Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Last night I bought a copy of The 101ers' Elgin Avenue Breakdown Revisited. The 101ers was Joe Strummer's pub rock band that pre-dated The Clash. He called himself Woody in the early days of the group, which was named after the address of the squat that its members shared on Walterton Road in London. I loved the group's Keys To Your Heart single, which I've had for years on a vinyl Chiswick Records compilation from the '70s. The song was written in honour of Joe's girlfriend at the time, Palmolive. I had always wanted to hear more of the 101ers ever since. Now I finally have.
The album has 20 songs, including six previously unreleased tracks and three previously unreleased versions. I don't think that any of them have been available on CD before. Dr. Feelgood was the biggest influence on the band, and the material rocks. But Joe didn't fully discover punk until the Sex Pistols opened for the 101ers one night. He immediately left the band and formed The Clash.
Clash fans will recognize elements of Jail Guitar Doors in Lonely Mother's Son, and there's also a version of Junco Partner here. There are 12 studio tracks and eight live songs, including covers of Slim Harpo's Shake Your Hips, Bo Diddley's Don't Let It Go, the Rolling Stones' Out Of Time, Chuck Berry's Maybelline and Van Morrison's Gloria. The liner notes are also informative and include some of Joe's actual typewritten lyrics for some of the songs.
I'm surprised that EMI released this, but glad that it did. This will likely be a top 10 album for me this year.
Steve McLean
np Black 47 - Elvis Murphy's Green Suede Shoes

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