Thursday, April 03, 2008

Album of the Day--April 3, 2008

The Clash
London Calling
Epic Records
Produced by Gus Stevens

Steven H. from London called me yesterday, which naturally got me humming the title song—plus I had to go grocery shopping which inevitably sends “Lost in the Supermarket” coursing through my head. Funny thing about The Clash—their albums have always been literally hit or miss: their first album, The Clash, was really good, but their second one, Give ’Em Enough Rope, was not all that great. Their third album, London Calling, was great, and their fourth, Sandinista!, was so not great (although there is probably a decent single LP’s worth of material on what was, in the age of vinyl, 3 LPs). Their fifth and last album, Combat Rock, was really good. So with the Clash—the odd-numbered records are the ones to listen to. Anyway, London Calling is the best of the lot and even as a double album has no filler on it; every song was really good. It was also the album that showed that The Clash were a lot more than a one-dimensional punk band; London Calling features horns, keyboards, and an unabashed love of all types of music, including classic rock’n’roll and, gasp!, pop. It also shows a respect for the past that was the antithesis of the whole original punk raison d’ĂȘtre. The famous story of the album is that the song that would become the “hit”—“Train in Vain”—was added to the end of the album at the last minute and after the record sleeve had been printed, so on the original album, the song title does not appear. Why Epic saw fit to replicate this mistake on the initial CD issue I have no idea.

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