Joe Strummer - 001 - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Joe Strummer - 001

by Kevin Orton Rating:8 Release Date:2018-09-28
Joe Strummer - 001
Joe Strummer - 001

Joe Strummer died suddenly in 2002, so this look back at his post Clash output is long overdue. Understandably, Strummer’s solo work will always be overshadowed by The Clash. But don’t let that stop you from entering this bric-a-brac shop of an album. There’s a trove of surprises and gems in store. 001 isn’t going to change the fact that Strummer’s solo years were restless and impulsive, but it does show he hit the target more often than not. Or at the very least, kept it in his sights.  

 ‘Coma Girl’ is quintessential Joe Strummer. A major highlight from the posthumously released, Streetcore. An album, I consider to be Strummer’s finest solo effort. While it’s a bit under-represented (the stellar ‘Cast A Giant Shadow’ is noticeably absent) ‘Coma Girl’ should be more than enough to point the unacquainted in the right direction. Regardless of that minor quibble, the rest of 001 is a welcome trove of rarities and reminders of just how great it was to have Joe Strummer on the planet.  

Disc 1 mainly covers Strummer’s Mescaleros and various soundtrack work. However, things kick off with a couple of pre-Clash 101’ers numbers in ‘Letsagetabitarockin’ and ‘Key To Your Heart’. Despite being remastered, both are gloriously rough around the edges. ‘Trash City’ remains classic Strummer while the Mescaleros’ ‘X-Ray Style’ and ‘Johnny Appleseed’ make the case for Strummer never losing his edge or activism. Elsewhere, tracks like ‘15th Brigade’ and ‘Afro Cuban Be- Bop’ showcase Strummer’s restless eclecticism. The stripped down, ‘Burning Lights’ is the kind of thing Strummer fans dream of.   

What’s going to grab longtime fans by the collar, however, are the twelve unreleased tracks. All of which are stellar. Highlights include, ‘Rose Of Erin’ and ‘When Pigs Fly’ from an unreleased film soundtrack. ‘Blues To The River’ is spare, irreplaceable Strummer.  ‘Redemption Song,’ his duet with Johnny Cash, is simply priceless.  ‘London Is Burning’ is a great alternate take of ‘Burning Streets’ from Streetcore. ‘The Cool Impossible’ is one of the last things Strummer recorded and his crooning brings ‘Broadway’ to mind off Sandinista! Also notable is ‘U.S. North’ an unreleased song from the Sid & Nancy soundtrack with none other than The Clash’s Mick Jones. Other unreleased gems include, ‘This Is England’ and ‘Before We Go Forward’ with the Clash.

True, this is more collage than chronological, “Best Of”. Things may be a bit scattershot, and yet, I can’t think of a better introduction to Strummer’s post Clash work than 001. Who knows why it took so long for this stuff to see the light of day. The fact remains, this is Strummer in all his ragged, raging glory. It’s just that the world or the music press weren’t paying much attention at the time. And let’s face it, Strummer’s lack of focus didn’t help. Regardless, like other vets of classic bands, Strummer's presence tended to be somewhat taken for granted. Until that presence was no more. For my money, this couldn’t have dropped at a better time. Now, more than ever the world needs ya, Joe.

Comments (2)

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I've always preferred his solo material. I'm looking forward to hearing the unreleased songs. Great review. Thanks for the heads-up.

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I'm a massive Clash fan. I think they were simply one of the greatest bands in Rock history. London Calling being their pinnacle. That said, I've always been drawn more to Joe's over Mick's solos stuff. There's some fab stuff on this collection.

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