The Clash – Super Black Market Clash

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist (part 5)

I don’t really have a lot left to say about the Clash. Do white dudes get too much credit for, you know, liking music made by brown people? Yeah. But there is also a reason for that, which is that a whole lot more white dudes don’t appreciate music made by brown people. So I applaud the Clash’s love of ska, reggae, and rap. Joe Strummer seemed like a genuinely good guy, and Mick Jones was an underrated songwriter. Paul Simonon is an icon of cool. I’m not going to say that not enough bands tackle serious subjects, but I can’t think of another band that did it as well as the Clash (Billy Bragg is the only other comparable artist in this respect).

What I Think of This Album

The origin of this release and the significance of the title honestly require some fairly tedious explanation. Which you can find elsewhere. Look, if you like the Clash, then it’s worth it to get this, though far from essential.

This is basically an album of rarities (though novelties is the better descriptor), with a few must-owns thrown in. If you’re new to the Clash, this is definitely not the best place to start. A 21-song collection of mostly B-sides, I am pretty sure you will have a hard time finding this stuff outside of the multiple Clash box sets that exist.

Highlights include the galloping cover of Toots and the Maytals’ “Pressure Drop,” the harmonica-driven “Groovy Times,” electrifying “Capital Radio Two” (which is basically the same as “Capital Radio One,” but whatever), and “City of the Dead,” (with a sort of Buzzcocks guitar riff).

Also worthy of attention are “1-2 Crush On You” (the Beatles-like vocal intro is an unexpected joy; did the band know about Springsteen’s “Crush On You”?), the melodious punk of “The Prisoner,” and the dramatic “Gates of the West.” I do like the instrumentals “Listen,” the unexpected cover of Booker T. and the MGs’ “Time Is Tight,” and the shimmery “The Cool Out” (which is “The Call Up” without lyrics).

I would have preferred the single version of “Bankrobber,” though, and also “This Is Radio Clash” over “Radio Clash.”

Mick Gallagher added organ and Gary Barnacle played the saxophone on some tracks. The original “Pressure Drop” was on the The Harder They Come soundtrack, a movie starring Jimmy Cliff. Bill Price, who also produced some percentage of Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols, did some work on at least one track here.

The Best Thing About This Album

Joe Strummer’s maniacal laugh at the start of “Radio Clash” is one of my favorite things ever, as is his “a riggy diggy dig dang dang!” towards the close. Everybody hold on tight!

Release Date

October, 1993

The Cover Art

It’s okay. I like the colors. The font is some hybrid of an old Wanted poster and 16-bit graphics, and is sort of weird. The guy with his back to the viewer is Don Letts, the Clash’s videographer and future founding member of Big Audio Dynamite with Mick Jones.

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