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Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros - Streetcore (Cover Artwork)

Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros

Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros: StreetcoreStreetcore (2003)
Hellcat Records

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:


Contributed by: adamAdam
(others by this writer | submit your own)

"I hear punks talk of anarchy - I hear hobos on the railroad I hear mutterings on the chain-gangs. It was those men who built the roads. and if you put it all together and you didn't even once relent You cast a long shadow - and that is your testament Somewhere in my soul .
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"I hear punks talk of anarchy - I hear hobos on the railroad
I hear mutterings on the chain-gangs. It was those men who built the roads.
and if you put it all together and you didn't even once relent
You cast a long shadow - and that is your testament
Somewhere in my soul there's always Rock and Roll."

- Joe Strummer's "Long Shadow" written with Smokey Hormel for Johnny Cash

I was worried about having to write this review. I suspected I would use whatever was released as Joe's final work to beatify him, regardless of the actual quality of the album. Thankfully I can say that, as objective as a devoted fan can be, Streetcore is more than a worthy closing chapter on Mr. Joe Strummer's career. I'm relieved I won't have to take on the daunting task of eulogizing this father of our genre either, as he did it quite well himself in the above quoted "Long Shadow."

Streetcore's far more stripped back then 2001's Global A Go-Go, which was a wonderful mess of world music influences and genre bending instrumentation set against nearly nonsensical stream-of-consciousness lyrics. In many ways Streetcore, with it's roots rock feel, is closer aligned with `99's Rock Art & The X-Ray Style. Unlike Rock Art however, Streetcore benefits from the loving production of Mescaleros Martin Slattery & Scott Shields. The duo, also Joe's guitarist and bassist, turned what was likely a mess of demos and unfinished work into an incredibly coherent and moving record.

The single "Coma Girl" is a perfect example of the Mescalero's amped folk sound. The band revisits the dub / reggae of "Tony Adams" with the powerful "Get Down Moses." There's a great dynamic of loud, fast rockers and emotional country / blues on Streetcore. Some of Strummer's most charging rock'n'roll in twenty years are featured here, including "Arms Aloft" and "All In A Day." The latter, recorded with electronica producer Danny Saber, is Strummer's most successful and seamless experiment with electronic music. On the other hand the acoustic roots rock of "Long Shadow" and the moving cover of Bob Marley â??s "Redemption Song" give Strummer's voice a fitting showcase at the end of his career.

"Redemption Song" is the second cut, along with "Long Shadow," that was recorded apart from the Mescaleros. Guesting on it is guitarist Smokey Hormel (Tom Waits, Beck, Johnny Cash), organist Benmont Tench (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) and producer Rick Rubin on piano. It's a fitting tribute from one idol to another and the emotional core of the album.

I have a hard time describing the beautiful "Ramshackle Day Parade," pure Strummer poetry that hinges on the haunting background vocals of its chorus. "Burnin' Streets" tastefully reiterates lyrical themes from The Clash's "London's Burning" over slow dub/rock. "Midnight Jam" was one of the instrumental tracks recorded in the studio that likely had no suitable vocals tracked before Joe's death. Shields and Slatterly salvaged it by weaving vocal samples from Strummer's BBC Radio Show "London Calling" cleverly into the mix. The album concludes with "Silver and Gold," a cover of Bobby Charles' light-hearted classic "Before I Grow Too Old." The circumstances surrounding this release give it an entirely different feel then Joe intended at the time. This is the last track on the last album by a man whose influence has permeated nearly everything that's followed.

"Silver and Gold" ends a pause and a vocal clip of Strummer in the studio saying "OK, that's a take."

â?¦

On Streetcore Joe Strummer and his Mescaleros truly came together as a band and wrote a batch of amazing songs. This is the real success of this record, not that it ends Joe's career on a positive note, but that totally isolated from that context it holds up perfectly. I'm glad I can say without caution or reservation that this is the best record Strummer has been involved with since London Calling in 1979.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Clash - London CallingJoe Strummer and The Mescaleros - Global A Go-GoThe Clash - The ClashAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseRancid - ... And Out Come The WolvesAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyOperation Ivy - Operation IvyThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Refused - The Shape of Punk to ComeJawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge Therapy

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Mrcips (June 3, 2012)

Dope album love this one

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ABedForLiars (September 3, 2006)

A Bob Marely cover? Hells yes. Streetcore! This is the shit. VIVA LA STRUMMER.

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

Wow..awful guy...hey, would like to post a quick comment...The band Diana Gone Wrong has recently lost their main guitarist..right when they are about to be signed..damn....interested..go to DianaGoneWrong.com and check out the mucic...Orange County Register did the largest article ever on an OC punk band last Sunday....and it was Diana...e-mail her at DianaGoneWrong@hotmail.com..peace out and thanks for listening *family member of Diana

P.S. If you like Good Charlotte more than the Clash, you'll love us!

