Joe Strummer

Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten

One part soundtrack, one part retrospective and one part radio program, The Future Is Unwritten soundtrack for the recently released Julien Temple documentary (opening Friday, Nov. 9, in Atlanta) provides a nice slice of context for the late Clash frontman’s career and tastes. Snippets of Strummer are captured on his “London Calling” radio show for the BBC World Service, with introductions to everything from Elvis Presley’s “Crawfish” to Tim Hardin’s “Black Sheep Boy.” One of Strummer’s greatest strengths was his appreciation of world music, and the inclusion of the Rachid Taha cover of “Rock the Casbah” (retitled “Rock El Cashbah”) threatens Clash fans’ loyalties to the original, it’s so inspired.

Other highlights include “Keys to Your Heart” by the 101’ers, the band Strummer ditched to join the Clash, and previously unreleased versions of “Armagideon Time” and “White Riot.” His belated work with the Mescaleros, tragically cut short by his death of a heart attack in 2002 at age 50, gets its just due in the form of “Johnny Appleseed” and “Willesden to Cricklewood.” 3 stars.

Read Curt Holman’s review of Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten in the Film section.