Friday, December 22, 2017

Joe Strummer Day 2017: The Latino Rockabilly War & Chris Crossraods (Shows # 699, 700)

Following his time with The Clash, Joe Strummer worked on a variety of soundtracks, most notably for the Alex Cox films, Sid & Nancy and Walker. The Latino Rockabilly War was the backing band Strummer put together for music on the film Permanent Record, which starred Keanu Reeves. The band consisted of Zander Schloss (guitar), Lonnie Marshall (bass), Jack Irons (drums) as well as Willie McNeil on drums for select tracks. Five songs recorded during this time were featured on the Permanent Record soundtrack, “Trash City”, “Baby the Trans”, “Nothin’ Bout Nothin‘”, “Nefertiti Rock”, and the instrumental track “Theme From Permanent Record”. Three of these tracks were also released as Trash City, a three-track single that featured the title track, “Nefertiti Rock” and “Theme From Permanent Record”. The song “Trash City” is a hidden song within Joe Strummer’s post-Clash years. Often referred to as his Wilderness Years, this song is a rock song with world music rhythms, lyrically the song taps into a party type vibe, drawing on elements of American junk culture and the status quo.

This line-up was also featured on the Earthquake Weather, Joe Strummer’s first official solo album. Released in 1989, the album was initially not received well critically, but that has come to change with time, garnering more of a cult following. Earthquake Weather experiments with the influences of rockabilly, folk, funk, reggae, world music, and pop music. The album opens with Joe Strummer shouting, “Let’s rock again” before launching into the track called “Gangsterville”. The opening seconds of this song set the tone for this album, the first official solo album released by Joe Strummer. Musically the song brought into focus a reggae/rock style with added Caribbean music influences, while lyrically the song seems to reflect the frustrations Strummer was experiencing after his time with The Clash, and fans expectations of him. Lyrics such as “The revolution came and the revolution went/The chemical rain left a message on the tent” and other lines such as, “Wanted: one man to lead a crusade/Payment: a bullet on a parade” exemplify some of this, as a picture is painted of a time that was and a future that is beginning.

“King of the Bayou” is another strong rock song found early on this album, along with “Slant Six”, a song that recalls a Rolling Stones influence. “Shouting Street”, another rock song found on this release seems to pull in a rockabilly influence at times, but has its origins in the last days of The Clash. Apparently the song was late 1985/early 1986 and was intended to be worked up with Clash bassist Paul Simonon, but never was. “Island Hopping” is a more exotic tropical folk song of sorts, drawing in a mellow Caribbean/world music sound as lyrically it shows a changing world that is controlled by the people in power. “Dizzy’s Goatee” drifts into dub territory, while “Boogie With Your Children” brings funk music influences to Earthquake Weather. The song’s sound has drawn comparisons to Red Hot Chili Peppers musically. “Leopard Skin & Limousines” is a sparse arrangement, with flamenco styled guitar on top of piano and acoustic guitar. Lyrics such as “People only wanna Xerox you baby/They got a quota to fill” and “Suppose I should drag my stuff on out/But I don't like the memories/Found a pint of brandy on top of the fridge/And it's working like an antifreeze”, this song is one that is heartfelt, yet one that also seems to be dealing with a juxtaposition of past glories to a new, changed world.

“Jewellers & Bums”, a song cut in two takes, features drummer Jack Irons. He joined in the midst of the recording sessions for Earthquake Weather, but this track is the first one he recorded for this album. “Jewellers & Bums” portrays a searching lyrically, as musically it is an upbeat, yet melancholic track. “Ride Your Donkey” is a cover of 1966 reggae track of the same name originally by The Tennors. “Passport Detroit” drives along as the album’s 13th track before we end up at the song “Sleepwalk”. The last track on Earthquake Weather, “Sleepwalk” ends the album in a slower pace. It brings forth a theme of moving, in different directions, sometimes that occurs lyrically and musically through elements of transportation. This is a theme that runs throughout this album. Apparently written for Frank Sinatra, with its haunting melodies, tells the story of a lost love and the distance that is left between it.

