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Music Video: The Clash Perform “Charlie Don’t Surf”

by on Friday, April 27, 2012 at 10:51 pm EDT in Arts & Entertainment, Music

Here’s a video of an amazing Clash song, “Charlie Don’t Surf,” from the Sandinista album.

The footage of the video was apparently pulled from a 1982 live performance in Tokyo, Japan, laced w/ scenes from Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, which had been the inspiration for the song. 

In the movie, Robert Duvall’s character, Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore, justifies his orders to reclaim a dangerous beach from the Vietcong so his men could do some surfing, with the phrase “Charlie Don’t Surf.” (Charlie, of course, was the American troops’ slang for the Vietcong).

The chorus:

Charlie don’t surf, and we think he should
Charlie don’t surf, and you know that it ain’t no good
Charlie don’t surf for his hamburger momma
Charlie’s gonna be a napalm star

My interpretation of this, though others may disagree, goes to how the U.S. forces western consumerism down the world’s throats. And for those who dare to resist its Capitalist imperatives, it is napalm for you.


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LISTEN: Reggae Great Delroy Wilson Sings ‘This Life Makes Me Wonder’

by on Monday, March 7, 2011 at 1:01 pm EDT in Arts & Entertainment, Music

In 1961, a thirteen year old Delroy Wilson began his music career in Kingston, Jamaica, recording ska hits penned by Lee “scratch” Perry, Coxsone Dodd, amongst others. His music evolved with the sounds of 60’s Jamaica from ska to rocksteady and eventually to reggae. By the late-60s/early-70s he was one of the most influential reggae recording stars on the island.

He first toured the U.K. in 1970, where British reggae label Trojan Records had him record a number of songs — a move that would help him to expand his European footprint.

By the mid-70s many British punks, including The Clash’s Joe Strummer, counted themselves as Delroy Wilson fans. Strummer, at the time, attended a reggae concert at the Hammersmith Palais to see Wilson and fellow Kingston musicians Dillinger and Leroy Smart perform. Expecting a rebellious ‘roots reggae’ performance, Strummer felt disappointed by their sets, claiming them to be “all very Vegas.”

British film director and musician Don Letts, who attended the show with Strummer, reflected on the evening: “I think that show was an eye opener for [Strummer], realizing that all these people were trying to get out of the ghetto roots life.”

The event inspired Strummer to pen the lyrics for one of The Clash’s biggest hits: “White Man In Hammersmith Palais.” In it you can hear Strummer shout out “Delroy Wilson, your cool operator.”

Wilson died at the age of 46 on March 6, 1995 of cirrhosis of the liver. He is often noted for his soulful vocals and melancholy lyrics. Of his many great songs, one of my personal favorites is his 1968 recording, “This Life Makes Me Wonder.” The lyrics are simple, yet strangely haunting, and the music is just so damned melodic:

This life makes me wonder
how to live another day to come
This life makes me wonder
how to live another day to come

I feel the strong of the hand of one that I was depending on

It takes a friend… to be a friend

It takes a friend… to stop a friend


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Delroy Wilson’s greatest hits album, Once Upon A Time, which features this song, can be downloaded here:

Watch: Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros “Tony Adams”

by on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 10:56 am EDT in Arts & Entertainment, Music

In the name of disclosure, I’ll just say that The Clash are one of my all-time favorite bands.

I sense that quite a few out there have shied away from Joe Strummer’s post-Clash efforts.  For those of you who loved The Clash, but haven’t yet delved into this part of Strummer’s career, a word to the wise: “there’s gold in them there hills.”

Here’s one of my favorite Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros songs.  Off the Rock Art and the X-Ray Style album — it could fit nicely on Sandinista — Here’s ‘Tony Adams’.  Enjoy!:

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You can download ‘Tony Adams’ or the entire Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros album, Rock Art and the X-Ray Style, here:   Joe Strummer - Rock Art & the X-Ray Style - Tony Adams