35 Years Ago: The Clash Compile Their Stray Tracks on ‘Black Market Clash’
Like many U.K. bands, the Clash had plenty of singles and stray tracks that never found their way onto albums overseas. But in October 1980, they brought them all together for a 10" EP, which they called Black Market Clash, and released it only in the U.S. and Canada.
These songs span the then-three-year history of the Clash. The earliest songs include "Capital Radio One," which appeared on the 1977 U.K.-only EP, Capital Radio, "Cheat," a song that was left off the American release of the band's debut album, and "City of the Dead," which was the b-side to the "Complete Control" single that same fateful year.
The band tackle a cover of Toots & the Maytals' "Pressure Drop" on the b-side of the 1979 single "English Civil War." Another cover, Booker T & the MG's classic "Time Is Tight," shows up here without fanfare, but showing the guys having fun running through an old favorite.
"Bankrobber" dates from the sessions that produced the massive Sandinista triple-LP that would soon be released. Co-written by reggae legend Mikey Dread, it just missed the Top 10 in the U.K.. A dub version was left off the original single, but made it's first appearance on Black Market Clash. Another jolt of reggae came in the form of "Armagideon Time," originally recorded by Willi Williams in 1977.
Black Market Clash was a unique snapshot of a band in motion, rising from the success of their groundbreaking first two records and London Calling. They would soon go on their way to larger commercial success with Combat Rock, experimenting with different styles all the while.
Although 10" EPs had never sold particularly well in the U.S., Epic Records gave it a go in beginning in 1979, issuing records by such names as Cheap Trick, Rick Nelson and Gary Glitter as "Nu-Disks." But the project was quickly abandoned. However, when it came time to issue Black Market Clash on CD in 1993, they expanded it to 21 tracks, calling it Super Black Market Clash. In 2011,the original EP was reissued as part of Record Store Day.
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