The Clash

Car Jamming

Song Review by

One of the most creatively successful tracks from the spotty Combat Rock, "Car Jamming" is the Clash's final foray into roots reggae. Even at that, this isn't much like "Guns of Brixton" or the Sandinista!-era dub mixes, but an odd but effective mixture of a heavy reggae bassline (which, bizarrely, is so far down in the mix that at times it's barely audible), a prominent drum track that's a sort of slowed-down variation on the Bo Diddley beat, a scratchy rhythm guitar, and several droning post-punk guitar lines that drift in and out of the mix in a kind of narcotic haze. Over this multi-ethnic mishmash, Joe Strummer delivers one of his most surreal stream-of-consciousness lyrics, a spew of disconnected imagery that never quite coalesces into anything more than an impressionistic view of a nameless, disorienting city and ends with a non sequitur rant about spotting Lauren Bacall in traffic. Weird, but undeniably oddly effective.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Combat Rock 1982 Columbia / Col 4:00
The Clash/London Calling/Combat Rock [2000] 2000 Epic / Sony Music Distribution 4:00