Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros: Global a Go Go

Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros: Global a Go-Go

Label: HellCat
Release Date: 2001
Review Date: 2001

He disappears for a decade or two and then suddenly he’s back. Can he still cut it after all these years or will it be weak like so many so-called comebacks? It comes as a relief that Rock Art and the X-Ray Style is quite enjoyable, if not damn good. Then you start to worry that maybe Rock Art and the X-Ray Style is the result of years of accumulated work that has been in cold storage. Does Joe still have it in him? It turns out that Joe Strummer ain’t going nowhere. Global a Go Go is damn good too!

“Johnny Appleseed” starts off Global a Go Go with rhythms that are now familiar with Strummer fans. It’s a folk rock thing with some world beats, funk, fiddles and electronics married to a punk rock attitude. You’ll be right at home if you can appreciate the direction that Combat Rock and early B.A.D. hinted at. A track like “Cool ‘n’ Out” rocks pretty hard, but for the most part Global a Go Go has a more mellow vibe. The title track starts off a little laid back, then picks up fairly soon. By the end of the song the crew is giving shout outs to global faves. Usually this sort of thing sounds forced, but “Global a Go Go” makes it transparent. It’s a real sleeper that ends up being one of the strongest tracks on the record.

Global a Go Go is also quite funny at times, as in “Bhindi Bhagee” where Joe goes into a little narrative about just what the heck he and the Mescaleros are up to. Those attracted to the politics of the Clash will still find a subtle message. Of Global a Go Go, Joes been quoted as saying “I’ve tried to avoid preaching, but I’m definitely out to nudge people.” The second half of the album is definitely slower paced than the first, and a couple of tunes tend to drag a little. Thankfully, things liven up a bit with “Bummed Out City” and “At the Border, Guy”. “Minstrel Boy” tries to wind things down, but you’ll still be disappointed that it’s all over. All that and no “Techno D-Day” to boot!

Global a Go Go is another fine Strummer/Mescaleros effort. You’re a fool if you don’t buy it. Strummer seems well on his way to being the next generation of Bob Dylan, except that people still want to hear what he has to say. He’s hooked up with a good crew that complements and enhances his style. I hear there’s war in Afghanistan and a new Strummer release….

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