The Clash’s Joe Strummer chronicles the violence, racism and institutional corruption of 1980s England on his ragged demo for “This Is England,” set to appear on the late guitarist’s upcoming posthumous box set Joe Strummer 001.
Three Clash members – Strummer, bassist Paul Simonon and drummer Pete Howard – appear on the 1983 recording, dubbed “Czechoslovak Song / Where Is England,” which offers a more organic, energetic approach to the song later reworked for their sixth and final LP, 1985’s Cut the Crap.
Throughout, Strummer howls in-progress lyrics – “In a catwalk jungle, no one to give alarm/ Catwalk jungle, somebody grabbed my arm” – over Simonon and Howard’s reggae-punk groove, with none of the polished synthesizers, drum machines or chanted vocals from the finished version.
Joe Strummer 001, out September 28th, includes material Strummer recorded outside of the Clash – including solo tracks, material with the 101ers and Mescaleros and his first post-Clash recordings with former bandmate Mick Jones. The compilation also features the recently issued (and previously unheard) “Rose of Erin,” which Strummer wrote for the 1993 Sara Driver film, When Pigs Fly.
The package is also available as limited edition deluxe CD, vinyl and digital download. The book accompanying the box set and deluxe CD includes “rarely seen and previously unpublished memorabilia from Joe’s personal collection as well as historical press reviews and technical notes about the albums.”