Say Wha!! Combat Rock? Ha! Seriously though this is great record. First of all I’m not a Clash expert and to be honest this is the only Clash disc I own! Shall I tell Ya how it all began!
Dateline/Thunder Bay/Say May or June of 1981
I can’t even take credit for saying ‘hey how about the Clash’ Nope as you great readers know it’s all about the rock here but back when i was in Grade 8 and Tbone may actually recall this as well as were in Grade school back than together. With our class that year (1981)we would board a school bus (field trip they would call it ,in other words out of school for the day!)that would take us to a Historical Park here in Tbay called Old Fort William which back in the 1800s was a Fur Traders Post and its til this day (2015) is still open to the public as a tourist attraction but back than there was a girl in our class ( who shall remain nameless) was going through a break up with a fellow classmate(can’t remember his name and no it’s not me or Tbone! Ha ) lets just say it was a case of Lost Love! at age 13!..Hahahahahaha !
So anyways this fellow girl(Lost Love)on one of the bus trips out to Old Fort William which was about a 40 minute bus ride from our public school had a ghetto blaster and all she played that day was the same three songs over and over and shit to this day I still remember them, they are in no order….
Hungry Heart by Bruce Springsteen! Love Stinks by J Geils Band and Train In Vain by the Clash! Ha…over an over same 3 tunes ..hahaha!
Train In Vain was my introduction to the Clash but I kinda passed on them even in 1982 when a Combat Rock was mega and they were opening for The Who. I always loved Rock The Casbah and Should I Stay Or Should I Go back than but always for some reason skipped em!
So fast forward to July 1994 and myself and Tbone are in Winnipeg to see Pink Floyd and following protocol we go on a cd shopping spree and one that I seen in the cheapie bins was Combat Rock for about $6.00 so Hello Purchase!
Man it only took me 12 years to get this album….so thanks Joe Strummer(RIP)/Mick Jones/Paul Simonen and Topper Headon!
Lets hop aboard my Train In Vain!
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS- the Clash start off with almost a shuffle kind of groove punk ska? and I dig the rhythm guitar mixed on the left side pretty much straight through the whole album. Know Your Rights shouts Joe and hey man he’s making me take notice that all is not correct politically back in 1982 so really no different than what’s going on in 2015! Good call out Mr Strummer!
CAR JAMMING-what a cool title! This is a little snappy punk pop number and it kicks but it’s what the Clash do! They kick you in the ass with there army boots and tell Ya to pay the Frigg attention!
SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO- Mick Jones takes the lead vocal here and man it was and still a big tune! Love the sax or whatever it is buried under the guitar to make it heavy! Cool verse and love how they break out punk rocking during the chorus! The crazy thing is I have read how the Clash did not like how this song was mixed! To me ..I likey!
ROCK THE CASBAH-boom love this tune! My favourite song of the Clash period and well once again I had read that Mick Jones the guitarist in the band hated this song from the moment he heard it in demo form in the studio! Now I’m no Clash expert but I guess maybe it had SUMTHIN to do with the drummer Topper Headon writing it,playing piano and beating the drums. Topper you the man cool guy! Fuck this song lays down a reggae feel driving with bolts of cool rhythm guitar. Dig that continuous loop of claps and percussion. This song is Brillant ..to this day! The Shareef don’t like it …Rock The Casbah! Also like the part of the tune where you here the jet fighter noises in the background after Joe says Jetfighter! Classic Synch job and the video to this day I love!
RED ANGEL DRAGNET-give up for the 4 string bass dude of The Clash Paul Simonen who takes full control vocally on this track! This is a reggae track folks ….
STRAIGHT TO HELL-a song a about injustice and hey how about a round of applause when Joe shouts out this line”it ain’t Coca Cola,it’s rice” Yep that just about says it all! Perhaps that’s the reason I missed the boat on the Clash back in there heyday of 1982! They were sending out messages like take a look around you the world is full of chaos and were all fucked! Me I was wondering when I would be hanging out with David Lee Roth and doing the Sinners Swing! Oh well plus the fact that the girl played Train In Vain 500 times over an over on that school bus may have had something to do with it! Whatever the case better late than never !
OVERPOWERED BY FUNK-yeah man the Clash go all Funk N Punk and it’s kinda a cool tune! It’s Funk man! Case in point I work with a real young fella(early 20s) great guy and when I was writing this review well his last name is Funk so he gets all the verbal trimmings from me as I can call him “Motherfunker” Get The Funk Out” Funkenstein”Funkmountain” and man he just laughs at me well we pulled up YouTube at work and I asked him if he ever heard of the Clash?Funk said no so I played him this tune! He Funkin dug it! Case closed!
SEAN FLYNN- Geezus is that a flute? Is this becoming Jethro Clash? This is different than what else is on this record but that’s just it! There are so many styles of music here. Punk,Ska,Reggae,Rock and the Flute?
GHETTO DEFENDANT- this tune kind of builds up to the chorus and the tempo doesn’t really change that much..
INNOCULATED CITY-I guess this is what they call ska reggae! Off time changes keep,the song shifting gears musically and well it’s another political throw down of something pissing off Stummer and Company!
DEATH IS A STAR- Clash Is in punk jazzy mode and once again end the album how they wanna end it…there way talking about Ummm yeah death!
IN CONCLUSION-I admit it I was ignorant of The Clash back in 1982 but I totally appreciate what they did and brought to the table with there style of music on Combat Rock(great title) years later! Like I said a few times I’m no expert on there history or anything but man these crazy English punk ska dudes put out a record that they fought over amongest themselves and it may be there biggest seller ever! Plus each song is different no two sound alike on Combat Rock and thank god Nuthin comes close to sounding like A’Train In Vain! (Though a good song, but Ya get my drift right?)