The Latino Rockabilly War toured with Strummer as his backing band for his Rock Against the Rich tour in 1988/1989. After this the band played no more. When Earthquake Weather was released it apparently sold about 7,000 copies and was highly criticized (as mentioned earlier). It would be approximately ten years before Strummer would emerge with The Mescaleros, but this album is deep with hidden meanings, lyrical and musical discoveries, that might not be apparent upon a first listen. Only ever issued on vinyl and cassette, Earthquake Weather has still yet to be released on CD or reissued officially. But, like much of the content found here, it’s not easily explained. It is at times complex, at times not. Sometimes you don’t know what’s there until you take a look and find that bottle of brandy on top of the fridge.

Joe Strummer & The Latino Rockabilly War (Show # 699):

1. Theme From Permanent Record (Permanent Record Music From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - 1988)
2. Nefertiti Rock (Permanent Record Music From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - 1988)
3. King of the Bayou (Earthquake Weather - 1989)
4. Jewellers & Bums (Earthquake Weather - 1989)
5. Slant Six (Earthquake Weather - 1989)
6. Louisiana Turnpike (Permanent Record Outtakes - 1988)
7. Search Party (Permanent Record Outtakes - 1988)
8. Plymouth Roadrunner (Permanent Record Outtakes - 1988)
9. Punk Rock Blues (Gangsterville - 1989)
10. Viva La 15th Brigade (Island Hopping Single - 1989)
11. Don’t Tango With Django (Gangsterville Extended Mix - 1989)
12. Island Hopping (Earthquake Weather - 1989)
13. Sightsee MC (Live At Coasters Edinburgh, Scotland - 08.11.1988)
14. V.Thirteen (Live Green Wedge Benefit, The Tabernacle - Notting Hill, London 1988)
15. Straight To Hell (Live Green Wedge Benefit, The Tabernacle - Notting Hill, London 1988)
16. Dizzy’s Goatee (Earthquake Weather - 1989)
17. Boogie With Your Children (Earthquake Weather - 1989)
18. Ride Your Donkey (Earthquake Weather - 1989)
19. Cholo Vest (Permanent Record Outtakes - 1988)
20. Nameless (Permanent Record Outtakes - 1988)
21. Japanese Cars (Permanent Record Outtakes - 1988)
22. Trash City (Permanent Record Music From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - 1988)
23. Baby The Trans (Permanent Record Music From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - 1988)
24. Nothin’ Bout Nothin’ (Permanent Record Music From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - 1988)
25. Passport To Detroit (Earthquake Weather - 1989)
26. Shouting Street (Earthquake Weather - 1989)
27. Highway One Zero Street (Earthquake Weather - 1989)
28. Sleepwalk (Earthquake Weather - 1989)
29. Gangsterville (Earthquake Weather - 1989)

Download this episode here!

An Interview With Chris Crossroads:

Chris Crossroads busks and performs as a solo artist. He has released music under that name, some of which are on his Bandcamp page. These recordings take on a DIY, lo-fi aesthetic. The music is usually folk and country based, but with elements of punk and other genres. Described as gothabilly, glitch rock, punkgrass, Crossroads originates from Winnipeg. For several years he also lived in Windsor, Ontario. Currently, Chris is back in Winnipeg where he is part of a new group called The Dirty Dead. Crossroads has created several art/videos on YouTube that has earned him wide acclaim.

This 30-minute program features an interview with musician Chris Crossroads, who has performed music all over Canada and has busked everywhere from Windsor to Winnipeg. We discuss the issues of poverty and poverty prevention from the point of view of a busker. The songs featured on this program were all songs performed live on CJAM FM at different points over the last several years on Revolution Rock. One of which, is a cover of Johnny Cash's version of "One Piece At A Time".

Chris Crossroads:  Joe Strummer Day 2017 Playlist (Show 700):

1. Chris Crossroads - Lost In The 13th Dimension (CJAM Session)
2. Chris Crossroads - Monsters In The Cradle (CJAM Session)


3. Chris Crossroads - All In The Family (CJAM Session)
4. Chris Crossroads - One Piece At A Time (CJAM Session)

Download this episode here!

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