Want List: Clash Sound System Box

The packaging for this behemoth box was designed to look like Paul Simenon's custom boom box - nifty.

The packaging for this behemoth box was designed to look like Paul Simenon’s custom boom box – nifty. Notice the tape counter number – A tribute to Joe.

This hefty boxed set dropped last month while I was buried in the 30 Days: 30 Albums thread and I’m only now paying attention to it. I was never the biggest fan of The Clash, though I have the time for a few of their albums in my Record Cell. My tastes went toward artier fare, so it’s no surprise that I’ve never even heard the first two Clash albums, but I’ll write a 12,000 word defense of “Sandinista!” at the drop of a hat! Never the less, this is a serious box as compiled by Mick Jones with the aid of his Clash cohorts. But it comes at a price. Nearly $200 full retail! I guess the band are finally making up for all of the royalty points they traded for a low sale price back in the day! What do you get for your nearly two C-notes?

That's a lotta swag…!

That’s a lotta swag…!

The Clash: Sound System UK DLX BOX 11 x CD + DVD/etc. [2013]

Disc 1 – The Clash (UK Version)

  1. Janie Jones
  2. Remote Control
  3. I’m So Bored with the USA
  4. White Riot
  5. Hate & War
  6. What’s My Name?
  7. Deny
  8. London’s Burning
  9. Career Opportunities
  10. Cheat
  11. Protex Blue
  12. Police & Thieves
  13. 48 Hours
  14. Garageland

Disc 2 – Give ‘Em Enough Rope

  1. Safe European Home
  2. English Civil War
  3. Tommy Gun
  4. Julie’s Been Working for the Drug Squad
  5. Last Gang in Town
  6. Guns On The Roof
  7. Drug-Stabbing Time
  8. Stay Free
  9. Cheapskates
  10. All the Young Punks (New Boots and Contracts)

Discs 3 + 4 – London Calling (2 CDs)

  1. London Calling
  2. Brand New Cadillac
  3. Jimmy Jazz
  4. Hateful
  5. Rudie Can’t Fail
  6. Spanish Bombs
  7. The Right Profile
  8. Lost in the Supermarket
  9. Clampdown
  10. The Guns of Brixton
  11. Wrong ‘Em Boyo
  12. Death or Glory
  13. Koka Kola
  14. The Card Cheat
  15. Lover’s Rock
  16. Four Horsemen
  17. I’m Not Down
  18. Revolution Rock
  19. Train in Vain

Discs 5, 6 + 7 – Sandinista! (3 CDs)

  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 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

Disc 8 – Combat Rock

  1. Know Your Rights
  2. Car Jamming
  3. Should I Stay Or Should I Go
  4. Rock the Casbah
  5. Red Angel Dragnet
  6. Straight To Hell
  7. Overpowered by Funk
  8. Atom Tan
  9. Sean Flynn
  10. Ghetto Defendant
  11. Inoculated City
  12. Death Is A Star

Disc 9 – Sound System extras (1 CD)

  1. White Riot (single version)
  2. 1977 (B-side)
  3. Listen / Interviews (Capital Radio EP)
  4. Capital Radio (Capital Radio EP)
  5. London’s Burning (Live B-side Remote Control)
  6. Complete Control (Single version)
  7. City Of The Dead (B-side)
  8. Clash City Rockers (Original single version)
  9. Jail Guitar Doors (B-side)
  10. White Man in Hammersmith Palais
  11. The Prisoner (B-side)
  12. 1-2 Crush On You (B-side)
  13. Time Is Tight (Black Market Clash)
  14. Pressure Drop (Toots Hibbert) (B-side)
  15. I Fought The Law (Sonny Curtis) (The Cost of Living EP)
  16. Groovy Times (The Cost of Living EP)
  17. Gates of the West (The Cost of Living EP)
  18. Capital Radio II (The Cost of Living EP)
  19. Armagideon Time
  20. Bankrobber
  21. Rockers Galore On A UK Tour”(B-side)

Disc 10 – Sound System extras disc 2 (1 CD)

