Black Market Clash

The big 10 inch reviewed in the NME, 15 November, 1980.

The Clash
Black Market Clash
(Epic Nu-Disk Import)

A ten-inch budget-price collection for and from America: approximately 35 minutes worth of Clash oddments from the UK version of the first album, assorted B-sides and the outtakes file.
So you get ‘Capital Radio One’ (the NME freebie version, not the ‘Cost Of Living’ remake), ‘The Prisoner’ (B-side of ‘Hammersmith Palais), a remixed ‘Pressure Drop’ (B-side of ‘English Civil War’), ‘Cheat’ (one of four tracks from the first album that got lost between Shepherds Bush and Manhattan), ‘City Of The Dead’ (B-side of ‘Complete Control’), Booker T’s ‘Time Is Tight’ (previously unreleased) and a full side of ‘Bank Robber’, ‘Armagideon Time’ and their respective dubs.
Apart from ‘Capital Radio’ in its disgustingly rare form and the rather undistinguished Booker T cover, there’s nothing here for people who’ve been buying Clash singles as they come out.
Still, as a tidy-up budget package for American Clash fans who haven’t been able to dazzle their friends with the British import singles, ‘Black Market Clash’ more than serves its purpose (at four bucks a throw). At the £3.15 currently being charged at the Virgin Megastore, it may not seem such a prize for Brit consumers (excluding – mea culpa! – the more virulent breed of Clashbore).
The second side – The Clash in their reggae bag (sic) – probably repays the most listening. I still wince at the lyrics of ‘Bank Robber’ (not all villains are heroes) but as far as ‘white reggae’ goes, The Clash play Jah Music in a way that transcends the whole excruciating can-blue-men-play-the-whites dilemma.
The Clash get the sharp end of an awful lot of different sticks: they’re a thoroughly reactionary rock and roll boys-together fantasy, they sell fake politics, they blanded out for the States, they sold out punk blah blah blah. Well, shove all that. I trust Strummer’s instinct for knowing when to have the courage to change and when to have the courage to stand firm, and hearing ‘Black Market Clash’ makes me want some new Clashmusic.
The Clash are not dead, and we want some proof. Where’s the blues?

Charles Shaar Murray

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