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Joe Strummer’s Mescaleros Albums, Rarities Bundled for New Boxed Set

The late Clash co-founder would have turned 70 next month
Joe Strummer - Kevin Cummins/Hulton Archive/Getty

In honor of what would have been his 70th birthday next month, late Clash co-founder Joe Strummer will be celebrated with the boxed set Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years, which rounds up his three studio albums with that band plus a disc of 15 previously unreleased tracks.

The project arrives Sept. 16 from Dark Horse Records, the label founded by George Harrison in 1974 which now oversees not only the late Beatle’s archival releases but Strummer’s as well. Joe Strummer 002 follows the 2018 release of the 32-song compilation Joe Strummer 001, which included 12 previously unreleased tracks.

Strummer died of a heart attack in 2002 at the age of 50, leaving behind a vast archive of music and memorabilia dating back to his time in The Clash. “There’s so much great music that Joe left us in his archive,” says Strummer’s widow Lucinda Tait, who also executive-produced the boxed set. “We started this work with 001, so to focus on Joe’s work with The Mescaleros was the natural second step on 002 because those songs he made with them just seemed to resonate so strongly and reinvigorated his connection with his audience at a level he hadn’t experienced since his days with The Clash.”

The boxed set houses remastered versions of 1999’s Rock Art and the X-Ray Style, 2001’s Global A Go-Go and 2003’s Streetcore. The unreleased cuts will be found on Vibes Compass, including a demo of the Rock Art song “The Road to Rock ‘N’ Roll” and “Ocean of Dreams,” with guitar contributions from Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones. Also featured are a cover of the Johnny Rivers oldie “Secret Agent Man” which Strummer reportedly submitted for an Austin Powers sequel and/or the Vin Diesel film XXX, and alternate versions or demos of tracks such as “Coma Girl,” “Get Down Moses” and “X-Ray Style.”

“It just really grabbed me and he was so excited,” Tait told SPIN of the latter song in a 2021 interview. “I just have such a strong image of his face when he was composing, when he was writing, when he was in the studio. That one really stayed with me.”


Here is the track list for Vibes Compass:

“Time and rhe Tide”
“Techno D-Day” (Demo)
“Ocean of Dreams” (feat. Steve Jones)
“Forbidden City” (Demo)
“X-Ray Style” (Demo)
“The Road to Rock ‘N’ Roll” (Demo)
“Tony Adams” (Demo)
“Cool ‘N’ Out” (Demo)
“Global A Go-Go” (Demo)
“Secret Agent Man”
“All in a Day” (Demo)
“London Is Burning”
“Get Down Moses” (Outtake)
“Coma Girl” (Outtake)