  1. Magnificent Dance (12″)
  2. Midnight To Stevens (Outtake)
  3. Radio One (B-side)
  4. Stop The World (B-side)
  5. The Cool Out (US 12″ B-side)
  6. This Is Radio Clash
  7. This Is Radio Clash (B-side 7″ – different lyrics)
  8. First Night Back in London (B-side)
  9. Rock The Casbah (Bob Clearmountain 12″ mix)
  10. Long Time Jerk (B-side)
  11. The Beautiful People Are Ugly Too (Combat Rock outtake) (Previously Unreleased)
  12. Idle In Kangaroo Court (Combat Rock outtake listed as Kill Time) (Previously Unreleased)
  13. Ghetto Defendant (Extended version – unedited) (Previously Unreleased)
  14. Cool Confusion (B-side)
  15. Sean Flynn (Extended ‘Marcus Music’ version) (Previously Unreleased)
  16. Straight to Hell (Extended unedited version from Clash On Broadway)

Disc 11 – Sound System extras disc 3 (1 CD)

  1. I’m So Bored With The USA (first ever recording session at Beaconsfield Film School 1976 produced by Julian Temple)
  2. London’s Burning (first ever recording session at Beaconsfield Film School 1976 produced by Julian Temple) (Previously Unreleased)
  3. White Riot (first ever recording session at Beaconsfield Film School 1976 produced by Julian Temple)
  4. 1977 (first ever recording session at Beaconsfield Film School 1976 produced by Julian Temple) (Previously Unreleased)
  5. Janie Jones (second ever recording session November 1976, Polydor demos produced by Guy Stevens)
  6. Career Opportunities” (second ever recording session November 1976, Polydor demos produced by Guy Stevens)
  7. London’s Burning (second ever recording session November 1976, Polydor demos produced by Guy Stevens) (Previously Unreleased)
  8. 1977 (second ever recording session November 1976, Polydor demos produced by Guy Stevens) (Previously Unreleased)
  9. White Riot (second ever recording session November 1976, Polydor demos produced by Guy Stevens) (Previously Unreleased)
  10. City of the Dead (Live at The Lyceum, London 28th December 1978)
  11. Jail Guitar Doors (Live at The Lyceum, London 28th December 1978) (Previously Unreleased)
  12. English Civil War (Live at The Lyceum, London 28th December 1978)
  13. Stay Free (Live at The Lyceum, London 28th December 1978) (Previously Unreleased)
  14. Cheapskates (Live at The Lyceum, London 28th December 1978) (Previously Unreleased)
  15. I Fought the Law (Live at The Lyceum, London 28th December 1978)

Disc 12 – DVD

Julien Temple Archive
White Riot Promo Film (Promo and interview with Tony Parsons)
• 1977
• White Riot
• London’s Burning
Sussex University ’77 (previously unreleased)
• I’m So Bored with the USA
• Hate & War
• Career Opportunities
• Remote Control
Don Letts Super 8 Medley
• White Riot
• Janie Jones
• City of the Dead
• Clash City Rockers
• White Man in Hammersmith Palais
• 1977
Clash on Broadway
• London Calling
• This Is Radio Clash
• The Magnificent Seven
• The Guns of Brixton
• Safe European Home
Promo Videos
• Tommy Gun
• London Calling
• Bankrobber
• Clampdown (Live)
• Train in Vain (Live)
• The Call Up
• Rock the Casbah
• Radio Clash
• Should I Stay or Should I Go (Live at Shea Stadium)
• Career Opportunities (Live at Shea Stadium)

Well, for starters, this solves the UK/US problem of the debut album! Part of why I never bit previously is that I didn’t know which version was better to buy! This extended into the late 90s CD RMs where even on Epic in the US buyers were given the choice of which version of the release to buy. This has been rendered moot. The decision was also made to correspond LP discs to CD discs, so that for the first time “London Calling” is spread across two CDs. “Sandinista!” is now across three; replicating the flow of the original, but why not issue a CD per side, if you’re that anal retentive? To really replicate the original experience of getting up every 22 minutes to change the side/disc? I may stick with my editions of those two!

A downside is the inclusion of the extremely shabby “Combat Rock” album, that nonetheless rose up the US charts in spite of its massive suck factor. Apart from “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” and “Straight To Hell” [conveniently paired as a single in the UK, obviating any need to buy this album in a move of label generosity not matched since US Atco paired “Love Is The Drug” and “Both Ends Burning” from “Siren” back in ’75] the rest was a nightmare of a record and the LP left the Record Cell in a heartbeat. At least the infamous “Cut The Crap” album was left out of this. I have never heard the first note from that and aim to keep it that way.

