I. Am. A. Slow. Reader.
I’ve always enjoyed reading books. But damned if it doesn’t take me an eternity to read one. Especially over the last decade, as the internet has consumed any free time I previously devoted to books. And maybe it has something to do with reading right before bed. Four, five pages and I’m too tired to go on.
So my intent is to do my first book review, since I was just sent Chris Salewicz’s new book, Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer. But since it may take me while to get through it, I wanted to at least make you good people aware that this book is out there. Chris Salewicz was a music journalist in the seventies, covering the exploding punk scene for several publications, and befriending many of the bands, including the Clash – so he has a unique insider’s perspective on Joe Strummer.
Joe’s been gone for more than four years now. He left us too early at the age of 50. Shitty thing is, he was just hitting his stride again with the Mescaleros. After a long hiatus, he had formed the band in the late 90’s, and released Rock Art and the X-Ray Style, their debut album, in 1999. A tour followed, and as you’ll hear, Joe was back in prime form. With healthy doses of Clash favorites, old reggae songs, and new Mescaleros tunes, the live shows were great.
Interspersed between the songs is the classic Strummer stage banter. Before launching into Toots & the Maytalls’ “Pressure Drop”, he introduces it this way:
“We’re doing it by a Clash arrangement where we fuck the whole song up completely. But what can you do? I’m a great believer in tradition.”
Enjoy the show. I should have a quality book review to you by, oh – let’s say, Christmas.
Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros
Theater of the Living Arts
November 24, 1999
Diggin’ The New
Rock The Casbah
Ishen > Brand New Cadillac
The Road To Rock n’ Roll
White Man In Hammersmith Palais
Safe European Home
Rudie Can’t Fail
Straight To Hell
I Fought The Law