In the mid-’80s Alex Cox, having made Repo Man and Sid & Nancy to some acclaim, was deemed a financially viable punk auteur. This changed after Straight To Hell, his surreal anti-comedy-cum-spaghetti-western, which had a peculiar genesis. Cox had booked a bunch of less than abstemious musicians for a Solidarity Tour of Nicaragua. That tour, due to small matters like a civil war, collapsed, but Cox had the musos under his charge, and somehow talked Island into funding a thrown-together movie using the assembled wasters as cast (for the full story, see the feature on p84).
Surprisingly, the soundtrack was never properly exploited, so Joe Strummer, Elvis Costello and Pogues completists will relish this. Never before available on CD, and extended from a 1987 vinyl release which included less than half the score, it’s remastered by The Pogues’ Philip Chevron and Pray For Rain’s Dan Wool. No less than nine Pogues tracks debut. “The original Stiff album was more a souvenir than an actual soundtrack,” notes Chevron. There are Strummer instrumentals (Morricone meets Carpenter), “Danny Boy” sung by Cait O’Riordan and dialogue from eager wannabe Courtney Love. Pray For Rain “split the residuals”, in their own words, with “the heavyweights on the roster”. It’s torture to my ears, in truth, but a significant and maverick cult collector’s item.