The Walking Rock Alphabet: G

The few of you that actually read this silliness may be surprised there is a post this afternoon. After all, I have my Live Ledge internet radio broadcast on in just over an hour. Since I had just enough time to do my walk, and had been forced to skip yesterday due to an interview for a future Ledge program, I decided I had to put in the effort this afternoon. Expect a short entry, though, as I need to get ready for my show.
Today’s choice was another obvious one. The Clash, after all, are the “only band that matters”, and Give ‘Em Enough Rope is an important album in my musical life. While I had a couple of Clash singles, at this point I knew the name more than the actual music. Their debut album had not been released in this country at this point, and the import version would come a few months later. 
In the official history of the band, this album comes under a lot of scrutiny, primarily because of their choice of Sandy Pearlman as producer. Known primarily for his songwriting and production work for Blue Oyster Cult, Pearlman certainly applied some “real rock” techniques to the album. While early Clash recording were crude and relied on few overdubs, this album saw Mick Jones record multiple guitar parts, and Joe Strummer reportedly was forced to record take after take for his lead vocals.
Yet to this Midwestern teenage moron, this record was a revelation. Besides the power and intensity that marked the band’s sound until London Calling, I know there were no other albums in my collection that dealt with Central America, airplane hi-jackings, and Middle Eastern terrorism. Ok, maybe I had a disc or two that referred to a drug bust, but nothing as explicit as “Julie’s Been Working For the Drug Squad”.
While I was immersing myself in this new sound that was percolating in London, New York, and other places around the world, this was really the album that cemented in my mind that there was more to rock ‘n’ roll than the Molly Hatchet/Kansas/Styx dreck that I was forced to endure on my after-school pot smoking excursions in Tuthill Park.


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