Anonymous (April 17, 2005)

Yeah, it's stupid like the Clash.

Anonymous (March 30, 2005)

Please someone erase the post below

R.I.P Joe

Anonymous (April 6, 2004)

i expected this album to be really haphazard, but it turned out awesome. The best mescalero album in my opinion. Redemption song is an awesome song, as well as all the other songs on it. A great closing chapter.

Anonymous (November 11, 2003)

My rating of this album has nothing to do with Joe's passing. The record is completely solid, every single song is a highlight of its own. Great songwriting both lyrically and instrumentally. The arrangement of everything from a technical point of view is extremely impressive considering much of this record is actually salvaged material-clips all glued together and such. I could let that fact bring my rating of Streetcore down, but really, I think rating a record isn't just from a fan's POV, rather it's from a critic's POV. Yes, I am a fan of The Clash and the Mescaleros, but honestly, the respect that is due is best paid in the 10 that is my rating. It's not about being a Joe Strummer fan, it's not about him dying and it being his final work, it's not about anything but the musical integrity that Streetcore puts forth. The passion that's apparent in every single song - whether my ears personally appeal to it or not - has to be considered. My 10 rating is not me saying that I think Streetcore is the best record ever released, it is not me saying anything about competition whatsoever, or in persuasion of non Strummer fans to like his stuff. My 10 rating is for all that Joe put into his work on Streetcore. It's there and not one person can deny that he truly loved [his] music. Streetcore is a 10 in my books because on a scale of 1-10, everything on the record comes together in unison to form the sound of love for life, humanity, and music itself, and a 9 would imply that it could have been better. But really, I don't think that at all. Streetcore is not the greatest record ever written, but it's one damn solid record that should be at least respected by any person with a soul that has the same respect for music and other people. This isn't about me, this isn't about you, it's about the fucking music man. Streetcore is a great record.

Anonymous (October 27, 2003)

This album is incredible, it destroys the last disc. I've listened to this cd like three times day since I picked it up. Joe has such an incredible voice, and the production on this cd is nothing short of great. Definatley the best cd of the year...

RIP Joe

Anonymous (October 27, 2003)

the clash were overrated. joe strummer was overrated. shut the fuck up. this album is ok, but not 'perfect' like everyone claims it is. god, i hate you guys.

Anonymous (October 27, 2003)

"Were the Clash really that good? Do people actually like them or do they just say they like them because they are a classic band. Sure they started the whole thing but they really weren't that good. Same with the Ramones. Horible lyrics and crappy music. A fucking three year old could play thier songs. Sure, without The Clash and The Ramones there would be no punk. "

I'm not really sure what you mean by "they weren't really that good." I mean, you can dislike them if you want, thats your preference. But if you're going to say, that as musicians they were unskilled, then you'd just be wrong. You have the right to your opinion regarding their music or not, but the fact is, that they were solid and skilled musicians (even Paul, the non musician, played bass, both pick and fingerstyle, and really got grooving by the time Combat Rock dropped).

Anonymous (October 27, 2003)

rip Joe.

Greenvandal (October 26, 2003)

I dont remember ever saying I didnt like the clash. I think people who divide and generalize everyones intelligence based solely on there musical tastes should fuck off.

You should stop paying so much attention to whats in your pants and start thinking with your head.

Anonymous (October 26, 2003)

"When this shit is posted, it means punk is dead... I'm not going to argue with this "angry" adolescent (has 20 friends, trendy indie hair, listens to "good" music like Thrice and CoCa, and is late to the high school football game)... He simply isn't worth it. But I'm sure he can play as well as Mick Jones, who was a fucking expert at guitar. Okay. Hahahaha. 3 year olds..."

I just posted that so see what people would say. I have nothing against The Clash and The Ramones. I acknowledge the fact that they started punk and without them there would be no punk but I'm not going to say I like a band when I really don't. And as for Thrice and Coheed and whatever their stupid name is I wouldn't call myself a fan of either.

Anonymous (October 26, 2003)

greenvandal is just some trendy loser... as is anyone who says they like punk, but likes Thrice and disses the clash. piss off, all of you.

-suspect device in your pants (hope my name is as punk as bsd!)

ihateadam (October 26, 2003)

BSD sure puts those 3 year olds in their place(note sarcasm)

Greenvandal (October 26, 2003)

Your generalizations get cuter and cuter everytime you say them BSD. Cant talk now, gotta go to the football game.

Anonymous (October 26, 2003)

"Were the Clash really that good? Do people actually like them or do they just say they like them because they are a classic band. Sure they started the whole thing but they really weren't that good. Same with the Ramones. Horible lyrics and crappy music. A fucking three year old could play thier songs. Sure, without The Clash and The Ramones there would be no punk."

