Who doesn’t miss Joe Strummer? The way the world has been going, we could certainly use him now. These times were made for the likes of Joe, calling out oppressive governments, corporate greed, and systemic racism, all the while inspiring people towards progressive change. Although Joe passed in 2002, his musical legacy has been given a boost with Assembly, a collection of Strummer’s solo cuts, from Dark Horse Records.
From the opening song, “Coma Girl”, Stummer’s familiar plaintive wail brings the music forward into these times, as if he never left. Track by track, one is reminded of the diversity of his art, how he could shine a light on his influences, and use them to create new and poignant work, at the same time.
Featuring highlights from his solo career, this collection also dips into his days with The Clash, with the inclusion of wonderful, previously unreleased versions of “Rudie Can’t Fail”, the cover “I Fought The Law”, and a starkly beautiful home recording of “Junco Partner”. Equally riveting are the tracks which feature his collaborations with The Mescaleros, and with Latino Rockabilly War, showcasing the artist’s many stylistic facets. The variety and beauty of the sounds and the songs in this collection are stunning.
As complex as the man himself, Assembly takes us on an incredible road trip which sees the artist genre-jumping with ease between rock ‘n’ roll, punk, folk/roots, latin, reggae, world music…. the list goes on. But that was Joe Strummer: music lover, citizen of the world.
This is an album for everyone: old punks, new punks, millennials, Gen-Xers, Boomers – everyone! Whether the purpose is to hear the soothing voice of an old friend, to reignite musical and social passion, or to walk through the gateway into Strummer’s body of work, all will find something to love here.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: JOE STRUMMER – ASSEMBLY