I was all set to continue my current vow of Skank Blog silence until our cinematic associate Josh from Cigarette Burns reminded me that today would have been Joe Strummer’s 59th birthday, and seeing as The Clash have barely had a look in here in the Bolognaverse, it was time to give the ambassador of skanky punk his dues.
There’s a robust body of work to sift through when picking choice moments from The Clash’s reggae repertoire, and every track is well worth sharing but, so as to not get carried away, I’ve whittled this post down to just one song, Bankrobber.
This lolloping lament to a fictitious father with a penchant for heists, and an aversion to hurting folks was a top 20 hit back in 1980. The rich and dense production elevates this (commercially at least) above the usual skinny skankings found in most spiky dread offerings, yet the recording remains steeped in the scratchiness of punk, and the revelry of vintage rock n roll.
Produced by dub/radio veteran Mikey Dread, Bankrobber was intended to be released in true reggae fashion as a 12″ replete with versions. The label eventually rejected the full release, though Mikey Dread’s own re-voicing Rockers Galore… UK Tour adorned the 7″ while Robber Dub wound up on the largely reggae related compilation Black Market Clash later that year.
All three versions follow, plus some footage from a 1980 performance at the Capitol Theatre in New Jersey featuring a rare cameo from Mikey Dread himself…