Know Your Rights - Lynval Golding & The Contra Group

from the EP Know Your Rights (2016)

I've been thinking a bit about Joe Strummer lately.  Thinking about his music and voice as instruments of social justice.  Thinking about how much he would dig other people covering these songs.

One song that has been on my mind is Know Your Rights, the lead track on Combat Rock.  I remember the day the album came out and racing to the record store to pick it up.  The opening guitars followed by Joe proclaiming "This is a public service announcement... with GUITARS" seemed so brilliant that day, as did other lines from the tune like:

You have the right, not to be killed
Murder is a crime
Unless it is done by a policeman
Or an aristocrat

Why has this song not earned its due in the long list of great Clash tunes.  I don't get it.

Well, apparently neither does Lynval Golding.  The great MC for The Specials has recorded an EP with the Austin, Texas' The Contra Group that features a stirring cover of this favorite tune.

The song lends itself well to a reggae/ska framework.  The rhythm section lays down a strong foundation for some tasteful guitar leads  and swelling horns.  I've been blasting it in the headphones all day.

I also need to mention how much I dig Lynval Golding.  I recently caught The Specials in NYC and his warmth and charm were a true highlight.  The man loved playing for the audience and it was reciprocated.  Bravo.

Click Here to watch a music video for Lynval Golding & The Contra Group performing Know Your Rights.

Click Here to listen to the original version of Know Your Rights by The Clash.