnickscoverGood things and small packages: Only seven tracks long, this debut from the Perth band led by Dom Mariani (DM3, ex-Stems and ex-Some Loves) and Nick Sheppard (a "Cut The Crap" Clash member) is a killer-no-filler collection of soulful rock and roll.

Hits Back - The Clash (Sony)

HITS BACK - The Clash (Sony)
Welcome to my new favourite Clash album.   Well that’s an odd statement, isn’t it?  I mean to say, it’s just a compilation album, isn’t it?  Another entry in a seemingly endless series of Clash compilation albums bearing titles like “Story of”, “Essential”, “On Broadway”, “Singles” and “Super Black Market”.    Who actually needs another reshuffling of this well trod back catalogue?  According to Sony Music, we do.   Like, surely this is an anniversary of something or other.  This time the compilation explores the central conceit of a “hand written set list by Joe Strummer.” This begs the question; was there ever a set list that wasn’t hand written before, say, the early nineties and the availability of the home computer with printer to even the most drug addled musician?  Love the hand writing and spelling, Joe.  Slade and the City of London Freemen’s School would be proud.

The Clashification of Dub - Dub Spencer and Trance Hill (Echo Beach)

clashificationWhat a brilliant record this is. I’ve played it about six times since buying this one on spec. Fuck but it’s great.

See, this is why I like exploring Amazon. The Clash were panned in their day for their dub experiments, journos always banging on about how super they were live.

Funny. I saw them once and got bored fairly swiftly. Their LPs are not always cohesive, but sod that. That’s what cassette tapes were for, and making your own versions of their LPs was always fun.

Undercover: Live in China – The Boys (Action Records)

undercover in chinaThe Boys rode the original wave of UK punk in the ‘70s, missed the crest and ended up in the shallows; it wasn’t their fault. They suffered from poor distribution after signing to a second-order record label, but in the end they were far too musical to be lumped in with most of their contemporaries.

The Boys - specifically singer-guitarist Matt Dangerfield - had their origins in England’s most celebrated non-functioning band, the London SS, whose ranks included Mick Jones (later of The Clash) and Tony James (who went on to Generation X.) Both their subsequent outfits and the Sex Pistols made their first recordings in Dangerfield’s rented Maid Vale basement. Talk about being at the scene of the crime. Casino Steel did time in a glam band the Hollywood Brats who almost out-pouted the Dolls.

We Are The Clash: Reagan, Thatcher and The Last Stand of a Band That Mattered by Mark Andersen and Ralph Heibutzki (Akashic Books)

we are the clashHistory, so observers say, is written by the winners. More often than not, those observers are the victors so they would say that, wouldn’t they? Nonetheless, it’s a truism that carries weight. 

That’s why you’ll see scarce mention of The Clash’s career after Mick Jones was kicked out and it’s partly why the final studio album under the band’s name, “Cut The Crap”, has been excised from the official - read: survivor-approved - body of work. Indeed, that one’s not even available to stream on the ubiquitous Spotify and never had a hope in hell of making it to the extravagant “Sound System” box set. With good reason, say most of us who have heard it…

Which brings us to “We Are The Clash”, an exhaustively researched and well-written book that chronicles the last Clash line-up, a back-to-punk-basics outfit whose ranks included only two “real” members in Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon. The so-called “Clash Mk 2”. 

“We Are The Clash” is an important book in so many ways - and not just because it makes up for a lack of documentation of this period of the band.