Friday, August 24, 2007

Hearing the ghost of Joe Strummer?

"I'd like you to write punk rock warlord, with warlord being one word."

From this rather odd intro on, listening to the soundtrack to Julien Temple's new Joe Strummer documentary, "The Future Is Unwritten," is a truly disconcerting experience.

Not unentertaining in the least mind you, just a little eerie. In putting this together, Temple could have taken any number of easy routes, but any one who has followed his music video work or of course seen "The Filth and the Fury" knows there was little chance of that happening.

Rather than simply compiling a best of the Clash/Joe Strummer/the Mescaleros, Temple scoured the tapes from Strummer's stint as a BBC DJ from 1999-2002 and put together some of Joe's favorite tracks, interspersed with voice snippets from the show itself (and, of course, some Clash and Mescaleros stuff too.)

The result is a fascinating listen, almost like listening to a ghost DJ on your radio. Although I never doubted it from listening to his own tunes, you get a real sense that Joe Strummer genuinely just loved music - and people - of all kinds. I won't spoil your listening adventure with a full track listing, but among the early standouts are the Elvis Presley oddity "Crawfish" and a rare tune from folkie Tim Hardin, "Black Sheep Boy."

From there, you take the same journey Joe did, discovering music from around the world. Hearing Baaba Maal singing along to the great guitar sounds of Ernest Ranglin on "Minuet" is just a perfect synergy of sound, and Andres Landeros' "Martha Cecilia" is also a real treat.

By the end, the secret comes out: Though he tried to come off as a tough guy, a "punk rock warlord," Joe Strummer was at heart just a big softie who wanted us all, as cheesy as it sounds, to love each other a little more, and who can argue with that? The set closes with Nina Simone's jazzy take on "To Love Somebody" and then a plea for world unity from the Mescaleros, "Willesden to Cricklewood."

With 25 song and voice tracks, there's a lot more to discover here, so I won't spoil it for you. You can buy the soundtrack now and, of course, if you happen to live in a more cosmopolitan corner of the world than I do, go see this when it finally gets some kind of U.S. release in November. Early word is that the movie just rocks, as any tribute to Joe Strummer certainly should.

Sounds of "The Darjeeling Limited"

Music also, of course, plays a big part in all the films of Wes Anderson. I managed to get my hands on a CD of those Portugeuse David Bowie songs by Seu Jorge from "The Life Aquatic," and I just can't get them out of my head. And as much as I love "Ooh La La" by the Faces, I now can't hear it without a vision of Max Fischer cuing the DJ so he can finally get to dance with Ms. Cross popping into my brain.

For his new flick, "The Darjeeling Limited," Anderson ventures out for the first time without longtime music collaborator Mark Mothersbaugh. And as you can see from this track listing, he leans heavily on the music of Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray, and throws in a few Kinks tunes for good measure (something I've never complained about.)

Giving credit where it's due, I discovered this track listing at the highly addictive blog The Playlist. Be warned in advance: If you go there, you may easily spend the next hour perusing its offerings. In the meantime, have a truly great weekend. Peace out.

"The Darjeeling Limited" Tracklist
Music from the film “Jalsaghar” - Ustad Vilayat Khan
“This Time Tomorrow” - The Kinks
Music from the film “Teen Kanya” - Satyajit Ray
Music from the film “The Householder” -Jyotirindra Moitra
Music from the film “Pather Panchali” - Pendit Ravi Shankar
Music from the film “Aparajito” - Pandit Ravi Shankar
Music from the film “Devi” -Ali Akbar Khan
Music from the film “Apur Sansar” - Pandit Ravi Shankar
Music from the film “Joi Baba Felunath” - Satyajit Ray
Music from the film “Charulata” - Satyajit Ray
Music from the film “Bombay Talkie” - Shankar Jaikishan
Music from the film “Shakespeare Wallah” - Satyajit Ray
Music from the film “Baksa Badal” - Satyajit Ray
Music from the film “Kanchenjungha” -Satyajit Ray
“Debussy: 3. Clair de Lune” - Written by Claude De Bussy (performed by Alexis Weissenberg)
“Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)” - Peter Sarstedt
“Strangers”- The Kinks
“Typewriter Tip Tip Tip” - Shankar Jaikishan
“Symphony No. 7 in A, OP. 92″ Written by Ludwig Van Beethoven (performed by Fritz Reiner)
“Symphony No. & in A OP. 92. Il Allegretto” Written by Ludwig Van Beethoven (performed by Otto Klemperer / Philharmonia Orchestra
“Champs Elysees (aka Waterloo Road)” - Joe Dassin
“Play with Fire”- The Rolling Stones
“Powerman"- The Kinks
Music from the film “Guru” - Ustad Vilayat Khan


Bob said...

I really want to see "The Future is Unwritten." Big fan of the Clash and Joe and it sounds great. I wish you got those kinds of movies out your way. I'm always grateful to live in a market that does.
And Wes Anderson is the king of the soundtracks so I'm excited to hear that one. Whenever I hear any song he put into one of his movies I'm immediately back in that scene. The "Making Time" yearbook montage in "Rushmore" is one of my favorite moments in all of film.

"How can a train be lost? It's on rails."

Jonathan said...

You know it's a slow weekend for movies when the music of films that won't be out for awhile becomes more prominent than what's actually coming out today. "War" looks fun enough, but no advance screenings usually means it's a steaming pile of dung. "Mr. Bean's Holiday"? No thanks. I did enjoy reading Ebert's review of "The Nanny Diaries" where he referred to it as "Bonfire of the Nannies." Oh,and I love how the previews for "Illegal Tender" promote it as "From the Guy Who Gave Us Empire"; will that really get people in the seats? I think I'll be catching up on some DVD's.

Reel Fanatic said...

I think I'm gonna do the same, Jonathan ... I might take a chance on Rod Lurie's "Resurrecting the Champ," but that one looks like it could be a real disaster ... On DVD I have to watch "The Lives of Others" and "Inland Empire" very soon

michael said...

A film that you must check out - for all time sake and some history - "Decline of The Western Civilization."