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Clash, The: London Calling (25th Anniversary Legacy Edition)

I can still remember standing in a place called Boogie Records in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan when this song come over their stereo system that made me put down the album I was looking at and go find out what they had playing. This drum beat was followed by a little infectious guitar riff that instantly caught my ear. Then the voice of Joe Strummer starts singing one of the songs that I remember dearly from the 80's. It was the hidden track on the original vinyl album called "Train In Vain." Yes, I know the album was originally released in 1979 but it didn't hit the states until the next year. This song started my addiction to one of the iconic bands of the era, The Clash. The album London Calling even now is one of the disc that I will put on to brighten my mood and get my mind off of day to day troubles. It is not only an album of the times…it is an album for ALL time and one of the finest examples of a band with vision and something to say also.

From their punk roots, The Clash expanded their sound to the point that by the time of London Calling they would have to be considered more of a pure rock and roll band that still retained their punkish attitude. On the album opener and title track "London Calling" all the venom and rebellious nature of the band hit you with a haunting melody that sounds as if it was done by the survivors of what they are singing about. From there the band takes you back to the roots of rock and roll with the nostalgic "Brand New Cadillac" that brings up visions of Elvis but with a bit more grit. They next travel down into a retro bit of early jazz that still keeps your nerves on edge with Joe Strummer's unique vocals. From the saxophone to the tinkle of the music hall piano, "Jimmy Jazz" will bring you into a world of music that was popular long before even I was born! After this, all bets are off on where The Clash might take you. With the freedom to explore any sound they want to delve into you get some very cool stops on the reggae road, the rock and roll highway and yes, there is still some miles traveled down the punk path. All this combines to give you one of the most diverse and dominant records you will ever hear. Originally a double disc on vinyl, these 19 songs are as much of treat today as when they were first heard by the public.

For those that relish in great music, this anniversary edition is an amazing glimpse into what went into making one of the most important records of our lifetime. The two CD and bonus DVD package is a fine tribute to what The Clash was able to accomplish and what went into doing it. The first disc is the original album in its entirety and remastered to produce the best sound that could be achieved by today's standards. Disc two is called The Vanilla Tapes and is mostly early versions of their songs but also some instrumental pieces and some tunes that were left off of the original disc. Hearing how these songs grew and what they became will make you feel as if you are in the studio with them as they refine the sound that would make them "The Only Band That Matters." 15 of the 19 songs from the final disc are highlighted on this fascinating batch of demos. I have always loved insight into the creative process of music and this is a treasure trove of music that in its own way is as important as the final product.

The DVD contains the documentary "The Last Testament" (The Making of London Calling) which is a 30 minute piece that shows the band in the studio and live interwoven with interviews of the guys telling what went into the making of the album. Listening to the band reflect back is certainly a worthwhile trip down memory lane. The description of the studio process with their maniacal producer Guy Stevens is astounding. Watching him will make you wonder just how these guys were able to do what they did or maybe you might be witnessing the reason behind the phenomenal music that came out of these sessions.

Along with this documentary there are also promos for the songs "London Calling," "Train In Vain" and "Clampdown." The last bit is some footage of Guy Stevens at his out-of-control best. He will make you shake you head and wonder for sure!

The booklet that is part of the package is filled with the history behind the songs on the discs. Learning what was behind a number of the songs makes for some real interesting reading and this is one where a lot of care and thought went into what was the final outcome. I like to find out what the nucleolus is behind music I love and you get what was going on in the heads of the band as they were writing these songs.

This package is a must have for Clash fans and anyone who is interested in the history of rock and roll. It is a fitting tribute to one of those moments that is so rare in music, the making of one of the all time greatest albums. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up. It is a gem! I just saw where the Royal Mail of England has released stamps of the 10 greatest albums of all time. If you had any doubt, The Clash and London Calling might just be on the next post you receive from there!

Track listing:

Disc 1

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. Lover's Rock
16. 4 Horsemen
17. I'm Not Down
18. Revolution Rock
19. Train In Vain

Disc 2

1. Hateful
2. Rudie Can't Fail
3. Paul's Tune
4. I;m Not Down
5. 4 Horsemen
6. Koka Kola
7. Death Or Glory
8. Lover's Rock
9. Lonesome Me
10. The Police Walked In 4 Jazz
11. Lost In The Supermarket
12. Up-Toon
13. Walking The Slidewalk
14. Where You Gonna Go (Soweto)
15. The Man In Me
16. Remote Control
17. Working And Waiting
18. Heart & Mind
19. Brand New Cadillac
20. London Calling
21. Revolution Rock


1. The Last Testament (The Making Of London Calling
2. Promos
3. Home Video of Studio Session

Added: February 6th 2010
Reviewer: Scott Ward
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 2067
Language: english

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