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Wednesday, 9 July 2014

What Are We Gonna Do Now?

I found this on a music magazine freebie cd recently while looking for something else and thought I'd post it although I know some of you aren't too fussed about The Clash.

Clampdown must be a contender for 'best Clash song that wasn't a single'. It shows off each member's individual talent and the strength of the band. Joe's opening couplet about racial stereotyping and the rise of the far right is stunning...

'Taking off his turban they said 'Is this man a Jew?'
They put up the posters that say 'We earn more than you'

And the rest of the words live up to it, three minutes of righteous anger about right wing attitudes, the dignity (or lack of) of work, workplace bullies, the effect getting older has on the firebrand politics of youth...

'You grow up and you calm down
You start wearing blue and brown'

Every line is echoed by the call and response backing vocals 'Working for the clampdown' and then Joe's conclusion that 'anger can be power'. References in the fade out to Harrisburg, dictators getting their dues, and Three Mile Island. A protest song then.

The music is similarly striking- powerful opening riff, Paul's descending bassline, Topper's bang-on-the-beat drumming, the stop-start dynamics. This is a live version from Lewisham Odeon. Much of this gig seems to have bene recorded and surfaced on bootlegs. It would have made a better full gig live document than the Shea Stadium live album which got an official release a few years ago, which didn't even have Topper drumming.

Clampdown (Live from the Lewisham Odeon)


Scott said...

For some reason I always thought it was a single. Easily one of the best Clash songs, single or no single.

Echorich said...

Agreed SA - greatest Clash song that wasn't a single and one that got as much airplay as the singles back in the day. I'd go as far as to say it's one of their 5 most important moments.