Once in a blue moon a trip to the record store results in the bringing home of such a find that you feel instantly vindicated of your blind faith at the check-out counter. Such is the case with the legendary Joe Strummer's first band's only release,
Elgin Avenue. Which until recently was a lost treasure, save the few original presses stashed away securely in some aficionado's vinyl collection and the few bootlegs still circulating whose sound quality is that of an 8 track played on a Fisher Price radio.
At a time when disco was king, the giant stadium spectacles reigned supreme and Beatle mania was fading fast, a small movement began to take hold. Pubrock. As the name implies, it was merely rock'n'roll bands playing in small pubs across The UK. An intimate atmosphere where the crowd was as much involved as the musicians. A scene which later took on political and social ideologies becoming punk. The 101ers (named after the squat the band mates shared at
101 Walterton Road in ) began 2 years before Strummer's claim to fame, The Clash and definitely had some bearing on their sound. Hell, "The only band that matters" bust out two of the songs found here on later albums (Junco Partner appears on The Clash's Sandanista! and Lonesome mother's Son became Jail Guitar Doors on Super Black Market Clash). The real story here is the sound quality of London Elgin Avenue. 30 years of wear and tear are hardly noticeable and it could easily pass as something recorded yesterday. Well, ok, maybe not in the present day's pop-punk over-production apocalypse. But this album sounds good none the less. Elgin Avenue boasts 20 songs including 5 previously unreleased tracks and 2 previously unreleased covers, Chuck Berry's "Maybelline" and Van Morrison's "Gloria" which Strummer and crew romp through both solidly. If only some of the bands goin' these days paid attention in history class.