Clash voices

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Clash voices

Post by Heston » 01 Nov 2017, 7:10pm

I'm just listening to Ivan Meets GI Joe from Marky's remastered Mogador show and Topper actually has a very good voice when you strip away that vocoder effect they used on Sandinista. I'd even go as far as to say he was technically the best singer in the Clash. I love Joe and Mick's voices but they are both pretty unconventional in that sense, they just have that passion and believability. It's strange how a lot of supposedly technically superior bands cover the Clash but end up lacking vocally.

Paul's singing voice is kinda strange and does anyone else ever wonder if Guns of Brixton would have been even better if Joe had sang it? In fact give him Red Angel Dragnet as well.

The Vince and Nick Experience was pretty horrific vocally.
So what does Marconi playing the mamba mean? "Marconi" is referring to the radio itself. It plays a deadly snake. The snake - the mamba - is slithering from the speakers. Ready to kill greedy corporations. Ready to free the world of all that is evil, and to leave behind only the youthful idealism encompassed by the tenets of rock and roll.

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Re: Clash voices

Post by Low Down Low » 01 Nov 2017, 7:50pm

Cant imagine GOB without Paul singing, its just hotwired into my brain after so many years and by the fact I've never heard a passably decent cover. As for Topper, I imagine he could hold a tune alright, but dont recall him doing any vocals on the solo album so maybe he didn't think so himself.

I love Van Morrison and rate him as the best technical singer in the business, but otherwise most of the singers I like are not what would be regarded as technically gifted: Strummer, Leonard Cohen, Ry Cooder, Nick Cave. You could also lump Dylan, Tom Waits and I'm sure a host of others in that category.

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Re: Clash voices

Post by Silent Majority » 01 Nov 2017, 8:05pm

Strummer's voice is expressive and more musical than it seems at first glance. Because he sounds like the guy next door, you're tricked into missing that he's hiting notes and finding little melodic flourishes that you wouldn't expect; even in the first album there's a surprising range. I can hear the influence - and this isn't as insane as it sounds - of the smoothness of a Chuck Berry.

If I've got a criticism of Mick's singing, it's that he lacks confidence. He's got power there that he seems embarrassed to reach for. I can hear his control over it slide away at some points. i wonder if the root of that lies in having to play complicated guitar at the same time. No matter what, it's really ingratiating. Just a friendly, warm spot to spend time with. Listening to Mick sing is like hanging out with your best mate. And he's got a fabulous connection to all the emotions in the spectrum. From Lost in the Supermarket to Hate & War.

I wouldn't want anyone but Paul on Guns of Brixton. It's almost hip hop.
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Re: Clash voices

Post by Dr. Medulla » 01 Nov 2017, 8:11pm

Heston wrote:
01 Nov 2017, 7:10pm
Paul's singing voice is kinda strange and does anyone else ever wonder if Guns of Brixton would have been even better if Joe had sang it? In fact give him Red Angel Dragnet as well.
Because GoB works so well with Paul's, um, unconventional style, I wouldn't want to change it, but now that you've raised the idea, I don't doubt that Joe would have done it justice. The guy was a rare, truly natural performer.
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Re: Clash voices

Post by Kory » 01 Nov 2017, 8:19pm

Silent Majority wrote:
01 Nov 2017, 8:05pm
If I've got a criticism of Mick's singing, it's that he lacks confidence. He's got power there that he seems embarrassed to reach for. I can hear his control over it slide away at some points. i wonder if the root of that lies in having to play complicated guitar at the same time. No matter what, it's really ingratiating. Just a friendly, warm spot to spend time with. Listening to Mick sing is like hanging out with your best mate. And he's got a fabulous connection to all the emotions in the spectrum. From Lost in the Supermarket to Hate & War.
He's awfully pitchy in some shows, and really off key sometimes. It could be the distraction of having to play guitar at the same time, but maybe he knows he's not got the best pitch and it psyches him out? I've often wondered this. He's good in the studio, but after how many takes?
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Re: Clash voices

