Themes From Great Cities

It might have come to your attention that I'm not a regular poster of love and understanding, which you will just have to get used to. I will however, have bursts of creativity where I move completely randomly from post to post with no rhyme or reason. I have recently posted a few singles (7 & 12”) and the odd bootleg which have been received very well by all who visit. More of the same will continue as you, dear readers, seem to be enjoying them.

Some of the rips are my own, but many more are from other blogs and I’m just sharing the wealth. If other bloggers out there wish to share the rips from my posts, please as I do, host them yourself. To combat this, the FLAC files that are over 6 months old will be replaced with MP3 files.

Finally I am happy to re-up old posts where the link has expired. Please comment in the relevant posts comments box.


Earthquake Weather

Joe Strummer, a huge influence in my life, passed away at the age of 50 in 2003. He left behind a legacy that included more than just his words and melodies in The Clash. His solo albums, not including his posthumous, dare I say, masterpiece, Streetcore, are also works of art that are often unnoticed and rarely listened to. One such album is Earthquake Weather, which, as the title implies, lives in Los Angeles (where it was recorded) but is dreaming of the Bayou.
The album is hard for a casual Clash fan to swallow at first. Released in 1989, nearly a decade since the demise of the Clash, Strummer pushes his musical acumen towards the synergy of the 1980 masterpiece Sandinista!, which is still being sorted out by fans in a love-it-or-hate-it fashion. The further Strummer pushed towards this, the faster casual fans tuned out. Earthquake Weather would be lost in the haze of the early 1990s.
But I argue that this album, along with Walker (1987), Rock Art and the X-Ray Style (1999), and Global A-Go-Go (2001), Earthquake Weather is not only a hidden force of rock music lost in the decadence of the 1980s but also smart, crafty experiment which – like Sandinista! has its moments, but overall transports the listener to its time and beyond.

Earthquake Weather is Joe Strummer's first official solo album after the breakup of the Clash, discounting his soundtrack for Walker. That it's nearly a disappointment, but manages to rise above its flaws, is a testament to Strummer's pedigree and abilities. Strummer sticks to his usual stylistic proclivities, touching on dub reggae, mournful folk, and rock stompers. The album has its share of delightful highlights. The fast-paced, eclectic "Gangsterville" and "King of the Bayou" blend dub and rock jams effortlessly, with Strummer's confident voice echoing over bombastic backing revelry. "Island Hopping" slows things down, its tropical folk charm foreshadowing the mature, optimistic route Strummer would adhere more faithfully to with Global a Go-Go. "Leopardskin Limousines" and album closer "Sleepwalk" both bristle with emotion, thanks to a tasteful Spanish guitar, an interesting choppy rhythm effect, and hushed vocal processing on the former and the latter's subtle, graceful pace. Outside of these highlights, the remaining songs are quite passable and enjoyable, even though there's a sense that Strummer went into Earthquake Weather with an incomplete blueprint. Lonnie Marshall's bass playing frequently recalls Flea's tackier funk excursions, wailing guitar solos appear haphazardly, and, too often, Willie MacNeil's drums are too quiet in the mix to allow for the necessary dynamic punch, and there's a sense that Strummer was just a step or two away from going a cheesy world beat route at times. If these flaws keep the album from greatness, at least Strummer's voice and songwriting are engaging enough throughout the 14 songs that there's never a second where things come off as dated or rushed. Indeed, the flaws reside only in elements that add texture and flare, so they're somewhat easily ignored, especially since the production is so layered and there's so much going on in each song. Earthquake Weather is a solid, fascinating album, mostly because of Joe Strummer's always fiery charisma, his impeccable vocals, and his mostly unerring musical exploration and experimentation. Even when Strummer occasionally goes wrong stylistically, his conviction is too winning and his passion for music too strong to allow him to turn in a subpar performance.

Ripped along with accompanying singles from places unknown to MP3 @ 320kbps

Joe Strummer; Earthquake Weather

1.     Gangsterville
2.     King Of The Bayou
3.     Island Hopping
4.     Slant Six
5.     Dizzy’s Goatee
6.     Shouting Street
7.     Boogie With Your Children
8.     Leopardskin Limousines
9.     Sikorsky Parts
10. Jewellers & Bums
11.  Highway One Zero Street
12.  Ride Your Donkey
13.  Passport To Detroit
14.  Sleepwalk

Joe Strummer; Gangsterville

1.     Gangsterville
2.     Jewellers & Bums
3.     Punk Rock Blues

Joe Strummer; Island Hopping

1.     Island Hopping
2.     15th Brigade
3.     Baby O’boogie