Sunday, January 15, 2006

Sandinista Edited!

Following the success of their double album London Calling, I expect that The Clash felt like the could do anything. If they loved the double album, let's give them a triple album! Sandinista! is a sprawling collection of 36 songs, taking in punk, dub, rap, rockabilly, reggae, soul and stirring it into a big mess. The pacing of the record is bizarre nightmare; every time momentum starts to pick up, it is sabotaged by the appearance of a too-long novelty piece or a half-written track. In the end, Sandinista! is an uncomfortable marriage of mammoth ambition and unfinished, unedited ideas.

All that said, The Clash were a great band and they wrote dozens of great songs. Sandinista! has more good songs on it than most bands generate in their career. Searching through the junk to find those songs is the hard part.

I put together a track list for the album that The Clash should have released. It's still a double album, but trimmed from 36 to 17 songs. It clocks in at about an hour, the same length as London Calling. I used a few operating assumptions putting the track list together.

1) The Clash were better at using dub recording techniques and rhythms within rock songs than actually playing pure dub.
2) Joe Strummer (R.I.P.) was not a good rapper, although I had to keep "The Magnificent Seven."
3) Clash songs ought to be sung by members of The Clash.
4) The Clash are not a good jam band.
5) I tried to think about pacing and how the album could work as a whole, something you could ingest in one sitting. Some solid tracks are missing because of this...

I'm expecting some passionate feedback on this one.

1) The Magnificent Seven
2) The Leader
3) Somebody Got Murdered
4) Corner Soul
5) One More Time
6) The Call Up
7) Charlie Don't Surf
8) Look Here
9) Something about England
10) Washington Bullets
11) Police on My Back
12) Up in Heaven (Not Only Here)
13) Hitsville UK
14) Let's Go Crazy
15) If Music Could Talk
16) Rebel Waltz
17) The Street Parade

buy here!


  • At 4:37 PM, Blogger alan said…

    I think you've got it just about right. I wouldn't quibble with any of your choices or ommissions. This would have made a great double album, and a more focused and worthy successor to London Calling. There's just too much dross in the original to make it enjoyable to listen to as a whole.

  • At 3:57 AM, Anonymous Jim said…

    It's a good selection alright - I especially like the idea of ending with Street Parade - but I'd have to include Crooked Beat. It wouldn't be the Clash without a Simonon track - like the Beatles without Ringo.

  • At 11:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    top in order:
    1. somebody got murdered; someone's dead forever.
    2. Hitsville UK
    3. Charlie Don't Surf
    4. Police on My back
    5. Magnificent Seven

  • At 5:12 PM, Anonymous fnordboy said…

    I agree, as ambitious as it was, they should have edited themselves down (at least) to a double album. I'm a huge Clash fan, but have unfairly given many of these tracks short shrift, due to the nigh unlistenable dross in which they are buried.

  • At 11:03 PM, Blogger Naughty Secretary Club said…

    Oh but what about the kiddie version of “Career Opportunities”. I always had a soft spot for that one.


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