The real meat here are the three CDs of bonus tracks. Presumably, the B-sides/rarities that populate the first two discs scoop up many [if not all] of the wide array of B-sides The Clash generously dropped for their fans. I’m no Clash scholar, so I’ll leave it to those who are to point out any grievous omissions. But one hopes that this box plus a copy of “Super Black Market Clash” might just take care of it all, for the most part. Disc three of the bonus tracks looks like it was filled with unreleased material, which may motivate the hardcore to drop coin, but I’d have been happier knowing that every track originally released by the Strummer/Jones nexus of The Clash were all present and accounted for in this pricey box, of which Mick Jones has said that this is his last Clash project he’ll ever oversee.

The DVD has a variety of materials that I am familiar with in addition to other archival material. It looks like the disc is NTSC, so Americans may buy without fear. Also included in the package are a plethora of tchatchkes curated and designed by Paul Simenon:

  • “Owners Manual” 24 page casebound book
  • Badge holder box – to hold badges & dogtags
  • A4 folder (to hold 3 booklets + adhesive sheets)
  • Armageddon Times 1 & 2 (2 x 24 page booklets) / Armageddon Times 3 (36 page booklet)
  • 1x Poster 381X381mm
  • 1x Poster Tube [presumably, that’s the large cigarette in the photo?]
  • 3x stickers size 140mm x 85mm
  • 1x A4 sticker
  • 2x stickers size 297mm x 105mm
  • 5x badges: 1 x 25mm badge, 3 x 32mm badge, 1 x 45mm badge
  • 2x dogtags; 1 x 60mm chain and 1 x 10mm chain, stainless steel chains, each dogtag embossed ‘The Clash’

Ooof! That’s a lot of swag. Perhaps a bit less swag might have brought the price down $50 or so. While this looks like a good pick for someone like me who liked The Clash well enough, but not so much so as to buy every album/single, this might pan out to be a good purchase… one day when I have the spare cash lying around! One thing is for certain: Paul Simenon and the design team have the Grammy for packaging all sewed up! Was there ever a package where form followed function as tightly? In the mean time, I will stay with my earlier issues of “London Calling” and “Sandinista!” and maybe think about finally getting “Super Black Market Clash” to tide myself over.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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14 Responses to Want List: Clash Sound System Box

  1. The first two albums, along with BMC, are magnificent and you’ve done yourself a real disservice not hearing/owning them. I got on the Clash train with the first album and only got off with “Combat Rock.” I’m amused that “Cut the Crap” has been retconned out of existence, but yeah the cheap fan’s purist package would be remastered albums 1-4, SBMC and a digital download of selected extras listed above. Plus Joe’s Mescaleros project.

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  2. PS. Astonishing to realise that the whole of the Clash as a band lasted just five years or so.

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  3. Taffy says:

    I think the Clash were utterly brilliant, tied with the Buzzcocks for my favorite British punk band ever. Their first album was a pivotal listening experience for this teenage punk. Alas I did’t see them live til summer 1982, but I can still recall the energy at that show. And while I do think Combat Rock was weaker than the previous albums, I still find much to enjoy. Like most Clash fans I outright reject Cut The Crap – an album without Mick Jones is no Clash album at all.
    I would love some sugar daddy/momma to gift me with this box set, but I own most of the material already.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Taffy – Good luck with the sugar daddy/momma thing. Whatever happened to sponsorship, in the Medici sense of the word? I’ve said that I can be bought to no avail, either! I never saw The Clash but I did get a chance with The Buzzcocks. Agreement on Mick Jones. Joe was the soul and conscience of The Clash, but Mick had the tunes, didn’t he?

