by Chris Charles
BBC News Online
The late Joe Strummer's posthumous album Streetcore is released.
Strummer never lost his punk spirit
The temptation to stick on the rose-coloured headphones is overwhelming.
How could one possibly slate the final, posthumous work of a true rock 'n' roll star - whose untimely death left a generation shell-shocked?
Fortunately, the heart-head dilemma is emphatically resolved as soon as the opening strains of Coma Girl reach the ears.
The familiar throaty vocals, the chugging guitar, the lazy reggae interludes - it makes you realise how Snoopy side-kick Linus felt when he was reunited with his comfort blanket.
As you meander through Streetcore, you quickly become aware it is one of Strummer's finest post-Clash works.
From punk-fuelled All In A Day, to reggae sing-along Get Down Moses and the country stroll of Long Shadow, this is the sound of a man enjoying himself, enjoying life. And it brings a tear to the eye.
Lyrically, Strummer is as sharp as ever - political, defiant, amusing. One minute he's puttting life's hassles in a manila envelope (Arms Aloft) the next he's returning to the good-old, bad-old days on Burnin' Streets - "London's burning - don't tell the Queen".
Even London Calling gets a name-check on Midnight Jam, while the cover of Bob Marley's Redemption Song poignantly contains more than a hint of Johnny Cash in its emotive delivery.
But, it would seem, all good things come to and end. How ironic, then, that Streetcore finally sees Strummer breaking free from the shackles of The Clash to put himself forward as a genuine contender once more.
Fittingly, the final words of the final track, Silver And Gold, sum it all up: "I'm gonna do everything silver and gold - and I've got to hurry up before I get old."
Some people are destined to stay young forever.
Streetcore by Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros is out now on Hellcat Records.
A selection of your reviews are below.
Excellent, moving stuff.
Redemption Song and Long Shadow are the standouts for me on initial listening. The loss of both Joe and Johnny Cash this year has stripped music of two of the most human writers and interpreters of our times.
Just wish Joe was still here to tour the album, always was one of the highlights of the year when the Mescaleros came to town.
Rob Morgan, Scotland
I still miss having him around. Listening to Redemption Song made it about a hundred times worse.
Play it again and again. This LP is on a par with all but the very best Clash albums. It should be held up there and worshipped. The songs blew me away at once and the style and panache is all Strummer.
Shout out how great it is, everyone needs to know.
Solid gold in a music industry full of solid bull. Love of music shines through this and is exemplified by the just as good as Bob's version of Redemption Song.
Gordon Munro, Scotland
This album is a fitting tribute to Joe, it contains everything that is brilliant about him. His lyrics are poignant, the music rich with a wealth of influences, and his voice better than ever. Which makes his untimely death even more tragic. RIP Joe, you are missed.
David Johnson, UK
Streetcore has proved to be even better than I'd hoped it would be. This is the work of an artist in his prime, full of confidence and creativity, which makes Joe's death all the more difficult to accept even 10 months later. Joe cast a very long shadow indeed, but this album gives us all even more reason to celebrate his life and work.
Steve Olson, UK
Played the album on my Walkman this morning.I think it's the best of the three Mescaleros albums.It's hard to believe Joe's gone really.Shame there wont be any more of the terrific live gigs.
Mike Barry, Scotland
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