When this shit is posted, it means punk is dead... I'm not going to argue with this "angry" adolescent (has 20 friends, trendy indie hair, listens to "good" music like Thrice and CoCa, and is late to the high school football game)... He simply isn't worth it. But I'm sure he can play as well as Mick Jones, who was a fucking expert at guitar. Okay. Hahahaha. 3 year olds...

-BSD

Anonymous (October 26, 2003)

I just got the album. Beautiful...that's all I could say. You've hit a grand slam Joe.

Ramo

Anonymous (October 26, 2003)

Were the Clash really that good? Do people actually like them or do they just say they like them because they are a classic band. Sure they started the whole thing but they really weren't that good. Same with the Ramones. Horible lyrics and crappy music. A fucking three year old could play thier songs. Sure, without The Clash and The Ramones there would be no punk.

I really hope this post gets a lot of hate replies.

Anonymous (October 25, 2003)

shit i used one

Anonymous (October 25, 2003)

great album. someone below said it perfect--these songs make you glad to be alive for a few minutes, and they make you sad that the man who made them isn't. also the comment about strummer and rotten was right on. Not to take away the importance of the sex pistols to the development of punk, but if rotten spent his entire life working on album it wouldn't be half as good as streetcore or the majority of music strummer has produced. doesnt mean i ant rotten dead, actually hes pretty entertaing. fuck capital letters.

Anonymous (October 25, 2003)

strummer wasnt that great everyone knows yanni is better than the clash

Anonymous (October 25, 2003)

coma girl! i can listen to that song all day long...

albertfreddyingram (October 24, 2003)

whoa, wait a minute, Album of the year... hello did everyone forget that Blink has a new album comming out this November. I think we should wait until we all hear that CD before handing out this honer.

~Alfred

Anonymous (October 24, 2003)

If you don't understand why The Clash are amazing, I won't be the one to tell you. Also, it probably means you're like 14. In a few years, you'll pull your head all the way out of your ass and you'll understand.

Anonymous (October 24, 2003)

"wait a second. this ain't punk rock. this is boring country music."

That's so fucking true.

I don't know why everyone likes The Clash anyways.

Anonymous (October 24, 2003)

yeah, i think that New Found Glory is punk rawk, i mean who is this Joe Strummer fellow anyways?

Anonymous (October 24, 2003)

wait a second. this ain't punk rock. this is boring country music.
-nfgrawker

Anonymous (October 23, 2003)

i have to disagree with you and say that i am rather happy that the clash called it quits when they did. I personally thought that the last couple albums were not that great and really took away from the earlier ones. I never really liked combat rock or cut the crap(maybe the title said it best) and i think that if they continued it would have just gotten worse. I think with the time between clash and mescaleros gave him the time to grow as a musician and be able to write some really great music and i'm very saddened knowing that this was thier final album.

-moldy

Anonymous (October 23, 2003)

As great as the Clash were, there was always something unfinished about them. Like the championship boxer who retired while he could still win a title fight, it always felt like the last chapter of the Story of the Clash was still to be written.

Well, I think this record is a fitting epilogue. It is not the Clash, nor should it be expected to be. But songs like Coma Girl certainly remind you of Garageland, and both Streets are Burning and Midnight Jam tie in to the days long gone past. Long Shadow, Ramshackle Day Parade and Redemption Song feel like a night at the bar that an old high school hellraiser might have with his buddies around the 20-year reunion.

It's not the greatest record of all-time, probably not even the greatest record of the year, but you can listen to it and feel some closure in the Story of the Clash. It's just too bad that Joe Strummer wasn't still around so you could feel it with him.

Anonymous (October 23, 2003)

""I believe in God, but if ever there was an argument for atheism it is this one simple fact: Joe Strummer lies dead in the ground while Johnny Rotten lives."

just cause joe has passed on doesn't mean there is no God. I don't understand this statement."

The good guys always get shafted while the idiots always get the breaks.

Can't believe that flew over your head.

CallingLondon (October 23, 2003)

"i would buy this and the zebrahead cd, and the barenaked ladies cd today but i am going to the Mars Volta show in philly. woo hoo."

i'm in the middle of downloading the zebrahead cd. so far it's freakin incredible. seriously, zebrahead can still rock it like no other. As for bnl, i can't believe they released another cd. i used to be totally into them in high school. my sister showed me their first album when i was pretty young, and i loved it. Grade 9 rocked. but their music turned to such crap. and in all honesty, they really sold out. pinch me? give me a fucking break. fuck the barenaked ladies. fuck them in their stupid asses. so anyway, now i have 3 cds to buy. zebrahead, joe strummer, and an elliott smith cd. asshole went and died on us. (joke, please don't take seriously)

Anonymous (October 23, 2003)

"I believe in God, but if ever there was an argument for atheism it is this one simple fact: Joe Strummer lies dead in the ground while Johnny Rotten lives."

just cause joe has passed on doesn't mean there is no God. I don't understand this statement.

