“The Guns of Brixton” by The Clash (1979)

26 11 2008

“The Only Band That Matters.”  That’s how some describe The Clash.  While I can’t whole-heartedly agree with the exclusionary nature of that statement, I understand the passion this band brings out in people, including me.  They are, without a doubt, one of my favorite bands.  And I’m not alone in this.

The album “London Calling,” from which this track comes, is hailed by many as one of the best rock albums of all time.  That statement I will whole-heartedly agree with.  A superb double album.  We have it on vinyl, CD, and a couple of really worn out cassettes.

Why was The Clash so good?  Well, they were a pretty hardcore and credible “punk” outfit, as confrontational and energized as any band of the era.  But what I really like about them is how they integrated Jamaican music into their sound.  Especially dub, which is like sparse, minimalist reggae, with a prominent and heavy bass line.  You can hear it nicely in this track, and I just absolutely love it.

Speaking of bass lines, Paul Simonon, one of my favorite bass players, sings this track.  Normally, Joe Strummer (R.I.P. compadre) and sometimes Mick Jones sang the songs, but now and then “the coolest bass player alive” stepped up to the mic.

In addition to the great music, their lyrics are biting and powerful, to say the least.  If you’re up for hearing some difficult truths about society, just listen to the words.  And get fired up.

(thanks to littlewonder80 for posting this great vid highlighting Mr. Simonon.  And I have to tell you, your Uncle Ty really reminds me of Paul Simonon)

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