609. Rudy can’t fail

“It took me a while to properly discover Rudy Can’t Fail – probably because I wasn’t playing side one of London Calling that much. Because I’d already heard the lead off title track a pile by the time I actually owned it. And it’s not as if there was anything lacking on the other four sides, The Clash being at the absolute peak of their attainments. Anyway, a summer day, 1984 I think, a mostly empty beach on one of the local islands, me and a few friends and a ghetto blaster. All of us rich kids (sort of), none of us remotely rich, all of us at that point in our lives where we were having to start think seriously about our futures. Go to law school. Go to business school. Get into real estate. Get a job at a bank. Eat human flesh. We were smoking a little dope, drinking a few beers, and suddenly Rudy came on care of the current mixtape, and it was exactly what my universe needed. Something to do with freedom and art having a way better groove than f***ing economics. It’s been on the personal playlist ever since.” (Philip Random)

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739. the card cheat

“Second of two in a row from London Calling, the greatest rock and roll album ever (arguably). Released at the very end of the 1970s, that at least makes it the first indispensably great rock and roll album of the 1980s, maybe the last. Commercial radio, of course, only played two tracks but all four sides were nigh on brilliant – the power and rage of full-on punk tempered only enough to allow everything else to burst on through. With The Card Cheat, that meant widescreen rock all brassed up and gunning for the promised land, which is again miles beyond anything Bruce Springsteen could have hoped for at the time, who I’m only mentioning here because his 1980 double album The River had no problem getting played all over the radio.  And it was at least two sides too long.” (Philip Random)

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740. brand new Cadillac

“Is there a bad track on London Calling? Is there an average track on London Calling? Brand New Cadillac is neither, of course. Brand New Cadillac is The Clash tearing through an old Vince Taylor b-side, unleashing the kind of old school rock and roll fervor that Bruce Springsteen could only dream of.” (Philip Random)

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984. Kingston advice

First of two in a row from side five of Sandinista, the Clash’s largest album if not its best. London Calling gets all the glory, of course, but there is a serious argument to be made that Sandinista is every bit its equal if only for all the tangents it explores – dubs, re-dubs, versions, visions. As if these four guys (and their various studio compadres) somehow managed to digest the whole weird, wild, primed-to-explode world of 1980 and jam it into six long playing sides of vinyl – not world music so much as what the world actually sounded like. Must be a clash – there’s no alternative.

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