Live Shots

Live Shots

Recorded during Joe Ely’s tenure opening for the Clash on their 1980 London Calling tour, Live Shots gives some idea of how much the two bands had in common. At this stage in his career Ely was pursuing a blend of rockabilly, country and American roots music not dissimilar to the music on London Calling. “Fingernails” and “Long Snake Moan” exude an energy that links Ely to the first wave of rock ‘n’ roll performers. Meanwhile a killer rendition of Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away” rivals the Clash for snarling celebration. Ponty Bone’s accordion embellishes “Honky Tonkin’,” “She Never Spoke Spanish To Me” and “Fools Fall In Love,” bringing some Cajun warmth into the lonely London theater. It couldn’t have been easy for Ely to play his Texas tunes to crowds of impudent punks night after night, but he sings “Midnight Shift” and “Treat Me Like A Saturday Night” in a way that suggests punk and country might just be two side to the same coin.

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