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Joe Strummer | Strummer 001

Posthumous anthology fills in some gaps in the Clash frontman's back story.

The Clash will always be the central chapter in Joe Strummer‘s musical biography. But his story didn’t begin there. Nor did it end there. As dedicated fans know, there’s much more to the tale. Before Strummer joined up with Mick Jones and Paul Simonon, he was the frontman for a pub-rock outfit called The 101ers. And after The Clash imploded, he spread his wings and broadened his musical horizons, penning several soundtracks and making a series of eclectic world-music albums with his backing bands The Mescaleros and The Latino Rockabilly War. For those who need a refresher — and even those who don’t — the new anthology Strummer 001 is essential listening. Newbies will get a crash course — call it Strummer 101 — in the form of 20 album cuts, singles and guest spots cherrypicked from both ends of his catalogue. Old hands will appreciate the second disc, which collects a dozen previously buried treasures, including an acoustic demo of the 101ers‘ hard-driving Letsagetabitarockin’, an alternate version of The Clash‘s This is England, several songs from an unreleased soundtrack, an unheard collaboration with Jonesy from the Sid and Nancy soundtrack and the laid-back shuffle The Cool Impossible, one of the last songs Strummer recorded before his untimely 2002 death from a heart attack at age 50. Granted, Strummer 001 doesn’t tell the whole story. But it does add plenty of detail to what is already a pretty compelling narrative.

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