Recorded in November 1979 and originally released as a B-side to the single version of London Calling, the Clash song Armagideon Time was a loose cover of Willi Williams’ 1978 Jamaican hit of the same name—which in turn made use of Sound Dimension’s well-worn 1967 instrumental Real Rock.
The liberties Joe Strummer took with Williams’ lyrics in many ways encapsulate The Clash’s simultaneous influence by and punk ambivalence about aspects of reggae culture. Take, for example, this verse’s alterations:
Remember to praise Jehovah And He will guide you In Armagideon
Remember to kick it over No one will guide you Armagideon time
Williams’ version offers the consolation of faith to temper the absence of fairness in the world and its inhabitants’ impending judgement at the moment of Armageddon. Strummer retains Williams’ focus on social justice, but strips out the religious optimism: praise Jehovah (“Jah-hovah”) becomes kick it over, while He will guide you is supplanted by the nihilistic no one will guide you.
It was hardly the first time The Clash had tweaked their Jamaican idols. In 1978’s White Man in Hammersmith Palais, the band—touted by Lester Bangs as arguably the greatest live act ever—raised hackles when they savaged the performances of several reggae greats and impressarios during a much-anticipated U.K. tour:
But it was Four Tops all night with encores from stage right [...] Onstage they ain’t got no roots-rock-rebel
Being equal-opportunity offenders, The Clash in Palais also cast a gimlet eye on many of their own fans, promoters and peers who were “turning rebellion into money.” Much like John Lennon in his pointed lyrics for the Beatles’ Revolution, which took fellow hippies to task for faddism and ideological superficiality (check out the sardonic shoo-be-doo-wops accompanied by unusually hard George Harrison licks in this live TV version), Strummer and to a lesser extent Jones were stiff critics not just of society at large, but of their own close circles.
But the balance and incisiveness of the message in many of the Clash’s best-known songs often went overlooked, infamously so with White Riot—typically misheard by both punks and its critics as a skinhead incitement, when it was intended to castigate the apolitical posturing and mindless “punk” violence which the band clearheadedly saw as spoiling the late ’70s movement they’d helped popularize: the shift from ideology to posture to fashion.
Anyway, here’s another track from the same era as Real Rock, Soul Vendours’ Swing Easy:
The Columbia Paper reports that AM radio station WCKL is going back on the air next month, but buries the lede: namely, that it’ll be carrying WEEI’s Red Sox broadcasts. (There are more BoSox fans in these parts than one might expect.) WCKL is at 560 on the “dial.”
In spite of high taxes and hostile politicians, new business owners keep flocking to Hudson. Tonight marks the opening of Sherry Jo Williams’ new venture at 428 Warren Street, culture+commerce project (5-9 pm), along with the official opening of 3FortySeven at 347 Warren (natch, from 7-10 pm) with music by DJ Gio.
Also debuting on Memorial Day weekend is Red Chair on Warren at #606 (formerly of Peterborough, New Hampshire) featuring French and Belgian housewares and antiques. Meanwhile, Chris Lehrecke has expanded his shop across the street in a larger space at #415, Tortillaville is back open for the summer, and there are two new B&Bs on Front Street.
“This town is hopping,” said my friend Norma Ramos (a former administrative law judge specializing in environmental justice* issues) on Friday at Baba Louie’s, which was packed to the gills with organic pizza fans and their beaming kids. But what’s particularly striking is not just the quantity of new businesses, but the quality. For the most part, the additions to Hudson’s deep roster of attractions are not lame and pedestrian, but unique and intelligent. More on that topic to come soon.
* We had an interesting talk about EJ and how its is appropriated and misused for “old boy” purposes, for example in the cynical misuse of the concept in regards to the City of Hudson Waterfront.
The County Democrats are caucusing right now at Space 360 in Hudson. Advance word is that Mark Portin of Ghent withdrew his name from consideration for D.A. after failing to secure anticipated support from the Conservative Party, and citing a lack of time for an intense campaign. That leaves former D.A. Gene Keeler as the likely Democratic nominee, running against Paul Czajka. Meanwhile, the Dems are also expected to nominate Richard Koweek for the judge position vacated by Czajka, to run against outgoing D.A. Beth Cozzolino.
Driver’s having a cup of coffee over at Iggy’s. He’s a good boy, friend of mine. ... It pays to have friends in low places. I find they do more for me in the long haul than the average maker and shaker.
The underdog victory of Democrat Kathy Hochul in New York’s 26th Congressional District is making headlines all over the country, as many interpret it as a referendum on the Republican assault on Medicare.
Only occasionally mentioned in the coverage: Hochul does not live in the 26th CD. Nor (as noted here previously in another context) did she have to to run for U.S. rep there, so long as she moves in before taking office. And Tuesday night’s tallies proved that the voters didn’t care.
“I’ve just been ignoring that all along... Not one person in this district has ever mentioned that. They know I’m going to plan to move into this district, hopefully very soon.”
One wonders if Democratic Alderman Geeta Cheddie, who has attempted to make residency an issue in this year’s 1st Ward race, would have voted for Hochul... Residency may become a moot issue (as again noted here last week), as her feared opponent may not actually run after all. But it would be nice to see a little consistency in the political posturing that goes on.
N O T E : Personally, I think parties would be smarter to nominate existing residents for everything from Common Councils to Congress, as there’s little sense handing the other side an easy issue. But in Hochul’s case, it didn’t matter—and as a matter of law, she (like Tim Rodgers) was entitled to run.
This 1932 photo of students at the Greendale School can be seen in person on the wall of Tanzy’s at 223 Warren Street. (Greendale is a neighborhood near Olana in the Town of Greenport). On the back of the picture is a key identifying the kids and their teacher, Miss Robinson.
This vehicle was stuck awkwardly on the Mount Merino section of Route 9G this morning just south of Hudson—just at the point of the hill where cars pick up speed, and the sight lines are partially obscured by foliage. The drivers waved cars off frantically, and thank goodness successfully.
Right at the bottom of this steep hill is where Holcim and O&G, now with overt encouragement from the City of Hudson, want to have a couple hundred trucks cross 9G every day, without even the benefit of a traffic light. Police were using that spot this morning to check registrations; if the trucking plan goes forward, they’ll have to find a new spot.