The spiky dread time line is as vague as the sub genre, roughly beginning in ’76 at the Roxy and ending a decade later but there’s the odd record which might fall a little out of the boundaries while still deserving a mention. Another One Rides The Bus by big Audio Dynamite is exactly the kind of oddity I’m referring to.
B.A.D were a marmite band, loved by Clash completists and loathed by punk rock purists. Mick Jones’ love of hiphop and electro had been dividing fans and record execs for some time, so when he finally got the heave-ho, B.A.D came together in ’84, quickly notching up a couple of chart hits in the process.
Though hip hop formed the backbone for the sound, reggae and sound system culture created their aesthetic. B.A.D’s Nottinghill locale seemed ever present, the Westway and Trellick Tower looming over photoshoots years before they became band cliches, and the band themselves added some reggae credentials. Bassist Leo Williams was a former member of dreaded-post-punks Basement 5, later to form Screaming Target and Dreadzone with fellow B.A.D men Greg Roberts and Dan Donovan, and I don’t really need to discuss Don Letts’ dub-love again I’m sure.
Despite this, their tracks rarely referenced reggae (overtly at least), until their 2nd LP which featured the downbeat chugger Sightsee MC!, a track which owed as much to Jamaican dancehall as E=MC2 owed to New York’s Danceteria. Although Sightsee is very much a hip hop crossover, the low slung digital lope has more than a passing nod to Jammy’s Sleng Teng (a track which holds further relevance to punk-reggae but that’s a tale for another day).
Which brings us to Another One Rides The Bus, a dub mix of Sightsee MC from the 12″ released in ’87. The original in fact appeared on their sophomore LP from ’86 Number 10 Upping St but the single didn’t drop til a year later, scaling the nether regions of the UK top 100.
With Paul ‘Groucho’ Smykle, a mainstay of the UK dub industry, manning the faders, the Sightsee rhythm gets ripped apart and dislocated into an early example of digital dub at it’s most creative, the echoing drums and doom-laden synth stabs predate some of dubstep’s more spacious experiments by nearly two decades.
Also of note is the 12″ mix by New York hip hop pioneer Sam Sever but for now feast your ears on Groucho’s dub deconstruction…
And if that’s not enough, have a look at some fuzzy vhs footage of them performing the original live…