Never mind the Bollocks? Well, never mind the The Beatles, here's Sandinista!. Released in December of 1980, Sandinista! has had the same criticisms leveled against it the Beatles received a decade earlier for their uncontrolled hodgepodge collection. The fab four managed to make a double-album with diverse and disconnected songs, but The Clash topped them by filling three pieces of black vinyl (two Cd's for you youngsters out there).

But it sold at double-album prices. That in itself was a statement. The Clash were all about statements. Punk rock was about statements. Political, societal, musical. Sandinista! is filled with statements. Record companies don't like double-albums. They absolutely abhor triple-albums. So The Clash insisted on a triple album and forced the record company to sell it at double-album prices. This is not the way you make lots o' money. U2 was just in town and the cheapest ticket price was $90. Ninety bucks for a nosebleed seat in a 30,000 seat stadium. That's a different sort of statement.

This isn't a concept album. Well, if you call throwing all kinds of shit against the studio wall and seeing what sticks a concept, then maybe it IS. There's no flow to the songs gathered here. Listening to it straight through is almost too much to expect. It can be repetitive, and insipid, and trite. And absolutely fanfuckingtastic. Reggae, rap, hip-hop, jazz, dub, calypso, rock, pop, gospel -- jesus, they dabbled in a little of everything on this album.

If Music Could Talk all by itself is worth the price of admission. How do you categorize this song? Jazz-pop-dub? Dueling monologues? And Lose This Skin? Is it the worst vocal you've ever heard? Who is that guy -- Timon Dogg1? Never heard of him. But between his fingernails on the blackboard screech and that whining violin you just have to cover your ears. Or do you.... It's like that ugly runt of a dog, it's so ugly it's cute.

Yes, there's some dreck here. But there's a ton of gold as well. Here are a few of my favorite lines from Sandinista!

" don't need no silicon to calculate poverty..." -- One More Time
"...the terror of the scientific sun.." -- Something About England
" the music calling for a river of blood.." -- Corner Soul
"... Charlie's gonna be a napalm star..." -- Charlie Don't Surf
" ... I've got to lose this skin I'm imprisoned in..." -- Lose This Skin
" ... fear is just another commodity here..." -- Up In Heaven
"...the message on the tablet was Valium..." -- The Sound of the Sinners
Track Listing:
  1. The Magnificent Seven
  2. Hitsville U.K.
  3. Junco Partner
  4. Ivan Meets G.I. Joe
  5. The Leader
  6. Something About England
  7. Rebel Waltz
  8. Look Here
  9. The Crooked Beat
  10. Somebody Got Murdered
  11. One More Time
  12. One More Dub
  13. Lightning Strikes (Not Once But Twice)
  14. Up in Heaven (Not Only Here)
  15. Corner Soul
  16. Let's Go Crazy
  17. If Music Could Talk
  18. The Sound Of The Sinners
  19. Police On My Back
  20. Midnight Log
  21. The Equaliser
  22. The Call Up
  23. Washington Bullets
  24. Broadway
  25. Lose This Skin
  26. Charlie Don't Surf
  27. Mensforth Hill
  28. Junkie Slip
  29. Kingston Advice
  30. The Street Parade
  31. Version City
  32. Living In Fame
  33. Silicone On Sapphire
  34. Version Pardner
  35. Career Opportunities
  36. Shepherds Delight
1 -- CloudStrife says Timon Dogg was a friend of Joe Strummer's back when he was a busker, and I think he was in The 101ers as well.

Cloud is correct. Timon, or Tymon, Dogg is a folk singer/fiddle player who busked around Europe with Joe back in 1971 and has been associated with many Strummer projects ever since.

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