The late Joe Strummer, the heart and soul of iconic British punk band the Clash, will be celebrated with the release of Joe Strummer 001, a collection of his work culled from post-Clash releases, his three records with the Mescaleros and an album’s worth of previously unreleased recordings found in his backyard shed. The collection will be issued by Ignition records Sept. 28.
Overseen by Strummer’s wife Lucinda and Robert Gordon McHarg III (who put together Columbia Records’ exhaustive 2013 Clash box set Sound System alongside Clash bassist Paul Simonon), the collection features songs recorded for movie soundtracks (Permanent Vacation, Love Kills), versions of songs from the three albums he made with his band the Mescaleros and a number of demos recorded on cassettes and multitrack tapes.
Among the 20,000 items in the Joe Strummer Archives are an early demo version of “This Is England” from the last Clash album, Cut The Crap (“Czechoslovak Song/Where Is England”); a 1975 demo of “Letsagetabitarockin” from his pre-Clash band, the 101’ers; and such unreleased tracks as “Rose Of Erin,” “The Cool Impossible” and a version of the Mescaleros song, “London Is Burning.” There are also two songs from 1985 (“Crying On 23rd,” “2 Bullets”) featuring guitarist/Clash foil Mick Jones, the first recordings they had made together since 1982’s Combat Rock.
When going through the cassette recordings, restoration/mastering engineer Peter J. Moore discovered that Strummer would “hide” songs on the tapes, sometimes leaving 20 minutes of silence between songs. In addition, Moore had to restore recordings that sounded like two songs playing at once but were actually tracks bleeding through due to the condition of the source tapes.
The packaging for the release is pretty comprehensive. The cover art for Joe Strummer 001 features Strummer’s 1990 photo from his California driver’s license. The collection will be available across several formats both digital and physical, with deluxe editions including rare and previously unpublished ephemera from Strummer’s personal collection, handwritten lyrics, along with historical and technical annotations about the recordings. The deluxe box set includes four heavyweight vinyl albums, a seven-inch vinyl single, cassette, book, enamel badge, art print, screen print, lyrics and sticker sheet.
Preorders for this ambitious collection are available here. Check out the early version of “London Is Burning” below.