Dylan gave unused song to Strummer?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Koabac, Apr 19, 2015.

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  1. Koabac

    Koabac Self-Titled Thread Starter

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I am reading a book called "Route 19 Revisited: The Clash and London Calling" about the making of the album and its legacy. Towards the end of the book it's talking about the influence "London Calling" had on other contemporary artists, like Springsteen, who said "The River" was influenced as a 20 song, back-to-rock album, etc.

    Dylan asked Paul Simonon to play on "Down In The Groove" (on "Sally Sue Brown" and others not included from a March 27, 1987 session at Sunset Sound, Hollywood:

    (from bjorner)
    Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar), Steve Jones(guitar), Kevin Savigar(keyboards), Paul Simonon(bass), Myron Grombacher(drums).
    1. Sally Sue Brown (Arthur Alexander/Earl Montgomery/Tom Stafford)
    2. Wood In Steel (?)
    3. Heaven (?)
    4. Shake Your Money (?)
    5. Chain Gang (Sam Cooke)
    6. If You Need Me (Robert Bateman/Wilson Pickett/Sonny Sanders)

    It also says that Dylan gave Joe Strummer a song for "Earthquake Weather," an album that was recorded between November 1988-February 1989, but he ended up not using it. I had not heard anything about this before. Does anyone know which song Dylan gave Strummer or why he didn't use it?

    Dylan was starting to get back into some good writing by then (1988), around the "Oh Mercy" time, so it's strange that Joe Strummer would reject a Dylan song out of hand when he still was covering the likes of "Ride Your Donkey" for "Earthquake." Curious.
     
  2. extravaganza

    extravaganza Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, CA USA
    The impression I got from Chris Salewicz in "Redemption Song" was that Strummer's decision not to seriously even listen to the song was based on depression fueled apathy and the whole thing being too much to bother with. (That's only the author's conjecture though ...)
     
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  3. Koabac

    Koabac Self-Titled Thread Starter

    Location:
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    I need to reread "Redemption Song." It's been a while. It didn't mention which song it was though, huh?
     
  4. extravaganza

    extravaganza Forum Resident

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    San Diego, CA USA
    I am pretty sure it didn't ... I would have remembered this.
     
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  5. extravaganza

    extravaganza Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, CA USA
    On a similar note, in Chronicles Dylan writes about Mick Jones health problems and mentions that he considered asking him to join his touring band as lead guitarist around this same time. Obviously this never went anywhere (even though I am a huge fan of both men I can't see this working.)
     
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  6. Koabac

    Koabac Self-Titled Thread Starter

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Yeah, well the timing works out because Mick was sick in the summer of 1988 during this period Dylan apparently became interested in working with the Clash. Interesting.

    So, it appears in 1987-1988 Dylan reached out to Mick, Joe and Paul professionally - all to no avail apart from "Sally Sue Brown." I agree that Mick Jones and Dylan don't quite seem like a match made in Heaven, but a little collaboration during this lean period for ALL of them could have sparked something potentially interesting. There definitely could have been something interesting in Dylan and Strummer together - or even Dylan writing words for Mick Jones to put to music, like he used to do with Strummer.

    Off topic, but it drives me nuts that Strummer and Jones wrote an album worth of songs between 1986-2001 that are just sitting there.
     
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  7. TeddyB

    TeddyB Senior Member

    Location:
    Hollywoodland
    Dylan actually broached the subject of Mick Jones joining his band on guitar in about 2003, whenever it was that Charlie Sexton left and Freddie Koella joined Bob for a short period. Mick wasn't available to jump in for the immediate tour of Australia, and afterwards they both decided pretty much the same thing suggested here, that it wouldn't really quite work, though each took it seriously. As for Dylan offering Joe a song, I never heard that story outside of Chris's book. My late manager, Gerry Harrington, was managing Joe during the period he recorded Earthquake Weather, and he was fairly close with Bob as Jesse Dylan was one of his best friends. But if Chris printed it, then he heard it from Joe.

    As for Koabac's comment about there being an album's worth of Strummer/Jones songs, that's true at the very least. There are five or six that BAD recorded or demoed in the period after 10 Upping Street, some of which were written for films. These were mooted for release a couple of years ago when BAD reunited, and was considering reworking a dozen unreleased songs that were written back in the eighties. On top of that, it is also true Joe and Mick wrote eight or ten songs at the time Joe was recording Global A Go-Go. As infamously quoted by Chris, Joe told Mick that he was saving them for the "next Clash album." For obvious reasons, that never happened.
     
  8. Koabac

    Koabac Self-Titled Thread Starter

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Hey, TeddyB! Dylan gives songs to people once in a while, like "Mississippi" to Sheryl Crow, the way Costello gives songs to people and even Strummer gave "Road To Rock and Roll" to Johnny Cash, who rejected it (he also rejected a Costello song). I imagine whatever song it was, Dylan may have gone ahead and recorded it himself between 1987-1989 and maybe even released it on one of his albums. There are some diehard Dylan researchers around here, who I'll bet could unravel the mystery. I'm looking at you @DeeThomaz - or your avatar, at least.

    Btw, TB, I forgot to ask you (or forgot that I already asked you) - have you had the opportunity to hear any of these unreleased Strummer/Jones songs? Not to tease the Clash fans among us, but, if so - are they good? Are they what one would hope they would be (i.e. "good")?
     
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  9. extravaganza

    extravaganza Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, CA USA
    Even after all of these years, there is still something that really hurts in me when I think about how The Clash finished up. It isn't just the fact that there was a messy breakup (plenty of those out there) but just that such greatness was squandered so quickly. It still breaks my heart.

