After the Clash, Saint Joe Strummer (to borrow the beatification endowed by The Hold Steady) spent some years in the wilderness. His first full solo album, 1989’s Earthquake Weather, didn’t sell well despite being a fine (if undersung) work. It was 10 more years of searching before he struck it right with the Mescaleros. The years from 1999 to his death in 2002 were intensely creative, resulting in three stellar studio albums and posthumous Streetcore.
Following the greatest-hits set Joe Strummer 001, 002 collects the Mescaleros albums in remastered form on vinyl and CD, with 15 unreleased tracks spanning the first demos Strummer wrote for the band, and outtakes of several final recordings. There’s a live “London Is Burning,” plus sizzling outtakes of “Coma Girl” and “Get Down Moses,” as well as “Ocean Of Dreams” featuring Sex Pistols’ guitarist Steve Jones.
The songs range from rockabilly to punk to a dance/hip hop vibe, similar to Jones’ Big Audio Dynamite, yet with more bite, and Strummer rages throughout. His Telecaster work – along with Mescaleros Antony Glenn and Scott Shields – roars with a vision as stark and political as his Clash music.
This article originally appeared in VG’s December 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.