CK 44074 Tighten Up Vol. '88
Produced by Mick Jones
Released on June 1988
Find it at GEMM
CK 44074 cover
[high resolution scan]

K ronomyth 3.0: UPPING TIGHTENED. The Strummerless third album turned out to be a surprisingly solid collection of songs that downplayed the multimedia elements of the last. As if taking the single “Just Play Music!” to heart, Jones and company place the emphasis on familiar, anthemic melodies and support them with supercharged rhythms and effects underneath. Tighten Up Vol. ’88 might be their strongest collection song for song; “Other 99,” “Rock Non Stop,” “Just Play Music!” and “Esquerita” would make my shortlist if I were compiling a Best of BAD. The knock on Mick Jones is he’s a junk collector. Who else would bother to recycle the theme to The Beverly Hillbillies (“The Battle of All Saints Road”) or write songs about discarded pop culture icons like Esquerita and Imelda Marcos (“2000 Shoes”)? Maybe that’s always been the attraction between Jones and FX specialist Don Letts. And it’s always been an element of The Clash, from “The Right Profile” to “Ghetto Defendant.” BAD continues the great border crossing begun with The Clash, inverting the music/media equation slightly with Tighten Up and providing more songs per square inch of plastic than before. Oddly, their next album (Megatop Phoenix) re-inverted the equation, so I wouldn’t say that Tighten Up is a stab for commercial acceptance. It is one of their most even records, if not their most inspired (No. 10 Upping Street would get the nod there). Some may see it as a step down from the over-the-top Upping Street, but I would tell you there’s not a bad song on here. (Yes, the old review of this included an inane reference to Lenin and toilet paper, and you can guess what I did with that one.)

CK 44074 back sleeve
CK 44074 back sleeve


  1. ROCK NON STOP (ALL NIGHT LONG)    (Mick Jones/Don Letts/Dan Donovan)
  2. OTHER 99    (Mick Jones/Don Letts)
  3. FUNNY NAMES    (Mick Jones/Don Letts)
  4. APPLECART    (Mick Jones/Greg Roberts)
  5. ESQUERITA    (Mick Jones)
  6. CHAMPAGNE    (Mick Jones/Dan Donovan)
  7. MR. WALKER SAID    (Mick Jones/Don Letts/Greg Roberts)
  8. THE BATTLE OF ALL SAINTS ROAD    (Mick Jones/Don Letts; "The Battle of New Orleans" - traditional; "Duelin' Banjos" - Arthur Smith)
  9. HIP, NECK & THIGH    (Mick Jones/Don Letts)
  10. 2000 SHOES    (Don Letts/Greg Roberts/Dan Donovan)
  11. TIGHTEN UP VOL. '88    (Mick Jones/Don Letts/Greg Roberts/Leo Williams)
  12. JUST PLAY MUSIC!    (Mick Jones/Don Letts/Greg Roberts)


DAN DONOVAN -- keyboards, vocs, back sleeve photograph
MICK JONES -- vocs, guitar
DON LETTS -- fx, vocs
GREG ROBERTS -- drums, vocs
LEO "E-ZEE-KILL" WILLIAMS -- bass, vocs
Paul "Groucho" Smykle -- engineer, mixing
Paul Simonon -- cover painting
Josh Cheuse -- back sleeve photograph
Kiely Jenkins -- inner sleeve illustration
D.D. & Designlines -- artwork

return to BIG AUDIO DYNAMITE discography

UK June 1988 CBS LP/CD 461199-1/2 lyric sleeve
US June 1988 Columbia LP/CD/CS FC/CK/PCT 44074 lyric sleeve
BRA 1988 CBS LP 231136  
JPN 1988 CBS/Sony CD 25SP-5159 promo


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