Post by Heston » 01 Nov 2017, 8:20pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:
01 Nov 2017, 8:11pm
Heston wrote:
01 Nov 2017, 7:10pm
Paul's singing voice is kinda strange and does anyone else ever wonder if Guns of Brixton would have been even better if Joe had sang it? In fact give him Red Angel Dragnet as well.
Because GoB works so well with Paul's, um, unconventional style, I wouldn't want to change it, but now that you've raised the idea, I don't doubt that Joe would have done it justice. The guy was a rare, truly natural performer.
Yeah, I think Paul does a pretty good job on it, maybe I've been a bit harsh on him. Joe could also do a pretty menacing vocal too though, a solo live version at some point may have been nice. I don't think RAD or Crooked Beat do Paul many favours, he should have maybe retired the mike after GoB.
So what does Marconi playing the mamba mean? "Marconi" is referring to the radio itself. It plays a deadly snake. The snake - the mamba - is slithering from the speakers. Ready to kill greedy corporations. Ready to free the world of all that is evil, and to leave behind only the youthful idealism encompassed by the tenets of rock and roll.

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Re: Clash voices

Post by Silent Majority » 01 Nov 2017, 8:22pm

Kory wrote:
01 Nov 2017, 8:19pm
Silent Majority wrote:
01 Nov 2017, 8:05pm
If I've got a criticism of Mick's singing, it's that he lacks confidence. He's got power there that he seems embarrassed to reach for. I can hear his control over it slide away at some points. i wonder if the root of that lies in having to play complicated guitar at the same time. No matter what, it's really ingratiating. Just a friendly, warm spot to spend time with. Listening to Mick sing is like hanging out with your best mate. And he's got a fabulous connection to all the emotions in the spectrum. From Lost in the Supermarket to Hate & War.
He's awfully pitchy in some shows, and really off key sometimes. It could be the distraction of having to play guitar at the same time, but maybe he knows he's not got the best pitch and it psyches him out? I've often wondered this. He's good in the studio, but after how many takes?
He's way out of tune at the start of Something About England, but it doesn't hurt the song.
'But also: hey dude, you can just go looking for more glasses. They're all free now. '

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Re: Clash voices

Post by Heston » 01 Nov 2017, 8:26pm

Silent Majority wrote:
01 Nov 2017, 8:22pm
Kory wrote:
01 Nov 2017, 8:19pm
Silent Majority wrote:
01 Nov 2017, 8:05pm
If I've got a criticism of Mick's singing, it's that he lacks confidence. He's got power there that he seems embarrassed to reach for. I can hear his control over it slide away at some points. i wonder if the root of that lies in having to play complicated guitar at the same time. No matter what, it's really ingratiating. Just a friendly, warm spot to spend time with. Listening to Mick sing is like hanging out with your best mate. And he's got a fabulous connection to all the emotions in the spectrum. From Lost in the Supermarket to Hate & War.
He's awfully pitchy in some shows, and really off key sometimes. It could be the distraction of having to play guitar at the same time, but maybe he knows he's not got the best pitch and it psyches him out? I've often wondered this. He's good in the studio, but after how many takes?
He's way out of tune at the start of Something About England, but it doesn't hurt the song.
Now I just love Mick's voice on that song though I've heard criticism of it in the past. His voice just suits the pomposity of the intro.
So what does Marconi playing the mamba mean? "Marconi" is referring to the radio itself. It plays a deadly snake. The snake - the mamba - is slithering from the speakers. Ready to kill greedy corporations. Ready to free the world of all that is evil, and to leave behind only the youthful idealism encompassed by the tenets of rock and roll.

