Go Easy Step Lightly

Back to back Clash.
JC’s continuing series of Imaginary Compilation Albums threw up his ten track Clash compilation a good while ago. I did a spin off, alternative version which drew solely from non-single releases and nothing that JC had included in his ICA as a companion piece (which I should have submitted there rather than posted here). Some time later following my B.A.D. ICA at The Vinyl Villain  I speculated about a Mick Jones sings The Clash ICA. Driving home recently listening to the extras discs from Sound System I was thinking that The Clash could have several other ICA’s- a Clash In Dub ICA, The Clash cover versions ICA, a Sandinista! ICA (controversial maybe, many people feeling like Joe did that the thirty six songs should be left exactly as they are, warts and all). There may be others which just goes to demonstrate the band’s quality, range and depth. The whole set could then be compiled in a massive Clash ICA box with trinkets and booklets.

The Sound System Extras pack is three discs, discs one and two covering non album releases and some unreleased bits (see yesterday). The third disc has various demos and finishes with six songs live from The Lyceum in London, December 1979. There are two gloriously spiky runs through City Of The Dead and Jail Guitar Doors, Cheapskates (not the greatest Clash song perhaps), English Civil War and then two absolute smashes. The first, Stay Free, is Mick’s love letter to best mate Robin Banks and their time growing up in South London- the breakdown and Paul’s bassline re-entry is every bit as good as it should be. The second is their breakneck cover of The Bobby Fuller Four song. Topper’s drumming is breathtaking, the guitars squeal and spit, and then there are three way Joe/Mick/Paul vocals on I Fought The Law. On fire.

Stay Free (Live at the Lyceum)

I Fought The Law (Live at the Lyceum)

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Breaking Rocks In The Hot Sun

Today, from 11 til 2, I shall be manning the book stall at Park Road Nursery’s summer fair. Not exactly breaking rocks I know. And the weather forecast for M33 is for heavy rain and not hot sun. Last year the big sellers on the stall were various celebrity autobiographies in hardback (prices ranged from 30p to 50p depending on my judgement), a book on pond care and a dvd boxed set of five Steven Seagal films. But that was very much just the tip of the iceberg. The Quakers, Park Road, Sale- pop in if you’re free, say hello and leave with some quality literature.

I Fought The Law is one of the great rock ‘n’ roll songs, written by Sonny Curtis and The Crickets. I’m not sure The Bobby Fuller Four’s version has been bettered- as Paul Simonon pointed out, it’s the way those guitar chords are so ‘light and feathery’. I played this at a mate’s wedding and it went down a storm. Bobby Fuller met a very sticky end, found dead in his car with foul play suspected though the verdict was suicide.

I Fought The Law

The Clash’s version is superb- from Topper’s opening salvo through to Joe’s impassioned delivery. The breakdown on the line ‘robbing people with a -dum, dum, blum, blum, blum, blum- six gun’ is especially thrilling. This live version is The Clash at their most black-clad glorious. Best bit- when the three man front line step up to the mics in sync to bawl out the opening line.

It’s been covered endlessly, the 60s girl group version by The She Trinity being one of my favourites (‘He fought the law and the law won’). Most recently Johnny Marr has been encoring with it and doing it very well too. As evidenced here in San Francisco, along with fellow former Wythenshawe resident Billy Duffy.