Super Black Market Clash
An expanded version of 1980’s Black Market Clash, Super Black Market Clash collects the b-sides released by the group during their tenure. It’s one of their stronger releases and to recommend it above most of their studio albums; the first half features excellent songs omitted from their first two records, while the second half documents their exploration of reggae and dub. The material on the first half is generally less serious than their studio albums, and some of the later B-sides resort to dance mixes of their A-sides, but it’s an enjoyable compilation.
Their first B-side, ‘1977’, is arguably their most iconic; “no Elvis, Beatles or the Rolling Stones in 1977” Strummer sneers. It’s a measure of their productivity at this time that they were able to relegate it to b-side status. Similarly significant, ‘Capital Radio’ was their response to a lack of radio play (Strummer spray-painted the lobby of a station), originally coming out in New Musical Express as a promo singles in extremely limited numbers. The version on Super Black Market Clash, ‘Capital Radio Two’ was recorded in 1979 after the original was being sold for 40 pounds. The nine minute ‘Justice Tonight/Kick It Over’, is one of the group’s best recordings, and their most convincing exploration of dub. ‘Radio Clash’ is the b-side of ‘This Is Radio Clash’; it was originally intended as one song, but was cut into two halves after it was discovered that it was too long to fit on a single.
Black Market Clash is an interesting alternative career overview for The Clash, and it’s more consistent than most of their studio albums.