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44 of 47 found the following review helpful:
They Fought the LawMay 28, 2004
Of course diehards will gripe about the song selection in any compilation such as this, as you can see here. All they have to do is listen to the original albums like they always have. But if you're looking for a sturdy, jam-packed introduction or summary of the best work of the Clash, this package is for you. I've never been much of a punk fan, finding it too amateurish and focused on attitude rather than talent. However, I do know that every genre has its groundbreakers and originators, who can easily rise above the imitators and followers. For punk that would be the Clash, who were brilliant songwriters, could really play their instruments, never cared about the confines of musical categories, and are deservedly influential. (And have you noticed how many Joe Strummer look-alikes there are these days?) This package adequately represents most of the original Clash albums, and while there are a few clunkers like "Groovy Times," we do get most of the band's bona-fide classics, and some surprising covers like the reggae "Police and Thieves" and the rockabilly "I Fought the Law," which really show off the band's range of abilities. An added bonus is a pretty informative history of the band in the CD booklet. This is a fitting summary for a band that all rock fans should get to know better. [~doomsdayer520~]
19 of 20 found the following review helpful:
Essential for sure...Mar 24, 2003
By William M. Feagin
...as the title suggests. If you only listen to one punk band, the Clash should be it. I used to really dislike punk--then the Clash's box set, The Clash on Broadway, was released, and I got a chance to hear a bit more of what I'd been missing: "Clash City Rockers," "I Fought the Law," and of course, the radio tracks like "Train in Vain" and "Rock the Casbah." These guys were smarter, snider, and more talented than most of the punks who were out there at the same time or who came after them, and they gave rock 'n' roll the shot in the arm it so desperately needed in 1977.... I quite agree with the customer who said that today's crop of punk bands cannot possibly hold a candle to the Clash. This is the real deal.
17 of 18 found the following review helpful:
The only album that mattersMar 28, 2003
By Edgar Olivares
There have been other compilations by this band:"The Singles","The Story of the Clash Vol.1, and "Clash On Broadway". But there are a few factors that differentiate this from the others.For one thing, it's not an expensive box set with extra tracks the average listener does not need to have. Also, chart success wasn't what they were known for so there's more emphasis on tracks that weren't released as singles but are favorites to fans and music lovers alike. Most of the first disc is from their first album alone. Finally this double disc set puts their very best in chronological order ending with the track "This Is England" from their last studio album "Cut The Crap". This collection displays the pioneers of rebellious punk rock at their most vital. No rock fan should be without this one. Nothing here has been edited or remixed.
11 of 11 found the following review helpful:
They truly are the only band that matters!Mar 12, 2003
The world lost one of it's greatest gifts this past December when Joe Strummer died at the age of 50. The Clash were on the verge of being inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame and for the first time in 20 years it looked like The Clash would reform. Sadly the Clash did come together but it wasn't to play their first show in 20 years it was to mourn the loss of their beloved friend, Joe Strummer at his funeral. The Clash were just inducted into the Hall this past Monday with little fanfare but i'm willing to be that if Joe Strummer was there things would've been alot different. 1 day after being inducted yet another Clash compilation album is released. This time remastered and the songs handpicked by Joe, the Essential Clash is one more gift to the world from the mighty Joe Strummer. Though most fans should have all the songs already this is truly a gift to those that think punk rock is Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, Blink-182, Avril, and Sum 41. This is a gift for those people that need a reality check and a gift to those who truly need a history lesson. This complitation is a good starting point for those just getting into the Clash. It's a fitting timeline of all of their albums (including Cut The Crap)and gives you a taste of what each album by this amazing band is truly like. From the in your face punk of the first album to the dub, rap, rockabilly, soul, and reggae of the albums that would follow the Clash truly were a band that will go down in history as one of the most influental. Half the bands that pick up guitars after the Clash were through some 20 years ago owe so much to what this band. The Clash made reggae/ska/dub acceptable by the white community. The influenced so many rock bands to play reggae, something that they wouldn't dare to before them. The Clash also will go down in history as the first rock band to bring the rap sound to a white audience. The Clash embraced the early 80's NYC rap scene and created their own songs meshing their sound with the rap scenes sound (the Clash were also the first white rock band to ever be played on black radio).
So please go pick up this and all of the other albums by the Clash. Forget all the stuff MTV tells you that is punk rock because it not. The Clash were and always will be the most influental punk band.
13 of 14 found the following review helpful:
Close but not quite......Jan 13, 2004
By R Jess
Well it gets an 8 out of 10 at least. 'Clash On Broadway' cut the best of The Clash down to 3 CDs, now 'The Essential Clash' tries to do it with 2. It was a good concept. The 2 CD 'Story Of The Clash' needed to be bolstered and put in some kind of chronological order.
In a recent issue of the British music magazine 'UNCUT', the editorial team got together a panel of 50 different writers, musicians and producers and asked them to come up with the top 30 greatest Clash songs. The panel featured such luminaries as Moby, Paul Weller, Thurston Moore, Bob Geldof, Glen Matlock and Nirvana producer Butch Vig. Of the panel's 30 selections, only 26 get on 'The Essential Clash'. With these selections in mind, I hereby make a number of recommendations.
First off, why choose a minor 'London Calling' track like 'Jimmy Jazz' over the political epic that is 'Spanish Bombs' (UNCUT's no.29). Second, The Clash did more than any other band in bringing reggae to the forefront of rock music, so why not choose their best examples i.e. 'Armagideon Time' (UNCUT's no.21), in favour of lesser examples i.e. 'Ghetto Defendant'. When it comes to choosing tracks off 'Sandinista', the process is always going to be more subjective than most. But I don't see how 'Ivan Meets G.I. Joe' could make anybody's top 5, maybe the lyrical beauty of 'Broadway' (UNCUT's no.20) would have been a better choice? (So 'essential' to the Clash they even named their box set after it.)
Finally there is the conspicuous exclusion of '1977' (UNCUT's no.7!), surely one of the best Clash manifestos set to a cracking punk riff. How about replacing another minor album track from that era (e.g. 'Hate & War') with this scorcher!
Oh and by the way, what do people have against Clash singles? How about 'Hitsville UK', 'The Call Up' and 'Know Your Rights'. Surely these better represent the 'essential' nature of The Clash rather than throwaways like 'Stop The World' and even more minor album tracks like 'Julie's Been Working For The Drug Squad' and 'The Street Parade'.
Just a few points I'd like to make.
The greatest challenge of course would be to whittle a 'Best Of' compilation down to a single CD. A process which may be nigh on impossible and only goes to show how The Clash produced more 'essential' recordings in 5 years than the vast majority of bands can hope to achieve in a lifetime.
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