London Calling [Legacy Edition]

( 3 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
At the time of this album's original appearance, the Clash took to calling themselves "the only band that matters," a bit of braggadocio that, more than two decades on, no longer seems so outrageous. London Calling is widely considered to be the band's masterwork -- Entertainment Weekly recently dubbed it "the greatest album of all time" -- so when plans were announced to add more than 20 long-lost songs for this reissue, some jumped for joy while others voiced misgivings about messing with a classic. Suffice to say, those worries are put to rest by the unwavering power and artistic edge that emanates from the so-called "Vanilla Tapes," all packed onto a second, bonus ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
At the time of this album's original appearance, the Clash took to calling themselves "the only band that matters," a bit of braggadocio that, more than two decades on, no longer seems so outrageous. London Calling is widely considered to be the band's masterwork -- Entertainment Weekly recently dubbed it "the greatest album of all time" -- so when plans were announced to add more than 20 long-lost songs for this reissue, some jumped for joy while others voiced misgivings about messing with a classic. Suffice to say, those worries are put to rest by the unwavering power and artistic edge that emanates from the so-called "Vanilla Tapes," all packed onto a second, bonus disc on this Legacy Edition. The third disc, a 50-minute DVD, features a 30-minute documentary on the album's making, entitled The Last Testament, alongside in-the-studio footage and promotional video clips for three songs. A good many of the additions from the "Vanilla Tapes" are simply formative recordings of songs that would appear on London Calling, but these takes -- particularly an even more feral version of the title track and a rendition of "Death or Glory" that captures Joe Strummer's desperation more vividly than the album's version -- stand on their own merit. Those who have pretty much absorbed every note on the original album, however, will be more interested in the passel of previously unissued songs, highlighted by the anthemic "Heart and Mind" and a reggae-tinged cover of Bob Dylan's "The Man in Me." The sound quality of some of the buried treasures isn't exactly what you'd call audiophile, but that was never the point with the Clash. After all, what good is polish when you're awash in a sea of blood, sweat, and tears.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Epic/Legacy reissued the Clash's classic third album, London Calling, in 2000, remastering the album and restoring the original artwork, much of which didn't make the original CD issue. No bonus material was added to this or any of the other Clash reissues of 2000, largely because nearly all of the B-sides and useable rare material had already appeared on compilations ranging from Super Black Market Clash to the box set Clash on Broadway. Over the next few years, expanded double-disc reissues of classic albums came into vogue among reissue labels, and eventually the Clash became a candidate for such a reissue, but it seemed like their vaults were empty. Then, a couple of extraordinary discoveries occurred. As he was moving to a new home in the spring of 2004, Mick Jones happened upon a box of tapes that included the long-rumored, long-thought-lost Vanilla Tapes -- rough rehearsal sessions for "London Calling" named after the London studio where they were recorded. Around the same time, legendary Clash associate Kosmo Vinyl sent bassist Paul Simonon old video tapes that contained grimy black-and-white footage of the Clash cutting "London Calling" at Wessex Studios with producer Guy Stevens. These two historic discoveries were more than enough material to justify a new special-edition reissue, so Epic/Legacy prepared a triple-disc set -- containing a CD with the original LP, a CD with The Vanilla Tapes, and a DVD containing a documentary, promo videos, and that newly discovered raw footage -- as part of their acclaimed Legacy Edition series, just in time for the 25th anniversary of the album's release. Simply put, this reissue, while not boasting anything shockingly revelatory, is nevertheless an illuminating glimpse at how the album was made and is essential for any true fan of the Clash. This is particularly true because it has been so long since any unreleased material has surfaced, even on bootleg, so it would have been a delight to hear something, anything, new. Fortunately, The Vanilla Tapes are very good, at least when judged against the standards of rough rehearsal tapes. Keeping in mind that these are low-fidelity recordings mainly consisting of the band working out new songs, this is very enjoyable stuff. What's interesting about these rehearsals -- and, excluding a stab at "Remote Control," all but five of the 21 tracks on The Vanilla Tapes are rehearsals of songs that wound up on the finished LP some of these boast different titles: "Paul's Tune" is "The Guns of Brixton," "Up-Toon" is "The Right Profile," "Koka Kola" is expanded to "Koka Kola Advertising & Cocaine" -- is that the Clash began with arrangements that were quite similar to the finished versions; they were a little ragged, sometimes a little slower, sometimes with slightly different lyrics as on "London Calling" itself, but their sinewy musicality is as apparent here as it is on the vinyl. While it may disappoint some listeners that there are no forgotten classics among these five previously unheard songs, that doesn't mean they're not enjoyable. "Lonesome Me" has an appealing country bounce; given time, "Where You Gonna Go Soweto" could have been worked into a fine piece of white reggae, as could their reinterpretation of Bob Dylan's "The Man in Me"; "Heart & Mind" is a pretty impassioned, catchy piece of punk-pop that's distinguished by Joe Strummer breaking into the One O Oners greatest hit "Keys to Your Heart" in the coda. None of these songs are better than what wound up on London Calling, but they're all excellent outtakes on a CD that does qualify as a major historic find for rock historians. The video on the DVD is nearly as noteworthy, particularly those 13 minutes of home movies of the Clash and Guy Stevens in the studio. The accompanying 30-minute documentary takes highlights from this video, threading them between interviews conducted for the long-form Westway to the World documentary, winding up as an effective look at the making of the album as are the fine liner notes in the lengthy 36-page book. Still, there's nothing quite like eavesdropping on a great band working with a madman producer. Stevens steals the show, as he storms around the studio, throwing ladders, throwing plastic chairs, banging chairs against his head, motivating Strummer during a vocal session, and conducting the band during a rehearsal. Throughout it all, the Clash are cool and unflappable, never letting Stevens' shenanigans affect them. It's a rather amazing piece of archival footage, and it's just the icing on the cake on this splendid reissue. It's fitting that an album that truly deserves an expanded edition not only gets the deluxe edition it deserves, but one that makes a convincing argument that the sometimes ridiculous practice of expanded, multi-disc editions has a purpose after all.
Rolling Stone - Pat Blashill
A serious, ridiculously ambitious punk album.
Tracks - Ira Robbins
It would be easier to believe that 25 years have passed if the album didn't still sound so strong and fresh, its ambitious rush of invention and conviction untied to any stylistic moment.

