There seem to be many parallels between today and the late seventies. A time of economic depression, a working class trodden down by the conscienceless political rulers and moneyed elite, ethnic tensions simmering, a generation of young people with no future prospects ready to lash out a wave of destruction in the form of riots in protest at the injustices of the world they find themselves in. And the development of a new musical form which encapsulates the passion, the anger and the political stance of the youth. OK, perhaps the similarities end there, as plastic Cowell pop seems to be the hallmark and legacy of this generation, but thirty years ago the social situation gave rise to just such a musical form, Punk. And the prime exponents were the Clash.
This album is a slightly odd entry in the band's oeuvre. Originally released as `Black Market Clash' in 1980, just before the Sandinistas! album, it was a 9 track collection of singles and B sides released in the previous few years. It was updated to a 21 track album and rereleased in 1993 as `Super Balck Market Clash'. Not an album in the traditional sense it lacks some of the coherence and vision of, say, `Combat Rock' or `London Calling'. It is however a fascinating document of the band through their existence, showing their musical versatility and willingness to experiment. Remixes of better known tracks largely work well, especially Mustapha Dance, a remix of Rock The Casbah. The stand out for me is the cover of Booker T's `Time is Tight', which lays down a great groove.
Perhaps not the best place for a new fan to start (London Calling or their eponymous debut would be better), but an essential addition to round out any fan's Clash collection.