unreleased gem rare track is from Joe Strummer’s hand and it was first taped with The Clash, it is the marvelous In The Pouring Rain. I noticed it when it appeared on the soundtrack of The Future is Unwritten, but I knew I had heard it before…
I dug through my old Clash bootlegs and found two of them with different versions of the song. It exists in at least three kind of incarnations. I believed it was unreleased, but there was a soundtrack to the documentary about Joe Strummer and it is included (damn! he, he). It is hard to find, so I will post this anyway, but not as part of the Unreleased series.
In the pouring Rain (The Clash 1984, Cut the Crap line-up):
Recorded at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle in 1984, great quality! It was played both on the USA and European legs of the tour in 84.
This version is from one of my favorite Clash bootlegs, Give’em Enough Dope. The bootleg gets mixed reviews but I like it, the quality is way above average and the material is excellent. The drumming is a bit sloppy on some tracks (Topper was deep into his heroin addiction at this time and Joe shouts: “Come on you bastard! Stay with us, stay with us, keep going” . ) but the rest of the band keep it together. But that was the 81 Clash (the first part of the bootleg), now to the 1984 Clash…
The rest of the CD is taken from various gigs in 1984. The Clash line-up was Joe Strummer, Paul Simonon, Vince White, Nick Sheppard and Pete Howard. This is a line-up that is generally considered second class, don’t believe them, if you listen to these songs you will understand they are plain wrong. These songs are incredibly energetic and are performed with a tight professionalism. This lineup handles the old songs great, and the new tunes are great. The guitar playing is fantastic! The album, Cut The Crap doesn’t do these guys justice. In The Pouring Rain is one of my favourite songs from the band at this time. It is moving and has all the qualities of a classic rock song, and it’s criminal that this Clash lineup gets slated at all when this is what they did on stage. The song will amaze you. Make sure you get hold of this bootleg just for this.
I found this statement online:
Joe lost it and never had a recording after he left The Clash. The story is that somebody handed him a copy of Give ’em Enough Dope when he was doing one of his Pogues stints and he got all excited and emotional about finding his “lost” song again. So he did the (not very good ) recorded version with the Pogues.
First, it is actually quite good, and second, it wasn’t the Pogues.
Joe Strummer’s “Irish folk version” of Pouring Rain:
The date of this recording is 1993, from the unreleased ‘When Pigs Fly’ soundtrack. As I said it wasn’t the Pogues, it was “a gang” of anonymous Irish session musicians from the When Pigs Fly sessions, including Tom McManamon, who would go onto play banjo with Shane MacGowan’s Popes
A guy called matedog posted this on a clash forum a while back:
So it’s three in the afternoon, i’m seventeen years old in front of the door to the Brixton Academy in a not terribly safe neighbourhood (at the time, at least) and there’s members of the Pogues asking where Strumboli (their nickname for Joe) was, and he shows up. Super concentrated, he’s surprised to see me, says he can’t talk too much, gives me a pass and says “follow me”. We enter the large theater, he grabs my arm “watch the soundcheck and do’nt let anyone throw you out” then turns to the huge bouncer : “the kid’s with me, no one touches him” and he’s gone. I’m at this point floating on a small cloud. the show is terrific and afterwards, i’m trying to make my way backstage, expressing my boundless admiration to Shane McGowan who showed up in sign of support, and Joe is surrounded by a shitload of people. I sort of push around to get in and say to Joe that i’ve got something for him. Out comes the 45 and I point him out that “Pouring Rain” is on the record. “My song !” he shouts, “you’ve got my song ! I’d lost this song!” he hugs me and kisses me on the cheek and says “you don’t know how much this means to me”.
A few years later, in 1995, I’m talking to Joe on the phone for an interview for a fanzine, and he says to me that he finally recorded Pouring Rain for Sara Driver’s film When Pigs Fly. “That’s your contribution right there” he said.
There are also some demos from late 1983, I haven’t come across them, just heard them mentioned from time to time…
…and it was recorded again at Rockfield Studios near Monmouth, Wales (27-30/4/1993) with Danny Thompson (bass) and Terry Williams (drums)
So it is available on two soundtracks in two different versions, but it was not released by The Clash on any official release nor by Joe Strummer with any of his later bands.
It’s a great song that has been hidden away for too long.
Sources: seek out Give’em enough dope and Rockers station (boots), Clashcity.com, The Future is unwritten (documentary), The Clash Wiki, Redemption Song – The Ballad Of Joe Strummer by Chris Salewicz