Friday, January 25, 2013

Your Friday Clash Song: Everybody Wants What The Next Guy’s Got …

“One Emotion,” recorded during the Give ’Em Enough Rope (1978) sessions but not included on that LP. Instead, it was released for the first time on the box set, Clash On Broadway (1991).
There’s no real subtext here. It’s standard fare for the Clash, lamenting the state of the world in the mid to late ’70s, at the dawn of the Margaret Thatcher era in the UK:
One emotion – moving out loud

Better get your weapon ready walking through the crowd

One emotion – crack of a shot

Everybody wants what the next guy’s got …
This is the theme of most punk rock from that period: Forget about Orwell and Huxley; the dystopia is now I suppose might still be applicable.
I chose it, though, for a different reason. It’s not a song most Clash fans would recognize (unless you happen to own Clash On Broadway) because it wasn’t released when it was recorded. In fact, the Clash wrote and recorded a lot of songs that never made it on to records when the band was still together. They were remarkably prolific, when you consider that they were actually together as a band recording music only for about five years – from the UK version of The Clash in 1977 to Combat Rock in 1982. (The purist in me can’t acknowledge the Mick Jones-less Cut The Crap (1985) as an actual Clash record; perhaps that’ll be the subject of a future Friday post ….)
The point is, everything released thereafter was either a compilation of already-recorded material, or a live recording released after the band’s demise.
And yet, during that five-year period the real Clash – the Strummer/Jones Clash – recorded an incredible amount of music. Not all of it was equally successful. The surviving recording of “One Emotion” is pretty rough; I imagine it would have gotten a fair amount of polish in the studio if it had made it onto Give ’Em Enough Rope or a subsequent LP during the band’s tenure. It’s a pretty decent song just the same, and yet it wasn’t good enough to make it onto any of the five full-length albums or three EPs the band recorded from 1977 to 1982.
To me, that demonstrates just how good each of those records is.
Anyway, there you go. From the rarities file: “One Emotion.”
Turn. It. Up.


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