An overlooked album as far as The Clash go, but nonetheless, a very good one. After the success of the self-titled debut, Joe, Mick, Paul and Topper released 'Give 'Em Enough Rope' in 1978, a year before the release of the hugely successful 'London Calling'. The quality of music seems to be improved since the first album, losing some of the raw sound as a side-effect. The songs are well played and also seem to lean towards melodic rock rather than rebellious punk. Experimenting though, was something The Clash always did well, and here they did it to a lesser extent.
Gone then was the punk, in was the stadium friendly rock.
Safe European Home: Arguably the best song on the album and one of my favourite ever Clash songs. It starts energetically and has a feel-good swagger about it. ‘Sitting Here In My Safe European Home!’ screams Strummer as the song reaches it’s noisy climax. Top Notch! 9/10
English Civil War: You may recognise the tune from the song you sing as a kid ‘The ants go marching two by two, Hurrah! Hurrah!’. The song has attitude and although not one of the best on the album, is still very strong. 7/10
Tommy Gun: Terrific song, from the assaulting intro, to the guitar solo’s, the song has appeal. After all, when can a song named after the Thomson automatic machine guns not impress you? 8/10
Julie’s In The Drug Squad: That’s what happens when you let your friends know that you’re taking drugs. Especially those named Julie. A bouncy song with nice little piano solo’s, Strummer wailing and shouting and general jest. It’s a good song to mark the disadvantages of prison. 8/10
Last Gang In Town: Not one of the best songs on the album, and a shame for it to mark the mid-point. Strummer’s vocals seem to drowned out by some pretty average guitar playing. Still, not terrible and by no means should it put you off the whole product. 6/10
Guns On The Roof: One of the most ‘punk’ songs on the album. Strummer lets his anger boil over in this track. A repetitive chorus doesn’t matter, it all adds to the experience. High point in the lyrics being ‘Sue the lawyers and burn all the papers
Unlock the key of the legal papers’. Nice. 8/10
Drug-Stabbing Time: Another slightly disappointing song. There’s nothing too bad about it it’s just not up to usual Clash standard. 6/10
Stay Free: A song about best mates and the loneliness when one gets sent to prison. A trademark Clash song is my book. It deserves to be more well-known than it is, because it really is a solid punk song. Simonon’s vocals make for a great variation as well. Good stuff. 8/10
Cheapskates: One of the best of the album sang in an almost jealous and desperate way by Joe. He criticises the people who expect him to live the life of Riley just because he’s in a band. He effectively says ‘F*ck You!’ to the critics in this number. Played mainly in minor key, it is a meaningful song with class. 9/10
All The Young Punks (New Boots And Contracts): A fine way to bow out, the song is slow and cumbersome, but has a good sound to it. Again, the guitar playing isn’t up to much, but punk was never that kind of genre. An absolute diamond of a lyric comes in at the end of the song: ‘But it's better than some factory, Now that's no place to waste your youth, I worked there for a week once, I luckily got the boot’ 8/10
They could never avoid the curse of the second album, but they did an extremely valiant job of it. If you’re a Clash fan and haven’t got this in your record collection then do something about it.