Even with the flood of tribute albums besieging the marketplace in recent years -- some worthy, most redundant -- an homage to an album like the Clash´s Sandinista! seems an especially arduous undertaking. After all, the original LP was mind-numbingly schizophrenic, sprawling across three records, six sides, and a full three-dozen tracks. Dunno about you, but for my money, I´d redo London Calling, a much easier choice for a Clash covers attempt. Still, the new tribute album The Sandinista! Project works somewhat well, especially considering the liberties taken by the artists involved. Although the more reliable rockers -- Joe Grushecky, the Smithereens, and Willie Nile in particular -- find a good fit with the Clash´s edgy imprint, many of the other participants take their assignments to bizarre extremes. One can only imagine how the Clash might view some of these odd reworkings, from the banjo-fueled bluegrass on ¨Something About England¨ by the Coal Porters to the down-home adaptation of ¨Juan Meets G.I. Joe¨ from Jason Ringenberg and Kristi Rose. Other songs skew even further -- for example, the jazzy piano version of ¨Look Here¨ by Jim Duffy, the fanciful folk view of ¨Rebel Waltz¨ by Ruby on the Vine, the gospel call of Bill Lloyd´s ¨The Sound of Sinners.¨ And that´s not to mention the stuff that´s just plain weird, because there´s plenty of that too. Chalk it up to the extreme lineup, and give credit to the Clash for making Sandinista! so goddamned subversive to start with.
Get the Music Newsletter
Find out about upcoming concerts and special offers happening in the South Florida music scene.