Wednesday, 30 May 2018

The Clash - London Calling (1979)


Released December 1979

Recorded in Wessex Studios, London

This is, in my view, the definitive mastering of this classic album. It has a subtlety and brings out bits in the recordings I didn't realise were there (although this is better exemplified on "Give 'Em Enough Rope" and "Sandinista!").

On to the album. Personally, "Sgt Pepper", "Pet Sounds", "Born To Run", "A Night At The Opera", "Brothers In Arms", "Thriller", "Led Zeppelin IV", "Exile On Main Street" are not my favourite albums by those particular artists/groups, although they are popularly accepted as such. Similarly with "London Calling". I prefer "Give 'Em Enough Rope", "The Clash" and parts of "Sandinista!".


1. London Calling
2. Brand New Cadillac
3. Jimmy Jazz
4. Hateful
5. Rudie Can't Fail
6. Spanish Bombs
7. The Right Profile
8. Lost In The Supermarket
9. Clampdown
10. The Guns Of Brixton
11. Wrong 'Em Boyo
12. Death Or Glory
13. Koka Kola
14. The Card Cheat
15. Lovers Rock
16. Four Horsemen
17. I'm Not Down
18. Revolution Rock
19. Train In Vain

That is not overlook this album's undoubted quality and influence at the time. A "punk" group doing a double album? Wow! It worked too - a chocolate box of styles made for an always interesting listen and you are taken from one feel to another, track by track. Just consider the first few - the urgent "rock" of "London Calling", the rockabilly r’n’b  of "Brand New Cadillac", the jazzy slurrings of "Jimmy Jazz", the poppy "Hateful" and the calypso influenced bluebeat reggae of "Rudie Can't Fail". The old "disc one" sets the tone four the three subsequent discs. This album killed "punk" and even "new wave" stone dead. It was as seismic as all those groups going "weird" in 1967-68. Genres like roots reggae, ska, bluebeat, rockabilly were creeping in as influences everywhere in the early 1980s. No coincidence. This album opened many doors.

Some great reggae in there - "Guns Of Brixton", "Revolution Rock" and the ska of "Wrong 'Em Boyo". I would have liked "Armagideon Time" to have made it on there though. Some rock in "Death Or Glory" and "Clampdown". Some classic "Mick Jones rock" in "Lost In The Supermarket" and "I'm Not Down". Like "Sandinista!", pretty much everything but punk.

The Clash had laid down a marker that showed they were as willing to change as "old Bowie". They would continue to do so for the rest of their comparatively short career.


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