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Re: Clash voices

Post by Rat Patrol » 02 Nov 2017, 5:59am

Dr. Medulla wrote:
01 Nov 2017, 8:11pm
Heston wrote:
01 Nov 2017, 7:10pm
Paul's singing voice is kinda strange and does anyone else ever wonder if Guns of Brixton would have been even better if Joe had sang it? In fact give him Red Angel Dragnet as well.
Because GoB works so well with Paul's, um, unconventional style, I wouldn't want to change it, but now that you've raised the idea, I don't doubt that Joe would have done it justice. The guy was a rare, truly natural performer.
Paul wrote GoB lock, stock. That just seems...wrong at a fundamental level...to deprive him of the vocal. It works (studio) because of his voice. The only thing I object to is it being song-fucking-six in every live setlist for eternity, because he just could not hold the tune. And I don't buy that playing guitar was what ruined it, because he only scratched at the telecaster when Mick was soloing.

RAD is the real warcrime, because that was a full-on Joe-penned vocal that was given to him so they could hit 3 consecutive albums of Paul lead vox "quota".
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Re: Clash voices

Post by Rat Patrol » 02 Nov 2017, 6:25am

Silent Majority wrote:
01 Nov 2017, 8:05pm
If I've got a criticism of Mick's singing, it's that he lacks confidence. He's got power there that he seems embarrassed to reach for. I can hear his control over it slide away at some points. i wonder if the root of that lies in having to play complicated guitar at the same time. No matter what, it's really ingratiating. Just a friendly, warm spot to spend time with. Listening to Mick sing is like hanging out with your best mate. And he's got a fabulous connection to all the emotions in the spectrum. From Lost in the Supermarket to Hate & War.
He had no trouble playing guitar and singing with power consistently live. If anything, doing solo vocal takes in the studio WITHOUT playing guitar may have freaked him out a little bit, and led to his paranoia about double-tracking all his album vox in soft-focus. Joe couldn't handle that either, and either had to have an unplugged guitar to hack at while doing his vocal takes or otherwise keep his hands busy. Sometimes singing+playing works the opposite way when you're so used to working songs up in full-band rehearsals and then have to break them apart multi-track by multi-track. What albums were fraught with low confidence in the studio?...GEER (excepting late-'77 songs Tommy and LGIT) which required sitting around and writing fresh, and RP/CR where they stagnated on the double-album portion. s/t was all from the live set, the inter-album singles and CoL were all short-notice studio bookings of stuff worked up whole, LC was culled from the sing-into-the-can Vanilla Tapes, S! was a bunch of spontaneously-invented first takes with tape running, and the stronger half of CR was worked up in tour rehearsals. So even the stuff that morphed into purely studio arrangements started out being sketched with the primary singers working out their vocal deliveries while playing. If that's what you're so used to, it's going to be disorienting to do it any other way.


Now, TRAC...he must've taken some singing lessons before doing those demos because he demonstrates a quantum leap confidence-wise in power, range, and emotional versatility on those songs. Never ever sounded better in his whole life. Which makes it all the more baffling that he turned around months later and cockneyed it up for B.A.D. to sound intentionally off-key on the first 3 albums. Yeah, Don and Greg kind of sound like a muppet chorus on backing...but that doesn't mean you need to chuck aside contrast for parity's sake. Some of the live recordings where he sings it straight-ahead beat the pants of the phlegmmier 'intentional' takes.
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Re: Clash voices

