Where I Learned To Play

By the late 1990s Joe Strummer was emerging from of his wilderness years and able to look back at fucking things up so badly with The Clash and the commercial failure of Earthquake Weather. His 1999 album Rock, Art And The X Ray Style, the first with The Mescaleros, is much underrated but contains a bunch of good songs. This one was written for Johnny Cash and has some basic clattering drum machine percussion, a low key guitar part and Joe looking back at his early years. One of his gifts was being able to take a simple lyrical idea, something honest and sincere, and make something moving out of it, turning a little piece of personal hard-earned wisdom into something universal.

The Road To Rock ‘n’ Roll

Ghost Twang

There were thousands of instrumental rock ‘n’ roll groups in the US during the 50s and 60s. The Ramrods from Connecticut had a hit with a cover of (Ghost) Riders In The Sky, first a hit for Vaughan Monroe in 1949 but maybe best known to us in its Johnny Cash version. This instrumental cover has the twang and those Ramrods bend the strings to spooky and rockin’ effect.

(Ghost) Riders In The Sky

I Ain’t Seen The Sunshine Since I Don’t Know When

Despite Nigel Blackwell’s withering put down of the middle aged male Johnny Cash fan on Half Man Half Biscuit’s new masterpiece (go buy it here if you haven’t already), I can’t get enough of this song at the moment. The stuff of myth and legend.

After describing the terror of being cornered by a pissed Johnny Cash fan who goes on and on about the man in black, Nigel segues into…
‘I wear a wrist watch on this arm of mine
I keep my flies wide open all the time
And I shot a man in Tesco
Just to watch him die’
…which is the kind of thing we pay our entrance money for.

>Cash Train


Arriving at Platform One tonight, in place of our scheduled Friday Night Is Rockabilly track, is the Orange Blossom Special which set off in 1965 and rattles along, whoop-whooping as it goes. I don’t know if it’s folk or country or rock ‘n’ roll or what- it’s just a cracking Johnny Cash song. It also has one of the coolest album covers ever. Get it on vinyl to appreciate it fully.

01 Orange Blossom Special.wma#1#1