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Streetcore [Vinyl]

4.7 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews

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Vinyl, April 20, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

One of the few true heroes of the punk era, former Clash frontman Joe Strummer walked it like he talked it, never losing his commitment to either his music or his ideals. Streetcore marks his third album since his '99 re-emergence, and possibly his strongest solo album to date.

This fact is all the more poignant in light of Strummer's death shortly before Streetcore's completion. He has left us a swansong of which he could be proud. His famous eclecticism is full-on; this makes the wide-ranging SANDINISTA seem like GIVE 'EM ENOUGH ROPE by comparison. A dizzying fusion of electronica, reggae, funk, hip-hop, rock, folk, blues, world music, and more, it's what he'd been working his way up to ever since his comeback. Things never spiral out of control, as his lyrics are the most focused he'd written since his Clash days--simultaneously political and playful. Streetcore closes with a cover of Bobby Charles's "Grow Too Old" (retitled "Silver and Gold"), a vow to live life to its fullest that would seem tragic in context had not its singer done exactly that all the way to the end.
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Product Details

  • Vinyl (April 20, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Hellcat
  • ASIN: B003BWQDKA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #525,828 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By N. Kuppalli on October 22, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Joe's passing was one of the hardest days of my life. I've never met someone as truly dedicated to his art as Joe. So, when it was announced that there would be one last cd released by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros, I was unbelievable happy. Sitting on pins and needles, I finally heard the cd. I was truly amazed. After Joe's last brilliant cd, "Global A Go-Go", I wasn't sure what to expect. The world music isn't as prevalent on this new cd, "Streetcore". However, the cd still delves into a variety of music: rock, folk, blues, hip hop, reggae...it's all here in true Strummer style. Joe was lucky to have had Mick Jones as his songwriting partner during the days of the Clash. He was blessed twice, because Martin Slatery and Scott Shields were the perfect complements for Strummer's writing.
"Coma Girl" is as good a song as Strummer has ever released. Great melody and a good rockin' song. I would have loved to have seen him play this song live. "Get Down Moses" is another fun song with elements of reggae and hip hop. "Long Shadow" was a song written for Johnny Cash. A very poignant song. It was written about Cash's legecy, but fits Strummer's just as well. It was recorded with Beck's guitarist, Smokey Hormel. Joe's version of "Redemption Song" is amazing. His vocals are truly awesome. I would never say anyone could sing it better than Bob Marley, but Joe does a damn good job. "Midnight Jam" is a really cool song that's mostly an instrumental. Joe passed on before he was able to add lyrics to the song, but it was too great of a song not to add, so Slattery and Shields added it to the cd. "All In A Day" is a great rocking song.
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Format: Audio CD
When I first heard the news of Joe's death -- a heart attack ultimately attributed to a congenital defect -- just two days before Christmas last year, I was in too much shock (and denial) to cry. In January, when I read Rolling Stone's loving but brief tribute, I teared up as the reality of his passing sank in. In February, I got choked up during the Grammy Awards as Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen, "Little Steven" Van Zandt and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl sang "London Calling," which Joe originally wrote and performed in 1979 as a member of the British punk band the Clash. In March, I damn near lost it during VH1's broadcast of the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame inductions when former Clash bassist Paul Simonon called Joe "my big brother." Meanwhile, the news that a posthumous Strummer CD was in the works made me extremely happy.
I was finally able to buy a copy of Streetcore -- the third and final album by Joe and his ever-evolving backup band, the Mescaleros -- a couple days ago. Even if I hadn't found myself in a moment of personal turmoil that day (which I won't go into here), my first listen to this album still would have been a very emotional experience. Just hearing Joe's voice, sounding so strong and vital, on the upbeat, insanely catchy opener "Coma Girl" brought tears to my eyes -- it hit me that Joe would never be making another record. But further spins of the entire album made me realize that, as with any artist's final album, you should just enjoy the music and not torture yourself wondering what more the artist could have given us.
Luckily, even with only 10 tracks, there's plenty to enjoy here. "Coma Girl" ROCKS! It was a great choice for the opening track *and* the lead-off single, and it may be the catchiest thing he's written since his days with the Clash.
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Format: Audio CD
When I think of post-humously issued albums I inevitably think of Nirvana's Unplugged in New York. That album reminds me of a funeral procession, and I can't help but think back on how great Kurt Cobain was as a person and as a musician. What surprises me about Joe Strummer's last album is that it's the complete opposite of Nirvana's. This album is a celebration of life, and while I can't help but feel sad about Joe Strummer's passing this sadness is my own and not his. Listening to it is like witnessing the prodigal son returning home. For his last few albums Joe Strummer had delved into world beat, eschewing his rock roots, and while I feel those albums were successful, I also believe that his return is even more triumphant. Streetcore is a return to rock in many ways, but Joe doesn't ignore the vast amount of influences such as reggae, dub, blues, and folk. If anything these influences are just integrated better. Every song is strong on this album, and even the acoustic numbers pulse with life. Perhaps a little older, a little wiser, and a little more laid back, but Joe never gave up living beyond the status quo. This album didn't make me want to go back and relive London Calling for the one-thousandth time, instead it made me want to hit play again. Now when I think of post-humously issued albums, Joe Strummer's finale has a place right next to Kurt Cobain's.
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Format: Audio CD
After hearing "Global A-Go-Go," I was impressed, but I wasn't looking for a world mix this time. Imagine how pleased I was when the opening track, "Coma Girl" started out with Joe back at it.

As the guitars guide us to bounce our heads and tap our feet, Joe's lyrics paint a picture and take us away. "I was crawling through a festival way out west." he calls, and we can see it. As he then sees the coma girl and as the rain sets in.

Many of the songs on this recording paint an image on us in the same way, in "Get Down Moses" as he shouts "Get down Moses, down here in the street / the blood is washing down all the gravel to our feet." With gritty sounds and images of the old punk scene ("Arms Aloft") or a quiet acoustic ballad that takes you far, far away, to a place where Jonney Cash and Strummer both cast a long shadow ("Long Shadow"): it's an album that gets to you.

Of course a stand out track remains Strummer's cover of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song." As a heartfelt protest song, it takes wings in Sturmmer's deep, emotional voice. This recording Strummer may have sung with a political motive in mind, but now it will always be remembered as Joe Strummer's Redemption, and it could make you cry to think about it.

And while you're at it, listen to "All in a Day" (it's funnier if you work retail and actually have to wear a vest to work). Or "Burning Streets", with lyrics that reach back to The Clash ("London is burning / Don't tell the queen"), or even on "Midnight Jam," which Strummer didn't quite finish, you can hear him quote himself in the spoken word background, you can hear echos of "London Calling," "Radio Clash," and "White Riot." There's "Ramshakle Day Parade" which Strummer wrote about 9/11.
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