" Strummer's widow Lucinda has revealed that he burnt the midnight oil
song writing at their West Country farmhouse as he composed for the album
he would never hear.
She said yesterday: "He loved the night. He would be up throughout the
hours of darkness in what he called his 'woodshed'. He worked with pen
and paper. When he was getting somewhere with the lyrics, he would sit
at his old-fashioned Remington typewriter, bashing them out.
"In the morning, as I'm getting the breakfast, he'd say, 'Babe, come
here and hear what I've done'. We'd all shuffle through and listen at
7.30 in the morning.
"He'd do endless versions, eight or 10 goes at typing out the lyrics -
and then he'd be happy with it. He was a complete night person."
Her husband had booked a studio to make the album, and had even written
down the title, Streetcore, but he died suddenly last December at 50,
the victim of a rare heart condition.
Lucinda, who found him unconscious at their home in Broomfield,
Somerset, tried to revive him with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Now, in
the wake of the many tributes to the former leader of The Clash, she has
helped his band, The Mescaleros, to complete the 10-track album for
release on Oct 21.
She said: "It was very much on his mind. He came back from a mini-tour
of Japan and said, 'We're sounding fantastic'. He booked a swift tour of
the UK, anxious to keep everything tight for the recording.
"The music was back to his rock 'n' roll roots, and he was trying out
songs until the end, performing in Acton and Liverpool. He said, 'I love
the music we're producing'. I know no rhyme or reason for the songs.
Joe's lyrics were so personal to him. You'd hear people coming up to him
all the time to explain what he meant."
An irony of the album is that one of its two cover versions is Bob
Marley's Redemption Song, which he recorded in America with Johnny Cash
who has also just died.
Album proceeds are to go to Strummerville, a charity that is being
founded with the help of Strummer's close friend, the artist Damien
Hirst. Lucinda said: "Joe started busking in the subways and we plan to
use the money to help struggling musicians."