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  4. Echorich says:

    This will likely be my Xmas/Bonus give to myself this year.
    I have to agree with Taffy that Combat Rock is much more than it’s US “hit” singles. It’s actually kind of a deep cuts record for me, the more time goes by. Where Sandanista was made in NYC (mostly at Electric Lady Studios with this lucky writer there to hang out or speak to the guys – and Pearl and Ellen – as much as possible while it was being recorded), Combat Rock is really about NYC. Certainly the global themes of Sandanista were still alive on Combat Rock, but there is a real NYC essence in the music and a lot of Joe’s lyrics.
    I had the pleasure of seeing them 15 times between 1979 and 1982 – including 10 night and afternoon concerts at Bond’s Casino in Times Square on the Sandinista tour – and purposely avoided their Shea Stadium appearance opening for The Who on prinicple, if for no other reason. Possibly one of the greatest moments in my live music experience history was watching Paul Simenon crash his bass on the floor of the Palladium stage in ’79 and realizing when London Calling was released that I was there to witness it.

    As for the Buzzcocks, I had the good pleasure of seeing them twice early on in their career, at the Hotel Diplomat in Times Square and then the Ritz promoting Singles Going Steady, and then once again when they regrouped in the early 90’s. They are also one of my favorites of the Punk Era and easily earned the description as a Punk band.

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    • Echorich says:

      As an aside and a kudo to Simenon and his design team, notice the needle on the Ghetto Blaster is tuned to 101 – a nod to Strummer and his 101er’s past.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – Ah, Pearl Harbour and Ellen Foley. I’ve got their first solo albums in the Record Cell. “Nightout” is full of great songs but being the “Sandinista!” fan that I am, I should have heard “Spirit Of. St. Louis” when it was released. Alas, I’ve not had the pleasure even yet! And “Don’t Follow Me I’m Lost Too” was a bravura album, especially coming after the anodyne “Pearl Harbour + The Explosions” which gave absolutely no indication that she had it in her. But I never heard anything that came after that; the same as Ms. Foley. Your thoughts, Spock.

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    • Taffy says:

      Echo…I want your life! Alas I left the NYC suburbs in 1978 to college in upstate and missed 4 pivotal years of concerts (except the occasional Aerosmith-type show in Binghamton, NY). Actually, while I began partaking of live music around ’78, it wasn’t til ’84 or so when I started going out religiously to catch bands I was interested in seeing. Hence my first exposure to the live Buzzcocks experience was the reunion in ’89.

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      • postpunkmonk says:

        Taffy – Looks like you’re another late bloomer like I was. My excuse was geography. None of the groups discussed here ever ventured into the Deep South where I lived until the mid-80s, by which time, all of the good stuff was gone. And those that remained in the game had watered down their sauce something fierce to play the “Crack The States” game. Promoters down there had charming names like Fat Harry’s Productions [totally real] and knew from Rock Superbowls and The Nuge! None of this freaky New Wave spud wazz.

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      • Echorich says:

        Taffy – wouldn’t give up those years for anything! As Monk has mentioned to me in the past, there’s a book in me somewhere. As a senior in high school I made the conscious decision to not go away to college but make Manhattan my campus by going to Baruch College which was part of the City University of New York. The main building was 3 blocks from the Gramercy Hotel which was where any “New Wave” band with some record company backing would stay while on tour or recording. Nights out at Hurrah’s, RT Firefly, The Diplomat, even Max’s Kansas City and CBGB’s as they wound down, were at times more frequent than nights in my bedroom studying.

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  5. JT says:

    You guys are too hard on Combat Rock.
    When it came out, it was unfairly maligned as a “sell-out” for daring to have some U.S. hit singles.
    How dare the mighty Clash record something fun and goofy like Rock the Casbah. Punk is *serious*, maaaaan. The record has aged well, however, and strongly foreshadows the excellent Mescaleros albums in many ways.
    The handful of tunes that wrap up side two – or the last 3 or 4 on the CD – kind of peter out and become forgettable, but there are 6 to 8 good tunes here. Give it another chance if you initially rejected it back in the eighties.

    I also give Cut the Crap a spin every five years or so, just to make sure it still sucks.
    It does.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      JT – Well, my “Combat Rock” memories are 30 years old now. I’d give it another shot in the used bin, at the right price. But know that I did the same for Peter Murphy’s “Holy Smoke” ten years after ignoring it in its day due to lame singles I’d heard… And still got rid of it!

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    • Echorich says:

      I agree JT, Combat Rock has aged very well. I hear it now as a poem to New York City and with every listen I hear how much of a Strummer album it really was.

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