“Sandinista!” by The Clash - album review

TJR says

Having been in the hands of a dictatorship from 1936 to 1979, the Sandinista National Liberation Front were heroes to the Nicaraguan when they managed to seize power in 1979. With immediate effect, they instituted a policy of mass literacy, devoted significant resources to health care, and promoted gender equality. The title of the Clash’s fourth album, released in December 1980, doffed a cap to these socialist heroes. The marimba based rap of “Washington Bullets” cut to the chase: “For the very first time ever, When they had a revolution in Nicaragua, There was no interference from America, Human rights in America. Well the people fought the leader, And up he flew… With no Washington bullets what else could he do?” It was a typical gesture from the band who always seemed able to balance the domestic with the international. The eclectic 2 hour set was spread over 6 sides and featured reggae, jazz, mock gospel, rockabilly, folk, dub, rhythm and blues, calypso, and rap. Once again, the group insisted that CBS sold it for the price of a single album. It was agreed that it’d sell at £5.99 and that The Clash would forfeit all their performance royalties on its first 200,000 sales. These “VFM” (value for money) principles meant that they were constantly in debt to CBS, and only started to break even around 1982. Musically, the band were completely un-identifiable from the punkers of 1977. The results were mixed.

Funky opener “The Magnificent Seven” digs on The Sugarhill Gang as Joe raps in stream of consciousness fashion about consumerism, popular media and historical figures. It’s a bamboozling, attention grabbing head swirler. History shows they were wide awake white boys at the cutting edge, forging new pathways for others to follow. “Junco Partner” proves the Clash can PLAY reggae. The band are pucker roots whilst Strummer gets mental like Perry. It was one of three covers in the set, originally done as “Junco Partner (Worthless Man)” by James Waynes in 1951 (which had been adapted from Willie Hall’s “Junker’s Blues” from the 1930s). Guest musician Tymon Dogg’s violin gives the album some occasional folk flavours - his contribution was noticeable on “Junco Partner” and positively shines on “Lose This Skin”, a track on which he also stepped up for lead vocal duties. Another cover, “Police On My Back” (The Equals, 1967), is a fantastic stomper. Elsewhere however, the album is dragged down by some very ordinary fare and a fair amount of needless dub versions. Some of the material is a right waste of time: “Mensforth Hill” is “Something About England” backwards, do us a favour… Blockhead Mickey Gallagher guests on keyboards and we’re introduced to his kids, firstly with his daughter Maria singing a snippet of “The Guns of Brixton”, from London Calling, at the end of the track “Broadway”. It’s a cute little moment. When his two sons, Luke and Ben, proceed to sing a complete version of “Career Opportunities” from the band’s first album I’m just left shaking my head. They’ve taken the joke too far…

The Jukebox Rebel
01-Aug-2008

A1 [05:28] 6.8.png The Clash - The Magnificent Seven (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) Disco / Funk
A2 [04:20] 5.1.png The Clash - Hitsville UK (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) Cerebral Pop
A3 [04:53] 8.4.png The Clash - Junco Partner (Robert Shad) Reggae
A4 [03:05] 5.0.png The Clash - Ivan Meets G.I. Joe (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) Cerebral Pop
A5 [01:41] 5.2.png The Clash - The Leader (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) Rock n Roll / Rockabilly
A6 [03:42] 5.7.png The Clash - Something About England (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) New Wave
B1 [03:25] 5.5.png The Clash - Rebel Waltz (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) Cerebral Pop
B2 [02:44] 4.2.png The Clash - Look Here (Mose Allison) Jazz
B3 [05:29] 7.9.png The Clash - The Crooked Beat (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) Reggae
B4 [03:34] 6.0.png The Clash - Somebody Got Murdered (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) New Wave
B5 [03:32] 5.7.png The Clash - One More Time (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon, Michael Campbell) Reggae
B6 [03:34] 4.6.png The Clash - One More Dub (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon, Michael Campbell) Reggae
C1 [04:51] 4.6.png The Clash - Lightning Strikes (Not Once But Twice) (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) Disco / Funk
C2 [04:31] 6.0.png The Clash - Up In Heaven (Not Only Here) (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) New Wave
C3 [02:43] 5.0.png The Clash - Corner Soul (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) Dubbeat
C4 [04:25] 6.6.png The Clash - Let’s Go Crazy (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) Caribbean
C5 [04:36] 4.6.png The Clash - If Music Could Talk (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon, Michael Campbell) Reggae
C6 [04:00] 6.2.png The Clash - The Sound Of The Sinners (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) Soul
D1 [03:15] 8.3.png The Clash - Police On My Back (Eddy Grant) Punk
D2 [02:11] 6.4.png The Clash - Midnight Log (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) Rock n Roll / Rockabilly
D3 [05:47] 7.0.png The Clash - The Equaliser (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) Reggae
D4 [05:25] 6.2.png The Clash - The Call Up (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) New Wave
D5 [03:51] 6.7.png The Clash - Washington Bullets (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) Dubbeat
D6 [05:45] 5.6.png The Clash - Broadway (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) Dubbeat
E1 [05:07] 8.7.png The Clash - Lose This Skin (Stephen Murray) Alternative Folk
E2 [04:55] 4.7.png The Clash - Charlie Don’t Surf (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) New Wave
E3 [03:42] 2.5.png The Clash - Mensforth Hill (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) Avant-Garde
E4 [02:48] 5.1.png The Clash - Junkie Slip (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) Dubbeat
E5 [02:36] 5.6.png The Clash - Kingston Advice (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) Dubbeat
E6 [03:26] 4.8.png The Clash - The Street Parade (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) New Wave
F1 [04:23] 4.2.png The Clash - Version City (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) Cerebral Pop
F2 [04:36] 5.5.png The Clash - Living In Fame (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon, Michael Campbell) Reggae
F3 [04:32] 4.3.png The Clash - Silicone On Sapphire (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) Dubbeat
F4 [05:22] 6.8.png The Clash - Version Pardner (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) Reggae
F5 [02:30] 2.0.png The Clash - Career Opportunities [1980 version] (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon) Novelty
F6 [03:25] 2.8.png The Clash - Shepherds Delight (Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Headon, Michael Campbell) Reggae




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