Post by Silent Majority » 02 Nov 2017, 10:03am

Rat Patrol wrote:
02 Nov 2017, 6:25am
Silent Majority wrote:
01 Nov 2017, 8:05pm
If I've got a criticism of Mick's singing, it's that he lacks confidence. He's got power there that he seems embarrassed to reach for. I can hear his control over it slide away at some points. i wonder if the root of that lies in having to play complicated guitar at the same time. No matter what, it's really ingratiating. Just a friendly, warm spot to spend time with. Listening to Mick sing is like hanging out with your best mate. And he's got a fabulous connection to all the emotions in the spectrum. From Lost in the Supermarket to Hate & War.
He had no trouble playing guitar and singing with power consistently live. If anything, doing solo vocal takes in the studio WITHOUT playing guitar may have freaked him out a little bit, and led to his paranoia about double-tracking all his album vox in soft-focus. Joe couldn't handle that either, and either had to have an unplugged guitar to hack at while doing his vocal takes or otherwise keep his hands busy. Sometimes singing+playing works the opposite way when you're so used to working songs up in full-band rehearsals and then have to break them apart multi-track by multi-track. What albums were fraught with low confidence in the studio?...GEER (excepting late-'77 songs Tommy and LGIT) which required sitting around and writing fresh, and RP/CR where they stagnated on the double-album portion. s/t was all from the live set, the inter-album singles and CoL were all short-notice studio bookings of stuff worked up whole, LC was culled from the sing-into-the-can Vanilla Tapes, S! was a bunch of spontaneously-invented first takes with tape running, and the stronger half of CR was worked up in tour rehearsals. So even the stuff that morphed into purely studio arrangements started out being sketched with the primary singers working out their vocal deliveries while playing. If that's what you're so used to, it's going to be disorienting to do it any other way.


Now, TRAC...he must've taken some singing lessons before doing those demos because he demonstrates a quantum leap confidence-wise in power, range, and emotional versatility on those songs. Never ever sounded better in his whole life. Which makes it all the more baffling that he turned around months later and cockneyed it up for B.A.D. to sound intentionally off-key on the first 3 albums. Yeah, Don and Greg kind of sound like a muppet chorus on backing...but that doesn't mean you need to chuck aside contrast for parity's sake. Some of the live recordings where he sings it straight-ahead beat the pants of the phlegmmier 'intentional' takes.
You can actually hear his confidence on the night grow as this song progresses. From some shaky pitch at the start, he gains control over his instrument. It's very good.

'But also: hey dude, you can just go looking for more glasses. They're all free now. '

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Re: Clash voices

Post by WestwayKid » 02 Nov 2017, 1:41pm

Silent Majority wrote:
01 Nov 2017, 8:05pm
Strummer's voice is expressive and more musical than it seems at first glance. Because he sounds like the guy next door, you're tricked into missing that he's hiting notes and finding little melodic flourishes that you wouldn't expect; even in the first album there's a surprising range. I can hear the influence - and this isn't as insane as it sounds - of the smoothness of a Chuck Berry.

If I've got a criticism of Mick's singing, it's that he lacks confidence. He's got power there that he seems embarrassed to reach for. I can hear his control over it slide away at some points. i wonder if the root of that lies in having to play complicated guitar at the same time. No matter what, it's really ingratiating. Just a friendly, warm spot to spend time with. Listening to Mick sing is like hanging out with your best mate. And he's got a fabulous connection to all the emotions in the spectrum. From Lost in the Supermarket to Hate & War.

I wouldn't want anyone but Paul on Guns of Brixton. It's almost hip hop.
I definitely agree with your take on Mick. I've always thought he sounds like he lacks confidence in his own voice. It's almost like he thinks about it too much and then overthinks it. Anything is better when we just do it without thinking about it. I play baseball, for instance. I'm not bad at it - but I'll go through spells where I think about my hitting too much and then I don't swing the bat as well as I can. I get self conscious and I press. If I just swing away and let my body do what it does - I'm fine. I've always liked Mick's voice. I think he comes across as honest and emotive. Joe clearly had the best voice - but I've always liked how Mick's voice balanced Joe's. In regards to Paul...GoB - I just can't think of anyone else doing it. RAD works because while Paul might take the lead - you also have Kosmo's Taxi Driver spoken word bits and then Mick and Joe clearly in the background. That is actually a pretty fascinating song from a vocal standpoint when you think about it.

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Re: Clash voices

Post by eumaas » 02 Nov 2017, 1:43pm

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Re: Clash voices

Post by Wolter » 02 Nov 2017, 1:56pm

eumaas wrote:
02 Nov 2017, 1:43pm
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Re: Clash voices

Post by Inder » 02 Nov 2017, 1:57pm

Wolter wrote:
02 Nov 2017, 1:56pm
eumaas wrote:
02 Nov 2017, 1:43pm
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