    I read "Redemption Song" fairly recently and one image stays with me the most. Strummer and Simonon came over to visit Jones in the 90s to talk about a future going forward. Everything was cordial but Jones spent the night getting massively stoned and then the evening sort of petered out and nothing came of it. I think that sort of sums up the way things were for that band at the end (and beyond).

    Mick Jones frustrates me just as much as Strummer. I think BAD was vastly underrated and were way more groundbreaking than they get credit for. That said, I still feel Jones never really approached his potential. Maybe he really did need his artistic foil in Strummer to spark off his creativity ... Strummer was incredibly musical (which many including Strummer himself minimize when talking about the Strummer/Jones team). Jones has said that the melodies basically were embedded within the lyrics Joe would give him and I definitely believe this. Those guys were such a great team when they were in synch.
     
  10. Koabac

    Koabac Self-Titled Thread Starter

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    This is true. Under all that muck, the 23 or so songs Joe wrote between 1983-1985 are actually pretty good. These include the 1983 demos, the CtC songs and outtakes, as well as "Shouting Street," which was presented to the Clash in a slightly different form than the "Earthquake" version AND the first, original version of BAD'S "The Bottom Line," which was the so-called last Strummer/Jones Clash song before Mick changed the title and lyrics to what we now know as the song.

    Bernie really needs to do a deluxe reissue of "CtC" with a stripped down version (minus the synth overdubs and hooligan chanting), the November 1983 demos presented in better fidelity plus a bunch of high quality live performances from the Clash mk2. I think people would see this era in a more favorable light if presented correctly.

    Then they need to do the same thing to "Earthquake Weather." :p
     
  11. TeddyB

    TeddyB Senior Member

    Location:
    Hollywoodland
    I have heard the recordings they made in '86 and '87. They are good. It's interesting to hear Mick singing lyrics that seem to be mainly Joe's, and from that particular period. There's even one about a "Respray Black Sedan". There are also some very good unreleased Jones/Letts songs from the period, like "Rob Peter Pay Paul", which was a feature on the BAD reunion tour in 2011. I have not heard anything from the 2002 writing sessions. Mick is very circumspect.

    As for Clash MK II, I think Paul is now an impediment to any reworkings or even significant re releases. The recordings are owned by the Clash corporation, which consists of Lucinda and the three surviving members. It was Paul who decided that CTC should not be included in the Sound System box set. He may feel differently about a separate release, as his reasoning there was it was two different groups. But he's really gone off the whole selling Joe as nostalgia trip. Their relationship with Bernie seems civil so I don't think that's the main sticking point. I don't know exactly how Mick would feel about it, but I doubt he'd be thrilled.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  12. Koabac

    Koabac Self-Titled Thread Starter

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I know things get all political and emotional in the Clash camp. It's too bad, though. I can understand not including CTC material in Sound System and also feeling like Clash MK2 was a different band, so why not treat it that way? It was a band Paul was in, through his own choices, as well as Joe. I think a separate release really IS the way to go - and it's not about nostalgia - it's about art, history and rehabilitation.

    There's gotta be, at least, 25 Joe Strummer originals from the 1983-1985 period - some that made the official album, some that didn't,the November 1983 demos, some only played live, many, like "Jericho/Ammunition," that are some of my favorite all-time Strummer compositions that have never been officially released. Who knows what else is in the vaults?

    The public perception is that zombie-Strummer lost his mind, couldn't deliver a decent tune without Mick and the whole Clash MK2 period was a creative wasteland, when that's not the case. Strummer wrote some great songs in this period - better than many of the songs ("songs" being defined as chords, lyrics and melody, here) on CR and Sandinista, imo. Nostalgia is selling us yet another repackaging of the same singles over and over again. This would be more anthology, more archeology, a LOT of remixing - all while wading through pools of Vince White's tears (I didn't say it wouldn't be difficult or messy).

    People have made movies, documentaries, written books about this "end of the Clash" period and endlessly debate how CTC could be SO bad that it almost destroys their legacy and has been written out of the Clash history books. There is clearly great INTEREST in this era and music. A deluxe reissue with all the awful overdubs removed and remixed, along with a disc of cleaned up Nov. 83 demos (like the "Vanilla Tapes"), plus various live versions of the Clash MK2 bringing those songs to life on stage, some unknown stuff from the vaults and, sure, throw in the original album for a laugh, and I think people would flock to it and there would be a critical reappraisal of the SONGS, of STRUMMER, and the Clash would finally end with more of a BOOM than the whimper that's been stuck in the public's perception for 30 years.

    Now what WAS that song Dylan gave to Strummer...?
     
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  13. TeddyB

    TeddyB Senior Member

    Location:
    Hollywoodland
    Well, there would be a few people interested, mainly from IMCT. Even if Sony decided to gamble their money on the project (they would have the rights to the demos as well), I have no idea who would creatively undertake such a venture. Bernie won't admit there were mistakes made. Paul isn't interested or up to the task ( I shouldn't have used "nostalgia" as shorthand -- he's just a forward thinking sort of guy). I don't know who Luce would entrust it to musically. Nick Sheppard? Not the guys from the Mescaleros. Obviously Mick would stay on the sidelines. With Joe not being around to oversee the work, I can't see any possible way the album itself would be stripped down and overdubbed. As for live recordings, as you know these already exist and some were leaked. It's an interesting fantasy for that period to undergo a Dylan bootleg-series sort of re-evaluation, but it's not really practical.
     
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  14. stanlove

    stanlove Forum Resident


    ..
     
  15. Koabac

    Koabac Self-Titled Thread Starter

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Touche?
     
  16. BrianW

    BrianW New Member

    I think any CTC reissue would be great both artistically and financially for the clash. I enjoyed the album when it came out even though the production stunk and the live shows supporting the new material and group were great. Let's hope something happens. Also any release of "lost" material would be super.
     
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