The Sun rises for us
By Bill Bentley
Various Artists, The Sandinista Project (00:02:59)
Tribute albums are tricky business. You know going in that the original work is going to be almost impossible to beat. How in the world can, say, a recreation of the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album be better than the original? The list goes on and on at those taking a well-intentioned stab at these affairs, until recently it felt like there should be a total ban on the endeavors. It got so overloaded that for a bit, it seemed like there were tribute albums to tribute albums being recorded. That said, every once and awhile a collection will slip through the net and make actual sense, just like The Sandinista Project does. Based on the 1980 Clash magnum opus, this effort features a wild range of musicians, each taking one of the original songs and having a go at it. And like the law of averages would dictate, some succeed with total flair, with only a few dragging through. Producer Jimmy Guterman has wisely chosen artists on these 37 tracks, which in the end is the difference between luster and lethargy, and does what any righteous tribute album should do: send you running for the original to rediscover the majesty contained within.
If you really want the whole PDF, it's here.
Also, in what now feels like a previous life, I knew a great guy at Warner Brothers named Bill Bentley (who also took part in a spirited tribute record: More Oar). If the author of this review is the same person and sees this, please get in touch with me: jimmy @ guterman.com (spaces added in vain attempt to curb spam).
Update: Found (thanks, Cary)!