Anonymous (October 22, 2003)

"I'm just illustrating that by all accounts he's a "rotten" human being while Strummer was loved by all and continued to be prolific till the day he died."

Well the Clash had their asshole moments... They were acting rock star right from the beggining, not to say that's how Joe Strummer acted later in life.

-BSD

Anonymous (October 22, 2003)

The only thing missing from this near perfect piece of art is a supporting tour.

Anonymous (October 22, 2003)

"hmm, in the review u say something is the emotional core of the cd. is this cd 'emocore'? i hope so, but i'm sick of these new bands ripping off taking back sunday"

sorry dude, but joe strummer totally rips off taking back sunday on this one. you should save your money for something at least original, like the matchbook romance

-duped

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

i just listened to 'redemption song' at the epitaph site..

there are some songs that when you listen to them, they make you happy to be alive for those few short minutes.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

i've got nothing but respect for joe strummer and what he did for music, but i just can't get into this stuff...

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

I liked Global A Go Go better, but this is one of the top five of 2003 for me.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

hmm, in the review u say something is the emotional core of the cd. is this cd 'emocore'? i hope so, but i'm sick of these new bands ripping off taking back sunday

cdogg (October 21, 2003)

I believe in God, but if ever there was an argument for atheism it is this one simple fact: Joe Strummer lies dead in the ground while Johnny Rotten lives. Thanks for the music Joe- C.D.

P.S.- No, I don't hate Johnny Rotten or want him dead, and yes the Sex Pistols and PIL put out some good music. I'm just illustrating that by all accounts he's a "rotten" human being while Strummer was loved by all and continued to be prolific till the day he died. End communication

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

I was gonna say that this album was "amazing" but everyone else already did.

I want a Telecaster now...

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

5 star album. This is some of Strummer's best work EVER.

This gets my vote as album of the year. Hands down.

ElVaquero (October 21, 2003)

rolling stone gave this 3 stars. they also gave limp bizkit 3 stars. they gave the distillers 4 stars. death to rolling stone.

KirbyPuckett (October 21, 2003)

Oh yeah, this CD rules.

- Scott
http://www.local-felons.com/
(Only $4.21)

MikeRiot (October 21, 2003)

thank god for Joe, the greatest man who ever lived.

BSD (October 21, 2003)

Words can't describe how good this is...

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

a great album indeed.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

i would buy this and the zebrahead cd, and the barenaked ladies cd today but i am going to the Mars Volta show in philly. woo hoo.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

May his music and his soul rest in peace.

skankin_in_the_pit (October 21, 2003)

The first thing I do after I get paid is go get this. Great review!

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

Classic, this man was a genious, to the comment below, open your ears-oldpunker

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

Ive never heard anythign so boring and annoying, this shit sucks

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

*beat*

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

Streetcore would be the living shit out of Sasscore or Fashioncore anyday of the fucking week.

-sickboi

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

I just wanted to be the first person to not give this a rating of 10.

Even though this IS damn good.

TahoeJeff (October 21, 2003)

This is a beautiful album...Get Down Moses rocks my face off

skajester (October 21, 2003)

Ugh... I just bought three cds.

I completely forgot this was coming out today. It's not like I had to pay on my student loan...

TheOneTrueBill (October 21, 2003)

So... who wants to buy me this?

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

the new ninja turtles game sold out.
they are not cool anymore.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

i'm looking forward to this. but the review does little good since i knew i was going to buy it anyway. maybe someone could review the new ninja turtles game that's coming out, since i'm not sure if i should buy that.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

that's the first thing i'm gonna buy on tuesday.

Ramo
(second would be my metrocard)

Fuzzy (October 21, 2003)

Ten. A great ending to a great career. But you're right Adam, it stands up on it's own, without the hero worship. What it really shows is that Strummer had so much more in him, and that even at the age of 50, he was cut down in the prime of his life.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

Yeah this album is seriously good. I had trouble getting into a lot of what Ive heard on the first couple of albums due to the number of different things going on, but this is awesome. Redemption Song is the best cover Ive heard in a LONG time. Joe will be missed.

ElVaquero (October 20, 2003)

just fucking beautiful.

Ted_The_Bellhop (October 20, 2003)

They say through music you can live forever

RIP Joe Strummer

Anonymous (October 20, 2003)

Great record! I hope that the label will promote this properly..
they shit the bed on the last two!

maverick (October 20, 2003)

An amazing, amazing record. It really sucks to know that this will be the last recorded output we'll ever see from the late Mr. Strummer, but this record is certainly hell of a way to go out.

RIP, Joe.

-Scott

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