THE SANDINISTA! PROJECT
PAYS TRIBUTE TO ONE OF ROCK’S MOST COMPLEX AND AMBITIOUS ALBUMS
Features The Smithereens, Camper Van Beethoven, Jon Langford & Sally Timms, Amy Rigby, Katrina Leskanich (Waves), Wreckless Eric, Willie Nile, Matthew Ryan, Stew, Sex Clark Five, Sid Griffin & Coal Porters and many more; profits to benefit two Clash-backed charities.
BOSTON, Mass. — Sandinista!, recorded by The Clash in 1980, was one of the most ambitious records in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. According to one of its biggest fans, author and journalist Jimmy Guterman, “It wasn’t necessarily their best record, their best-selling record, or even their most enjoyable record, but it’s an exciting, sprawling mess that I return to constantly.” Guterman liked it so much, in fact, that he took it upon himself to amass a tribute as ambitious as the album itself — 36 tracks by nearly as many different artists.
On May 1, 00:02:59 Records — a label named after a lyric from the Sandinista! song “Hitsville U.K.” — will release The Sandinista! Project as a two-CD set, with profits split between two charities — Amnesty International (heartily supported by The Clash) and the Joe Strummer Memorial Forest, which is a division of Future Forests, an organization fighting global warming.
In preparing the Herculean task of commissioning 36 songs to correlate with Sandinista!s own 36, album producer Guterman called upon artists with whom he’d admired over his years as a journalist. Initial reactions were generally along the lines of “That’s the craziest idea I’ve ever heard.” The second reaction, following a brief pause, was “I want in.”
Guterman received enthusiastic commitments from such artists as The Smithereens, Camper Van Beethoven, Jon Langford & Sally Timms, Amy Rigby, Katrina Leskanich (Waves), Sid Griffin & Coal Porters, Willie Nile, Matthew Ryan, Stew, Sex Clark Five and many more. Some recorded faithful tributes, other nearly dada-esque abstractions of the songs in question. And many boasted their own organic thread to the Clash, the song in question or both.
For instance, Katrina Leskanich of one-hit wonders Katrina & the Waves, seemed a natural for “Hitsville, U.K.” After all, her hit, “Walking on Sunshine,” shared the same bass line as “Hitsville U.K.” which was borrowed from Motown’s “You Can’t Hurry Love.” Jon Langford & Sally Timms from the Mekons took “Junco Partner,” originally a James Booker new Orleans R&B hit, and returned it Stateside as only two British punk expatriates can. Sid Griffin, a native of Kentucky who has since migrated to the U.K., tackled “Something About England,” a powerful ballad about British deterioration, and turned it into a bluegrass stomp.
Singer/songwriter Matthew Ryan, who had already recorded “Somebody Got Murdered” on his 2001 album Concussion, donated the track intact. Labelmate Willie Nile’s streetwise take on “Police on My Back” recorded for this project, also appeared on his own 00:02:59 album released in 2006. Steve Wynn, frontman for The Dream Syndicate and more recently the Miracle3, had been the subject of a double-disc charity record, and got into the spirit with a cover of “If Music Could Talk.” And if you ever wanted to hear “The Call Up” performed on theremin, The Lothars provide you that opportunity.
There is even a track from a dedicated Clash cover band, London Calling of Chicago, whose “Lightning Strikes (Not Once But Twice)” displays what Guterman calls “a sharp, spirited cover by a sharp, spirited band.”
And there are several more stories to be gleaned in The Sandinista! Project‘s 36 tracks — “Washington Bullets” by Phil Rockrohr & the Lifters, “Kingston Advice” by Camper Van Beethoven, “Silicone on Sapphire” by The Blizzard of 78 featuring original Sandinista! producer Mikey Dread — all chronicled by Guterman in the liner notes.
Guterman sums it up: “Joe Strummer once said that Sandinista! is ‘a magnificent thing. I wouldn’t change it if I could.’ And now, join us on The Sandinista! Project, in which we change everything on that magnificent record.”
The Sandinista Project! Track Listing
1. The Magnificent Seven, Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers
2. Hitsville U.K., Katrina Leskanich
3. Junco Partner, Jon Langford and Sally Timms with Ship & Pilot
4. Ivan Meets G.I. Joe, Jason Ringenberg and Kristi Rose
5. The Leader, Amy Rigby
6. Something About England, The Coal Porters
7. Rebel Waltz, Ruby on the Vine
8. Look Here, Jim Duffy
9. The Crooked Beat, Wreckless Eric
10. Somebody Got Murdered, Matthew Ryan
11. One More Time/One More Dub, Haale
12. One More Time (One More Time), Ted Harris
13. Lightning Strikes (Not Once But Twice), London Calling of Chicago
14. Up in Heaven (Not Only Here), The Smithereens
15. Corner Soul, Ethan Lipton
16. Let’s Go Crazy, Storybox
17. If Music Could Talk, Steve Wynn
18. The Sound of the Sinners, Bill Lloyd
19. Police on My Back, Willie Nile
20. Midnight Log, Soul Food with Mick Gallagher
21. The Equaliser, Sunset Heroes
22. The Call Up, The Lothars
23. Washington Bullets, Phil Rockrohr and the Lifters
24. Broadway, Stew
25. Lose This Skin, Jim Allen
26. Charlie Don’t Surf, The Crunchies
27. Mensforth Hill, Bee Maidens
28. Junkie Slip, Mark Cutler
29. Kingston Advice, Camper Van Beethoven
30. The Street Parade, Dollar Store
31. Version City, Tim Krekel
32. Living in Fame, Lou Carlozo
33. Silicone on Sapphire, The Blizzard of 78 featuring Mikey Dread
34. Version Pardner, Sally Timms and Jon Langford with Ship & Pilot
35. Career Opportunities, Sex Clark Five
36. Shepherds Delight, The Hyphens