Sunday, November 16, 2008

44. The Clash - Give 'Em Enough Rope

1977 was a watershed year for me. Punk rock arrived in the USA and it forever changed the way I listened to music. Though I didn't pick up on it until the following year when I heard the Ramones on a college station, I still recognize 1977 as the year the music changed.

Christmas 1978, a friend gave me a cassette of Give 'em Enough Rope. Safe European Home and Tommy Gun were staples of my days and night for the next year or so.

So many hot, sticky summer nights, sitting in my Nova, drinking beer and listening to Joe Strummer's impassioned voice.

I had my first major break-up with this cassette playing in the background.

When I threw up that entire bottle of Boonesfarm wine, Julie's Been Working for the Drug Squad was blasting from the speakers we had set up in the park that night, before the cops came, before we were chased through the woods by snarling dogs, smelling of puke and Miller Lite. Every time I hear that song, I can recall the taste of warm beer vomit.

This is a different Clash than what materialized with London Calling. This is the Clash I mean when I talk about great bands. I'm not saying they were bad after this, but London Calling is a whole discussion unto itself. Give 'Em Enough Rope had something to it that makes me cling to it the way a person will cling on to that last good memory before life straight to hell.

Favorite Song: Julie's Been Working For the Drug Squad
The Birth of the Clash


Anonymous said...

This was the album where I first started having the guilty realization that as much as I loved Joe Strummer--and I was scarily obsessed with Joe Strummer--I was appreciating Mick Jones' pop sensibilities almost as much and maybe more. Kill me for typing "pop sensibilities," by the way.

But "Stay Free" is more pop song than rock song, I think. And I was kind of going, "Ooh, more like this!" and then berating myself for being a pitiful punk rock sellout--punk isn't supposed to be pretty!--which is utterly stupid.

That said, I still love Safe European Home best from this, and I think naive, spoiled liberal white tourists should be forced to listen to it before getting on Orbitz. So you think those white locs are gonna fly in Kingston, do you?--Strummer would like a few words with you about that.

Solonor Rasreth said...

For some reason, I didn't get this one until after the fact. Everything I loved about them was off their first album and London Calling. And I'm not all that taken with it. "Safe European Home" is my favorite, but this album just never did anything for me.