Page 1 of 10

What’s travel without a good musical accompaniment?

As a DJ, producer and (unwitting) musical historian Wrongtom knows about Jamaican music, and as a Londoner he knows about transport. In celebration of his forthcoming ‘Oystah Card’ 7″ release, an ode to London public transport vocalled by Mark Professor, due for release on the newly minted Rongorock label, Tom offered to run down some of his favourite reggae tracks about transport for us. Strap yourselves in for a trip down reggae’s lesser known streets.

‘Oystah Card’ will be released August 26 on Rongorock – hear the premiere on David Rodigan’s show above. Don’t forget to also check our ‘How To Survive Notting Hill Carnival’ feature if you’re heading to West London this weekend for Europe’s biggest street party. The music in this selection makes for a perfect accompaniment to your journey.



Travel has always been intrinsic to reggae,whether we’re talking Fred Locks taking a trip on Garvey’s ‘Black Star Liner’, Tenor Saw rambling about his ‘Golden Hen’ getting sick in the back of a taxi, or Mark Professor’s ode to modern London public transport ‘Oystah Card’.

Biased as I may be, Mark’s added another great number to a long list of transport themed songs, a few of which I’ve selected for your listening pleasure.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 1/10)

THE ETHIOPIANS
‘Train to Skaville’ (1967)

Let’s start somewhere near the beginning, a little down the line from ska where former mento singer Jack Sparrow took his vocal group The Ethiopians down a few gears, turning out this slow chugger of a rocksteady number. Pick your seat.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 2/10)

ERROL DIXON
‘Midnight Train’ (1961)

In the timely Jamaican tradition of rhythm n blues do-overs, Errol Dixon favoured the hackneyed subject of his baby coming back to him on a midnight train. Poor Errol’s baby went away so much that she was later revisited on a ‘Midnight Bus’ and once again on the ‘Midnight Express’.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 3/10)

KEITH & TEX
‘Stop That Train’ (1967)

Speaking of babies leaving, this particular baby had either Keith or Tex willing to risk a sizeable fine just to ride a few stops with her in the hope of maybe getting her to stay. Such antics would never rinse in the quiet carriage during rush hour.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 4/10)

DENNIS ALCAPONE
‘Engine Engine Number 9’ (19??)

Still on the train flex, Dennis is the first of our transport deejays crying his way down the track over this soul infused rhythm from the Treasure Isle stable.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 5/10)

EARLY B
‘Learn Fi Drive’ (1985)

Sick of public transport, Earlando ‘Early B’ Neil took matters into his own hands with a trip to the DVLA (or Jamaica’s equivalent) promising “mi don’t get frightened, mi don’t get panicked” and was soon out on the open road for a Sunday spin with his son riding shotgun.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 6/10)

AMBILIQUE
‘Taxi’ (19??)

On the other hand the sweet voiced Ambelique preferred to be chauffeured across town, giving a name to Sly & Robbie’s evergreen ‘Taxi’ rhythm that later spawned the equally transport-heavy ‘Driver’ by Buju Banton.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 7/10)

ASHER SENATOR
‘Original Car Style’ (19??)

Another car connoisseur, UK fast style originator Asher Senator gave us the once over on a nice runaround with one lady owner, top gear delivery and the kind of intricate imagery which placed our home grown MCs in a different league to many of their Jamaican contemporaries. Fashion Records main man Chris Lane would later quit the label to take up taxi driving.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 8/10)

EARLY B
‘Bicycle, Bicycle’ (19??)

Back to Jamaica and back to Early B. I’m not sure whether this was pre-‘Learning Fi Drive’ or the result of a few too many points on his licence but at some point Earlando was donning his bicycle clip and dilly dallying, footloose and fancy free the way they do in Beijing.

Use your keyboard’s arrow keys or hit the prev / next arrows on your screen to turn pages (page 9/10)

SISTER NANCY
‘Transport Connection’ (1982)

Wrapping things up nicely is New York MC Sister Nancy whose ‘Transport Connection’ joined the dots from motorbikes to jet planes and back to bicycles again. Nancy clearly just liked to travel and invited you along for the ride whether you were a driver or a walking by foot kind of person.

Page 1 of 10
Latest Stories

Latest

Share Tweet
+