Sharoma The Clash The Spirit Of St. Louis

The Spirit Of St. Louis

Ellen Foley solo album, released 1981. Recorded and mixed by Bill Price. Assisted by Jeremy Green. Produced by Mick Jones at Wessex Studios, London. The band consisted of:

Track listing

  1. The Shuttered Palace
  2. Torchlight
  3. Beautiful Waste Of Time
  4. The Death Of The Psychoanalyst Of Salvador Dali
  5. M.P.H.
  6. My Legionnaire
  7. Theatre Of Cruelty
  8. How Glad I Am
  9. Phases Of Travel
  10. Game Of A Man
  11. Indestructible
  12. In The Killing Hour
  13. Le Palais Secret


This is often known as the 'lost Clash album', and seeing that it's basically performed by them and a fair few of the songs are written by Mick and Joe, it's easy to see why. It's an interesting and quite an enjoyable listen. Torchlight in particular is a great song. Chris Knowles (well known Clash expert) wrote a lengthy, rather unfavourable, rant about it on his page, which I have including a section of below so you can read a bit more about this album:

"After the Sandinista! sessions were wrapped, the Sandinista! band; Mick, Micky Gallagher, Norman Watt-Roy, Topper, Tymon Dogg, and Gary Barnacle went to work on tracks for an Ellen Foley solo album. Joe, Mick, and Tymon wasted, er, wrote a number of new tracks for the project. Tymon followed his own craft driven muse, but Joe and Mick displayed a new and strange influence-Jacques Brel and other 50s French pop writers. Accordians, flutes and strings made their entrance (presumably all played by Tymon), and images of cafés, legionnaires, bicycles, and other European puffery flew about. One particularly awful track - "The Death Of The Psychoanalyst Of Salvador Dali" (I'm serious) vomited up disjointed lyrics in an unpleasant foreshadowing of "Earthquake Weather". Unfortunately, Joe and Mick were trapped in that mode for a while after the album - if you don't have Spirit of St Louis, listen to Midnight To Stevens and Death Is A Star to get a feel for the sound of it.

Ellen just wasn't up to the material at all. When she isn't screeching, her tone is soft, muffled and deep, and utterly bereft of character or distinctiveness. There is a reason she never had a solo career. But Mick didn't help either. His production is blurry and dull, much like Joe's production on the Janie Jones single (House Of The Ju Ju Queen). The playing is good though. Topper and the Sandinista! boys are hard to fault and Mick really stretched himself and came up with some good voicings and licks. I would even go so far to say that this record has some of his best playing. And a handful of songs are really top-flight, albeit ruined by the lousy singing. Shuttered Palace and Theatre Of Cruelty would have been good Linda Ronstadt or ABBA songs. Tymon's Beautiful Waste Of Time (or in this case Pitiful Waste Of Song) would have been a great thing for Dionne Warwick to do in the 60s between Bacharach-David numbers. And two songs Torchlight and MPH really should have been saved for a Clash record. Torchlight is a classic Joe-Mick call and response track that you just imagine some South American arm of the Spartacist League adopting it as their anthem. And MPH would be a great Clampdown like rocker if sung by Joe and Mick. And Ellen's own Siouxsie-like Phases Of Travel is well-written, even though Mick uses too much flange on it."

(Copyright © Chris Knowles)


This album is still in print. The catalogue number is Epic 494979 2.

Thanks to Alan Young for the copy of this.