14 December 2013

14th December - The Clash's London Calling

Artist – Album: The Clash – London Calling
Released: 14th December 1979
Sounds Like: Progressive punks

You might have thought that, as the year winds down and everyone has one eye on Christmas, New Year and the whole festive shebang, that the quality of the albums covered would ease a little bit. Not a bit of it! This month we’ve already had two Rolling Stones albums, one from The Beatles and one each from Lennon and McCartney, career defining albums from Jimi Hendrix and Patti Smith, and an early classic from The Who. Today, we have an album that possibly tops even those.

Before London Calling, the Clash were politically sensitive punks, who dabbled in roots reggae and had had a storming debut, but were otherwise hard to separate from the other great bands of the era – Magazine, Buzzcocks, The Damned. On London Calling, The Clash matured into one of the greatest bands of any era. The record’s flawless mix of a library of genres – punk don't live here anymore, but plenty of rockabilly, ska and jazz – and socio-political lyrics were an instant hit with the public and the press alike, and its still seen as a landmark release. With its supreme sequencing, it plays like a brilliant compilation album, only every song is by the same band and the majority of them are originals (only ‘Brand New Cadillac’, ‘Wrong ‘Em Boyo’ and ‘Revolution Rock’ are covers). You’ll know the Armageddon-esque title track (obviously), and chances are you’re familiar with the excellent dance number ‘Train in Vain’, the storming ‘Clampdown’ and the atmospheric ‘The Guns of Brixton’, but there’s plenty more to enjoy: the loose ‘Jimmy Jazz’, the horn filled ‘Rudie Can’t Fail’, the propelling ‘Spanish Bombs’, the dreampop of ‘Lost in the Supermarket’ and the rocking ‘Death or Glory’.

Just so you know, this astronomically high level of excellence can not be maintained. Things quickly downhill from here…

Albumaday... rating: 10/10

1.       London Calling – 3:19
2.       Brand New Cadillac – 2:09
3.       Jimmy Jazz – 3:52
4.       Hateful – 2:45
5.       Rudie Can’t Fail – 3:26
6.       Spanish Bombs – 3:19
7.       The Right Profile – 3:56
8.       Lost in the Supermarket – 3:47
9.       Clampdown – 3:49
10.   The Guns of Brixton – 3:07
11.   Wrong ‘Em Boyo – 3:10
12.   Death or Glory – 3:55
13.   Koka Kola – 1:46
14.   The Card Cheat – 3:51
15.   Lover’s Rock – 4:01
16.   Four Horsemen – 2:56
17.   I’m Not Down – 3:00
18.   Revolution Rock – 5:37
19.   Train in Vain – 3:09
Listen to ‘Rudie Can’t Fail’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tU1stt0okdM

Also released on the 14th December:
1959: The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Time Out
Also released on the 14th December:
1987: Dinosaur Jr. – You’re Living All Over Me

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