Joe Strummer Vs. The Tennors: Ride Your Donkey

version-galore-aHere’s a little version throwdown! Take two versions of the same song and let em fight it out. Which one do you like better? Does the newer version add anything to the original to make it more interesting or does it just pale in comparison?

First up we have two heavyweights going head to head!

The Tennors originally released their hit “Ride Your Donkey” in 1968 and it of course went on to be a huge hit. It was originally released on their own Tennors label as well as a Prince Buster Olive Blossom pressing in Jamaica backed by another now classic gem “Cleopatra”.

It appeared in the UK on a blue Prince Buster FAB label and Island (WI 3133) where the b-side was listed as “I’ve Got To Get You Off My Mind” instead of the original “Cleopatra”.

The tune has never been off the charts in the minds of true Reggae lovers though. Joe Strummer was of course a die hard fan of the music from Jamaica as seen with his work in The Clash. So when he found himself inspired to concentrate on his own material in Los Angeles again in the late 80’s he assembled a group of musicians that were be soon to be called The Latino Rockabilly War.

From those sessions with Willie Mcneil (Jump With Joey) Zander Schloss (The Circle Jerks and The Weirdos), Lonnie Marshall (Weapon of Choice), Jack Irons (Red Hot Chili Peppers) they recorded and released an album called Earthquake Weather in 1989. It didn’t sell especially well at the time but was well received. Included on the album was Joe and company’s version of the classic Tennor’s tune.

Below are the videos for each version. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

The Tennors

VS

Joe Strummer

LYRICS
When I was but a little laddie
My Daddy bought a fiddle for me
And the only tune that I could play
Yes the only tune that I could play
Was

Ride your donkey
Nothing for me
Gallop your donkey
In a major key

Deep within his heart
Daddy knowed that I was smart
And the only tune that I could play
Yes the only tune that I could play
Was

Ride your donkey
Nothing for me
Gallop your donkey
In a major key
Ride your donkey

I've been involved in the Los Angeles music scene since at least 1995 going to shows, promoting, spinning records and running labels. Ska and Early Reggae are my passion among other things of course.