Growing up in a white middle class neighbourhood, The Clash were an important gateway band for me. Buying Clash albums introduced disco, hip hop, and dub into my record collection. While you could argue that explorations into disco and hip hop were merely flirtations from an adventurous band, their love for dub and reggae was deep.
Their affection for reggae was led by bassist Paul Simonon, who grew up in Brixton, an area of south London with a large West Indian population. The group had already collaborated with Lee “Scratch” Perry and covered Junior Murvin’s ‘Police and Thieves’ on their debut record, while Bob Marley shouted out to them with 1977’s ‘Punky Reggae Party’.
Hidden away on the b-side of the 12 inch single of ‘London Calling’ was another great foray from The Clash into Jamaican music – the lengthy dub version of ‘Armagideon Time’. It’s a cover – the original version was recorded by Jamaican reggae artist Willie Williams.
The Clash also released a straightforward version of the song as the b-side for the 7 inch single, but it’s the extended dub version that shines. Simonon’s bass is chunky, Mick Jones overdubs electric sitar, and Joe Strummer sounds comfortable with lyrics like “A lot of people won’t get no justice tonight”, because they’re exactly the angle his own lyrics took.
You can find this song of the b-sides collection Super Black Market Clash, which in my opinion, is stronger than most of the band’s studio albums.
Stay around don’t play around
This old town and all
Seems like I got to travel on
A lot of people won’t get no supper tonight
A lot of people won’t get no justice tonight
The battle is gettin’ hotter
In this iration
A lot of people runnin’ and a hiding tonight
A lot of people won’t get no justice tonight
Remember to kick it over
No one will guide you
Graham Fyfe is probably the only music blogger to appreciate Neil Diamond and Ariana Grande. Aphoristic Album Reviews features reviews and blog posts across a growing spectrum of popular music.
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Aphoristic Album Reviews is almost entirely written by one person.
Graham Fyfe is probably the only music blogger to appreciate both Neil Diamond and Ariana Grande. Based in Fleet Street (New Zealand), he's been writing this blog since around 2000. Aphoristic Album Reviews features reviews and blog posts across a growing spectrum of popular music.
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