Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros – Streetcore (Remastered)
Shamefully it’s taken to the age of 23 to discover Joe Strummer and his Mescaleros and hear their music, let alone this re-release. Here is five seconds to judge me and rain down your outrage. 5…4…3…2…1. Feeling better now? Happily you’ll be pleased to know I liked it, a lot! To commemorate what would have been Joe Strummer’s 60th birthday this re-release of Streetcore treats you to the ten incredible tracks it already had plus seven live adventures.
As the opening bars of Coma Girl drift through your head and explode into life you’re struck by how this music hasn’t aged. The tale of Coma Girl is something which has definitely happened at a few festivals this year I’m sure. This first track shows the one thing that perhaps highlights the nine years that have passed, telling stories that haven’t been told precisely 75 billion times before (a lot of counting involved in that, a lot of counting!). Moving from the anthemic nature of Coma Girl, track two Get Down Moses highlights another strength of this record. The variety throughout this album keeps your ears in a state of glorious confusion. The slow reggae vibes of Get Down Moses change again with tracks such as All in a Day echoing a few punk vibes, all the way through to the blissed out tender energy of Ramshackle Day Parade. And that’s not even mentioning the folk songs that have found their way in.
Throughout the seventeen tracks there are many moments that make you think, smile or just go WTF. The mark of every good album! As you dive into Streetcore and get carried along by Strummers voice you are interrupted by a surprise Bob Marley cover. You’ll smile and think is that really Bob feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. Another moment comes with Midnight Jam. It starts like a song; there are sounds, lyrics and even instruments. Then you realise its slightly different, filled with soaring riffs and mellow vibes it’s undeniably trippy. Enhancing all of this is Strummer’s monologue over the top, wandering along as the music wanders around your mind. The live additions add many joyful moments to proceedings as well. All b-sides, they’ll have you singing when Rudi, A Message to You saunters along, or nodding along to that ancient British folk song circa 1999 Yalla Yalla.
The lyrics, instrumentation and production on this album show the original quality of this record and the standard or re-mastering it’s gone through. Every song has something important to say, or at least something that will bring out a smile on your face – plenty of substance to make the brain cogs turn. Complementing this perfectly though is the instrumentation. The stand of playing is high, combined with inventiveness. Whether it’s the drumming in All In a Day or the floaty riff in London is Burning the playing keeps you entertained and in a prolonged state of ‘wow’. All this is held together seamlessly by strong production, seen at it’s best in tracks such as Midnight Jam.
This record could have been made yesterday with so much variety you’ll wonder if it’s all just one bad, a deep vein of passion running throughout. Whether the music’s timeless or it’s just that people don’t change – maybe even both – this record is a must! A testament to Joe Strummer and to Scott Shields and Martin Slattery who took over the finishing touches of the album you really should get this in your life.
1. Coma Girl
2. Get Down Moses
3. Long Shadow
4. Arms Aloft
5. Ramshackle Day Parade
6. Redemption Song
7. All In A Day
8. Burnin' Streets
9. Midnight Jam
10. Silver And Gold
11. The Harder They Come (live) (B-side to Coma Girl)
12. Rudi, A Message To You (live) (B-side to Coma Girl)
13. Blitzkreig Bop (live) (B-side of Coma Girl)
14. Yalla Yalla (live) (B-side to Coma Girl)
15. Armagideon Time (B-side to Redemption Song)
16. Pressure Drop (B-side to Redemption Song)
17. Junco Partner (from Hellcat Give Em The Boot IV compilation)