Sunday, August 23, 2020

The Clash- 5 Go Mad In The Roundhouse

This past week would have been Joe Strummer's 68th birthday had he not passed away in 2002, when the world lost a great musical talent. The band Strummer co-fronted with Mick Jones, The Clash have been referred to as the definitive British punk rockers and their use of incorporating genres of rockabilly, reggae, dub and R & B has influenced a whole generation of future punk rockers. According to Strummer, manager Bernie Rhodes would say, "An issue, an issue. Don't write about love, write about what's affecting you, what's important." Politics often entered in the band's lyrics and ideals that set the band apart. I didn't know this (until i read it on wiki) but, the band's political principles extended to the resistance of the music industries profit motivation and fought to keep ticket prices and merchandise reasonably priced. The band informed CBS they wanted their double album (London Calling) and triple album (Sandinista!) sold for the price of a single album. London Calling was and as a compromise for Sandinista! the band gave up performance royalties for the first 200,000 sales. This meant the band was in debt most of the time or barely breaking even with CBS.
I don't often post known bootlegs, but the historical significance of these recordings are hard to pass up. The first half of the disc is a very early show in their career live from the Roundhouse and it is a rare recording that features the Clash with five band members. As noted in the review below, guitarist, Keith Levene was still in the band in early September 1976, but is gone from the band by the October gig in Birmingham. I hadn't listened to this disc in a while, but had a listen last week and the sound quality isn't as bad as I remembered and what sold me was the number of unreleased songs and how energetic these early shows were. You are hearing the Clash in their formative stage, working it out in clubs opening or playing alongside bands such as the Sex Pistols and Buzzcocks and developing a following (not through "social media" or hype) through hard work and solid live performances. If you're a fan of the Clash, especially their early work, these recordings are a must-hear! 

Please do NOT sell or profit from this recording!
Do NOT convert to lossy formats (except for personal use)
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The Clash
5 Go Mad In The Roundhouse (1996)

Tracks 1 - 15 live at The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm, London, 5th September, 1976.
Tracks 16 - 28 live at Barbarella's, Birmingham, 26th October, 1976.

Track listing
01. Deny
02. 1-2 Crush On You
03. I Know What I Think About You
04. I Never Did It
05. How Can I Understand The Flies
06. Protex Blue
07. Janie Jones
08. Mark Me Absent
09. Deadly Serious
10. 48 Hours
11. I'm So Bored With You
12. Sitting At My Party
13. London's Burning
14. What's My Name
15. 1977

16. White Riot
17. Birmingham's Burning
18. I'm So Bored With The U.S.A.
19. How Can I Understand The Flies
20. Protex Blue
21. Deadly Serious
22. Deny
23. Career Opportunities
24. 48 Hours
25. What's My Name
26. Janie Jones
27. 1977
28. 1-2 Crush On You

Track 03 is labeled "Know What You Do".
Track 04 is labeled "I Don't Want Your Money".
Tracks 05 & 19 are labeled "I Can't Understand The Flies".
Tracks 09 & 21 are labeled "Going To The Disco".
Track 11 is an early version of "I'm So Bored With The USA".
Track 12 is labeled "Work".
Track 17 is an alternate version of "London's Burning".

This is a very 'historic' bootleg you could say. The Clash lineup for the Roundhouse gig is the five man outfit - Joe on vocals, Paul on bass, Keith Levene and Mick on guitars, and Terry Chimes on drums. The band is rough 'n' ready, and very energetic. The sound quality is pretty good. It's a tiny bit muffled
throughout, the first two tracks more than most, but after those it improves significantly.

There are lots of songs that you won't find anywhere else, as you can see from the songlist. These unreleased ones are pretty good, and the band is very energetic. There are a fair number of breaks in the show during which Joe addresses a less than friendly audience. My favourite moment being when Joe says "So you got five A-Levels, what do I care? That's just a dirty trick!" during a long break in the set. What's admirable is the strength of the performance when the crowd obviously didn't 'dig' The Clash that much. The applause after some of the songs comes across as a bit half-hearted, and quite a few morons in the crowd recommend the band get off the stage.

The Birmingham gig is much the same. Rough and fast performances of early songs, this time with Mick on lead guitar and Joe on rhythm since Keith had left by this stage. (Birmingham's Burning, as you probably guessed, is just London's Burning with the altered lyric.) This is an essential CD to have, being one of the earliest shows, it has the rare tracks and Keith 'The Phantom Guitar Player' Levene features on it (he's only on the Roundhouse gig). A blistering two shows. The performance this early on shows how great they were, and it's interesting to hear early versions of the songs before they got put down in the studio and probably while they were still being worked on.

Rated: 8 / 10


Jobe said...

Wow, heard a couple of the early things, but not all of these. Thanks

Post Post Modern Dad said...

This is certainly a find - thank you

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