PET 35543 Give 'Em Enough Rope
Produced by Sandy Pearlman
Released on November 10, 1978
UK CHART POSITION #2 . . . US CHART POSITION #128
Find it at GEMM
PET 35543 cover  

N ot exactly a sophomore slump, but for a few dollars more you could be listening to London Calling. If you got the Sergio Leone reference, gold stars and silver sprinkles for you. It was always the least cohesive of the trilogy: A Fistful of Dollars was like nothing I’d ever seen before (The Clash), The Good The Bad and The Ugly was technicolor genius (London Calling), but the middle was always just the middle. With players like Clint, Cleef and Klaus Kinski, you hung around waiting for things to happen. Same with Mick Jones and Joe Strummer, and good things do happen: “Safe European Home,” “Julie’s in the Drug Squad,” “Guns on the Roof.” But if you were introducing someone to The Clash, would you really start with “Tommy Gun” and “English Civil War?” However, I’m out of step with the critical consensus on this one. Greil Marcus delved deeply into the work for Rolling Stone (you can read the original review if you want), and a mythology behind it was born. Yet in trying to elevate Rope to the works around it, I invariably end up putting their most prized works (The Clash, London Calling) on a smaller pedestal. Maybe “I Fought The Law” is as cheap a novelty as “English Civil War,” I reckon, or “Lover’s Rock” as sentimental as “Stay Free.” But what keeps coming back to me the most is This Year’s Model by Elvis Costello. Here again, critics hailed it as minor masterpiece, and I always found it unnecessarily noisy. What attracted me to Elvis and The Clash was the idea that, for them, melody was their secret weapon and resistance was futile. But I’ve always been able to resist Model and Rope, despite my desire to do otherwise. As I noted in the previous Steve Miller review, I usually end of championing one underrated work and deflating what I perceive to be an overrated effort in every artist’s discography. Give ‘Em Enough Rope, in my opinion, is overrated.

TRACK LISTING

  1. SAFE EUROPEAN HOME
  2. ENGLISH CIVIL WAR
  3. TOMMY GUN
  4. JULIE'S IN THE DRUG SQUAD
  5. LAST GANG IN TOWN
  6. GUNS ON THE ROOF
  7. DRUG-STABBING TIME
  8. STAY FREE
  9. CHEAPSKATES
  10. ALL THE YOUNG PUNKS (NEW BOOTS AND CONTRACTS)

CREDITS

TOPPER HEADON -- drums
MICK JONES -- guitar, vocals
PAUL SIMONON -- bass
JOE STRUMMER -- guitar, vocals

return to THE CLASH discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK November 10, 1978 CBS LP 82431  
US November 1978 Epic LP JE 35543  
JPN 1978 CBS LP 253P-36  
UK   CBS LP 32444  
US   Epic LP/CS PE/PET 35543  
UK October 1999 Columbia LP/CD 495346 180g vinyl
US   Epic CD EK 63884  

 

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