Rick Galusha's Pacific St. Blues and Americana

Since inception (1989), Pacific St. Blues & Americana strives to be a discerning voice helping roots fans sift through the mountains of music released every year. We are not for everyone; we want to engage active, critical listeners that hear beyond d'jour. Interviews include: Johnny Winter, Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones), Jerry Wexler, Tommy Shannon & Chris Layton, B.B. King, Dr. John, Robin Trower, Robben Ford, Mato Nanji, Joe Bonamassa, Harry Manx, Sue Foley, Marshall Chess, Billy Lee Riley, Charlie Louvin, Kim Richey, Radney Foster, Eric Johnson, David Clayton Thomas, Al Kooper, Phil Chen (Wired, Blow By Blow), Ian McLagan, Art Neville, Southside Johnny, Miami Steve Van Zant, Nils Lofgren, Bruce Iglauer, Charlie Musselwhite, Studebaker John, Chris Duarte, Smokin' Joe Kubeck, Hamilton Loomis, Peter Karp, Roomful of Blues, James Harman, Hadden Sayers, Malford Milligan, Melvin Taylor, Otis Taylor, Dave Alvin, Coco Montoya, Jimmy Thackery, Marsha Ball, Maria Muldaur, Shelby Lynne, Magic Dick & J. Geils, Lil' Milton, BuddyGuy, Aynsley Lister, Matt Schofield, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Guy Clark, Joe Ely, James Cotton, Robin & Jesse Davey, Hugh Coltman (Hoax), Sean Kelly (Samples), John Entwistle (The Who), Mark Olson (Jayhawks), Walter Wolfman Washington, Anthony Gomes, Bob Malone, Chubby Carrier, Buckwheat Zydeco, Murali Coryell, David Jacob Strain, DeAnna Bogart, Michael Lee Firkins, Guy Davis, Jason Ricci, John Doe, Little Feat, Matt Woods, MikeZito, Peter Buffett, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Corky Siegel, Todd Park Mohr, Watermelon Slim, Magic Slim, Corey Harris,- - - - - - ------------------------Radio archives: http://www.kiwrblues.podomatic.com/. Playlists: http://www.omahablues.com/ Reviews featured in http://www.blueswax.com/. Email: KIWRblues@gmail.com Live online; Sundays 9 a.m. (-6 GMT) http://www.897theriver.com/

Sunday, March 30, 2008

101ers Thursday, August 18, 2005

Artist: The 101ers (Joe Strummer’s pre-Clash band)
Title: Elgin Avenue Breakdown (Revisited)
Rating: Niche / Good (interesting)

Lou Reed wrote it but Joe Strummer had a Rock n’ Roll heart. In the mid ‘70’s After a decade of “artrock” and the dirth of “corporate rock” on America’s FM radio stations, The Sex Pistols kicked open the doors of pop consciousness with an aggressive sound that was basic, fast, and anti-establishment. While the Pistols soon disintegrated, as the leader of one of rock’s great garage bands (The Clash), Strummer & band took England’s “punk” rock movement to the next level and released one of rock’s “great” albums, ‘London Calling.’ Strummer actually joined a band that already consisted of the three other members of what would become The Clash; Mick Jones, Topper Headon & Paul Simonon.

In the film, “Punk: Attitude” Pretenders leader, and now Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame member, Chrissie Hynde documents being a pre-Strummer member of the band that would become The Clash. I can’t remember where I read it but it pretty much summed up the band’s conclusion, “when they turned their Tommy guns on themselves” with Strummer driving Jones out of the band and killing the thing that made the band unique. Before The Clash Strummer was in a band called, The 101ers. The 101ers were a high energy pub-band that survived by covering rock nuggets. Recently the Astralwerks Record label reissued an extended version of the 101ers album, Elgin Avenue Breakdown (Revisited). According to the liner notes, on April 3, 1975 the original Sex Pistols (pre-Sid Vicious) opened for the 101ers and Strummer saw the future. This would lead to the breakup of the 101ers and the form The Clash.

This new version of Elgin Avenue Breakdown (Revisited) captures the band’s studio recordings and a handful of live recordings including Slim Harpo’s (ala Exile on Main Street) “Shake Your Hips”, the Rolling Stones’, “Out of Time” and “Lonely Mother’s Son” which would resurface on the seriously rock-worthy self-titled Clash album as “Jail Guitar Doors.” This new version of Elgin Avenue Breakdown captures an excellent local band thrashing about with furious energy and heart felt enthusiasm: it’s everything “rock n’ roll” should be and sadly rarely is. However, this recording does not begin to approach the landmark recordings of The Clash. However, as a snapshot of where the roots of punk rock came from, this album contains excellent historical perspective that rock musicologist or craving Clash fans will surely enjoy. Since Joe Strummer is no longer with us The Clash will never reform and there’s a sadness in that. Modern pop culture has yet to acknowledge Strummer’s contribution: as determined by other’s successfully covering the music of The Clash. “They” did play Omaha in the mid-80’s (by which time Mick Jones had been evicted from the band).

I vaguely recall being told a story that someone in The Firm, reportedly Gary Foster (arguably Omaha’s finest drummer) had written a snide remark about The Clash in the men’s latrine at the original Howard Street Tavern. According to the tale a member of The Clash stumbled onto the rude graffiti and commented on it from the stage during their show. Oh wonder!

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