Welcome back…how is it where you are? Warm here still for another few days and then it seems the hot weather will well and truly bugger off. Good. I took the dog for a run tonight, it reminded me how much she loves a good run and how much I don’t. If people tell you they love running just remember that they are probably mad. I don’t mind running if I’m playing football or need to catch a bus but just running for the sake of it doesn’t agree with me. Glad we got that settled to begin with.
As you’re aware it’s now a week since the physical versions (CD and Vinyl) of the Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros reissues were released and just over a month since the digital boxset ‘The Hellcat Years’ came out. The latter of these two consisting of all three studio albums plus the bonus live at Acton Town Hall songs that of course featured Mick Jones for the last 3 numbers of the famed November 2002 concert. Did I ever tell you my Acton Town Hall story? If not I’ll share it in full on the 10th anniversary of that special night, let it be known that I’ve spoken in front of a large(ish) group of people and sat on that very stage many years earlier. It doesn’t make up for not being there that night, but then again nobody knew it (Mick climbing up on stage to join Joe) was going to happen until it actually did. It just give me some satisfaction knowing my arse once sat where they played together for the final time in 2002. My point being that with the albums back in the public eye with the reissues they are ending up on reviewer’s desks all over the place and the first wave of reviews are upon us. It is usually interesting to see what people have to say so here are the ones I’ve found so far, in no particular order – links to the full review are below in red:
The Sludge Factory: 9 stars out of 10
“There’s a complete “Acton Concert” showcased here that’s worth the getting alone. Opening with an emotionally rendered ‘Shaktar Donetsk’ it exemplifies a typically eclectic MESCALEROS gig. STRUMMER runs through his back catalogue inclusive of not only his own work with the MESCALEROS, but also that of THE CLASH. Some of the live renditions such as ‘Cool ‘n’ Out’ (from Global a Go-Go’) “cook” a little more, and are livelier than their studio versions”
Seattle Post Examiner (sourced from blogcritics.org)
“His work with the Mescaleros was as political and socially conscious as anything he did with The Clash but he also continued to take risks musically as he aged. It’s probably about time his work in this second part of his career is recognized as being equally important as anything he did as a member of The Clash. If listening to this collection can convince even a hardcore Clash fan like me of the truth of that statement, it should convince anyone.”
“I wasn’t much of a post-Clash Strummer fan (Helen Bach is a huge fan and I hope she decides to review the Box Set herself) but I think I underestimate his solo stuff. The recording didn’t help, the sprawl didn’t help, but here and there you’ll find songs as great as rock and roll ever gets”
“Because of their slight diversity, any one of these albums makes an ideal starting point, and this cheap digital box set makes the choice that much easier. Also, the bevy of live rarities are exclusive to the digital version. My word. While these have been available elsewhere for years, there’s still a great thrill in hearing the band take on Jimmy Cliff’s “The Harder They Come,” the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” and Dandy Livingstone’s “Rudy, A Message to You.”
I’m sure there will be a few more to add in the weeks ahead in which case I’ll return with a follow up to these. If you’d like to post your own review I’m happy to hand the blog over to you do so. Incidentally, if you do purchase the digital edition I’d recommend you grab it from iTunes and not Amazon.com based on this informative/tech nerd review, worth knowing though.
Much more very soon, I’m off for now so take care of yourself.