Big Audio Dynamite–Medicine Show

With The Clash fallen apart, Mick Jones quickly looked to indulge his personal musical interests with the construction of Big Audio Dynamite.  While his style was always softer than Joe Strummer, he was the main architect of The Clash’s forays into other genres, having become especially interested in hip hop after spending time in New York.  After roping in buddy Don Letts, Jones started work on BAD, an avenue for him to continue indulging his experimentation.  Tracks like Medicine Show are the perfect showcase for his wide-ranging ideas.  It begins as a largely amiable pop song, with keyboards and drum machine front and center and heavy, lazy back beat.  But as it progresses, it reaches out to try something new, then reels itself in before stretching out for another subtle experiment.  Before it’s over Jones will have toyed with reggae, rockabilly, Ennio Morricone-style western flair and extensive samples, the last of which would become an element he’d incorporate often with his new band.  Yet somehow the whole thing remains cohesive, with a laid back charm that floats through the song.  It may lack the bite of the work Jones did with Strummer, but it has an admirable ambition and succeeds on its own merits.


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