A serious, ridiculously ambitious punk album.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/21/2004
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 827969292327
  • Catalog Number: 92923
  • Sales rank: 41,333

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 London Calling (3:19)
  2. 2 Brand New Cadillac (2:08)
  3. 3 Jimmy Jazz (3:54)
  4. 4 Hateful (2:44)
  5. 5 Rudie Can't Fail (3:29)
  6. 6 Spanish Bombs (3:18)
  7. 7 The Right Profile (3:54)
  8. 8 Lost in the Supermarket (3:47)
  9. 9 Clampdown (3:49)
  10. 10 The Guns of Brixton (3:09)
  11. 11 Wrong 'Em Boyo (3:10)
  12. 12 Death or Glory (3:55)
  13. 13 Koka Kola (1:47)
  14. 14 The Card Cheat (3:49)
  15. 15 Lover's Rock (4:03)
  16. 16 4 Horsemen (2:55)
  17. 17 I'm Not Down (3:06)
  18. 18 Revolution Rock (5:33)
  19. 19 Train in Vain (3:09)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Hateful (3:23)
  2. 2 Rudie Can't Fail (3:08)
  3. 3 Paul's Tune (2:32)
  4. 4 I'm Not Down (3:34)
  5. 5 4 Horsemen (2:45)
  6. 6 Koka Kola, Advertising & Cocaine (1:57)
  7. 7 Death or Glory (3:47)
  8. 8 Lover's Rock (3:45)
  9. 9 Lonesome Me (2:09)
  10. 10 The Police Walked in 4 Jazz (2:19)
  11. 11 Lost in the Supermarket (3:52)
  12. 12 Up-Toon (1:57)
  13. 13 Walking the Slidewalk (2:34)
  14. 14 Where You Gonna Go (Soweto) (4:05)
  15. 15 The Man in Me (3:57)
  16. 16 Remote Control (2:39)
  17. 17 Working and Waiting (4:11)
  18. 18 Heart and Mind (4:27)
  19. 19 Brand New Cadillac (2:08)
  20. 20 London Calling (4:26)
  21. 21 Revolution Rock (3:51)
Disc 3
  1. 1 The Last Testament: The Making of London Calling
  2. 2 Plus Previously Unseen Home Video Footage of the Clash Recording ...
  3. 3 Promos of 'London Calling', 'Train in Vain' and 'Clampdown'
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
The Clash Primary Artist
Joe Strummer Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Mick Gallagher Organ
Topper Headon Percussion, Drums
Mick Jones Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Paul Simonon Bass, Vocals
Irish Horns Brass
Barry "Baker Glare" Auguste Human Whistle
Technical Credits
The Clash Composer
Bob Dylan Composer
Joe Strummer Composer, Liner Notes, Concept
Jackie Edwards Composer
Mick Jones Composer, Producer, Liner Notes
Don Letts Director
Bill Price Engineer
Paul Simonon Composer
Guy Stevens Producer
Tony Dixon Mastering
Ray Staff Remastering
Pennie Smith Still Pictures
Bob Whitney Remastering
Ray Lowry Illustrations, Original Sleeve Design
Tricia Ronane Executive Producer
Vince Taylor Composer
Pat Gilbert Liner Notes
Jerry Green Producer, Engineer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Greatest Album of All Time

    I know Rolling Stone magazine said this album is the eighth greatest of all time, but I disagree. This is the greatest album of all time. The combination of Joe Strummer's powerful political lyrics and the spectacular song writing of Mick Jones makes this album a masterpiece. This album, although considered a punk rock album, combines a wide range of genres. Each member of the band brought their own favorites into their music whether it be Paul Simonon's love for reggae, Mick's fascination with the emerging rap scene in the states, Joe's love for blues, or soul which was a favorite of Topper Headon's. My favorites on this album are "London Calling", "Guns of Brixton", and "Train in Vain".

    The second disk in this set contains music from The Vanilla Tapes. These rehearsal versions of songs are very fun to listen to. There are also five previously unreleased songs on this disk. This disk alone could easily be sold for the same amount as this entire three disk set.

    The third disk in this set is just as good as the regular album. This is a DVD that contains an awesome thirty minute documentary on the making of the album. The documentary has interviews with Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, and Topper Headon as well as The Clash's engineer Bill Price and their PR rep Cosmo Vinyl. This DVD also has about 15 minutes of footage of the Clash in their studio as well as live performances of "Train In Vain", "Clampdown", and the "London Calling" music video.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    One of the Best albums and one of the Best Legacy Editions

    The Great London Calling CD (sounding better than ever) along with a Great sessions CD that is extremely enjoyable by itself and then you get a powerful DVD with videos and a half hour documentary about the album. All this for less money than the original double LP's cost. What are you waiting for? Pick this up before it disappears!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews