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The Good, The Bad & The Queen, The Good, The Bad & The Queen

Virgin Records, January 23, 2007

Track Listing: 1. History Song, 2. 80s Life, 3. Northern Whale, 4. Kingdom Of Doom, 5. Herculean, 6. Behind The Sun, 7. The Bunting Song, 8. Nature Springs, 9. A Soldier’s Tale, 10. Three Changes, 11. Green Fields, 12. The Good, The Bad And The Queen

So I’m driving down Lake Shore Drive on the first 70-plus degree day of 2007 (on the wings of a horrifically frigid February), windows wide open in March, the vernal equinox in my rear view mirror by only a few days, and I’m bathing in the fresh air that is wandering in lazily from the cool lake breeze. I’m not sure if the resulting endorphins are due to the record setting weather, a morning workout, or just an honest connection to a new album that has come my way.

I listen again the next day. The day after that too. The weather has changed. Reminder: it’s early spring in Chicago. My mood has shifted in the grip of a new work week.

But one thing hasn’t changed. I’m still connecting to the album—more and more with each listen in fact—and although I wish I were back on Lake Shore Drive driving to nowhere in particular, things aren’t that bad in the cube right now. When the album comes to its rousing, goose-pimply, crescendoing conclusion, I simply can’t believe it. The Clash have been resurrected. I’m taken right back to the sparse, spacey dub bass of Sandanista! Back to the other side of the world.

There’s a mass of black hats as we squeeze between the thick wave that is literally the punter base on the right just below Paul Simonon at the Montreaux Jazz Festival. He’s wearing black pin stripes, black felt hat—hat of darkness—a cigarette squeezed between his guitar nut. He shakes the neck of his monster strings at us. He snarls. He stares, legs scrawled as his eyes glare like youth demons. He knows. Older now. On fire. New band. But he owns the stage. He breaks into a cracking nanosecond of “London Calling.” You can smell the river burning. He slides back into the dub-sub that is “History Song.” You’d think he was playing lead guitar. You’d think he was leading the youth of the world to strangle the queen. You’d think he was still a snotty kid with ripped shirt pulling thick wires over wood. Just a bass. Just a legend. It shakes you. Pounds you. The sun’s zooming in.

-G and TD