Last year, just before COVID-19 derailed most of the world, Olivia and Dhani Harrison announced that George Harrison’s Dark Horse label would be relaunching. Founded by the late Beatle in 1974, Dark Horse released George’s own records but also LPs from artists including Ravi Shankar, Wings guitarist Henry McCullough, the David Foster band Attitudes, the duo Splinter, and soul group The Stairsteps and Stairsteps member Keni Burke. While there’s been no news as to reissues of those vintage Dark Horse titles, the label has announced its new partnership with BMG and the first title under that umbrella. On March 26, 2021, Dark Horse (now under the stewardship of Dhani Harrison and David Zonshine) will release Assembly from The Clash’s late frontman, Joe Strummer (1952-2002). The newly-curated collection will be available on gatefold double-vinyl (in standard black and limited-edition red) as well as CD and download/streaming.
The 16-track anthology, newly remastered by Beatles associate Paul Hicks, draws from Strummer’s solo catalogue including fan favorites such as “Coma Girl” and “Johnny Appleseed” as well as covers (Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song”) and soundtrack one-offs (“Love Kills,” from 1986’s Sid and Nancy). While Strummer only released one proper solo album in his lifetime – 1989’s Earthquake Weather – he scored soundtracks, contributed songs to other films and compilations, and made appearances with such diverse musical partners as Michael Hutchence, Jools Holland, and Johnny Cash. His best-known work outside of The Clash includes numerous albums as Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros; he also recorded with his group The Latino Rockabilly War.
Clash fans will find three special previously unreleased surprises in the form of an acoustic “Junco Partner” and live versions of “Rudie Can’t Fail” and “I Fought the Law.” (The Sonny Curtis-penned song was popularized by The Bobby Fuller Four, and covered by The Clash in 1979.) The live tracks were recorded by Strummer and The Mescaleros at Brixton Academy in London on November 24, 2001.
Assembly has new liner notes from longtime Strummer fan Jakob Dylan. The CD bears a replica Dark Horse logo in the style of the label’s original releases. This release follows Strummer’s 001, a 2018 collection of rarities, unreleased, and alternate tracks from his solo career. Look for Assembly on CD, vinyl, and digital services on March 26. You’ll find the pre-order links and the track listing below. (We haven’t provided discographical annotation yet as information hasn’t been revealed as to which version of each song has been utilized.)
Joe Strummer, Assembly (Dark Horse/BMG DH0002CD, 2021)
- Coma Girl
- Johnny Appleseed
- I Fought the Law (Live at Brixton Academy, London, 24 November 2001) *
- Tony Adams
- Love Kills
- Get Down Moses
- X-Ray Style
- Mondo Bongo
- Rudie Can’t Fail (Live at Brixton Academy, London, 24 November 2001) *
- At the Border, Guy
- Long Shadow
- Forbidden City
- Yalla Yalla
- Redemption Song
- Junco Partner (Acoustic) *
(*) previously unreleased