Bedrock City

Here’s Joe Strummer, sometime in NYC, in a Bedrock City t- shirt. Joe had a thing about cities. His solo career has songs named after at least three (imaginary) cities. To Joe, cities seem to have existed as a state of mind or a condition. With The Clash he spent time in Clash City and Innoculated City.

Trash City came out in 1988, Joe backed by The Latino Rockabilly War. The song was one of five done for the soundtrack to Permanent Record and came out as a single too. Trash City is fantastic, one of those chugging railway guitar riffs and there’s some terrific Joe imagery in the lyrics, American junk culture over a clattering rhythm. It sounds like it could have been written and recorded in five minutes and none the worse for it.

Trash City

Forbidden City was on the first album Joe did with The Mescaleros, 1999’s Rock Art And The X Ray Style, acoustic guitars and bongos, a song for the people of China and a ‘dream of freedom’.

Forbidden City

Bummed Out City is from his second album with The Mescaleros, 2001’s Global A Go Go. Bummed Out City is where Joe resides following a bust up with his wife. ‘It was me/drove off the off- ramp/ of the sweetheart highway’ he sings at the star and then in chorus follows up with ‘we’re in bummed out city/ that signs says/ I plead your mercy and your pity’. A gentle apology over acoustic guitars and a fiddle.

Bummed Out City

Bedrock City was the home town of the Flintstones, ‘the modern Stone Age family’. My ‘research’ shows that there were two Bedrock City theme parks, one in Arizona (which opened in 1972) and one in South Dakota (which opened in 1966). It looks like both are now closed. Whether Joe’s t- shirt came from a trip to one of the two theme parks I don’t know but it paints a nice image in my mind, Joe with leather jacket, quiff and family trawling round some Yabba Dabba Doo rides.

In 1986 Joe’s ex- Clash mate Mick Jones put out Badrock City, an electro/ dub version of their rocking C’mon Every Beatbox single, seven minutes of cut and paste samples, sirens, drum machines and bassline. The single led BAD’s second album, No. 10, Upping Street, a record which Joe produced and on which he co- wrote some of the songs with Mick.

Badrock City

BAD also provided a song for the soundtrack to the 1994 Flintstones movie, a song called Rock With The Caveman. It pens with roaring dinosaur sounds and Fred shouting ‘Wilma, I’m home!!!’ before heading into rock ‘n’ roll pastiche territory, covering a 1956 Tommy Steele song (actually the first British rock ‘n’ roll record to enter the UK top 20, a fact which apparently has pissed Cliff Richard off over the years). You’ll probably only need to listen to this once.

Rock With The Caveman