Tuesday, March 20, 2018

1967 Ska Classic: The Pyramids (Symarip) - "Train Tour To Rainbow City" (information, lyrics, sound file, comments)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post showcases the now classic 1967 Ska song "Train Tour To Rainbow City" by The Pyramids.

My attempted transcription of "Train Tour To Rainbow City is song is included in this post because I couldn't find any lyrics to this song online. Please help correct and complete this transcription.

Three YouTube examples of this song are included in this post along with selected comments from two of these examples' discussion threads.

The Addendum to this post presents information about Eddy Grant, the composer of "Train Tour To Rainbow City". The Addendum also presents information about The Pyramids (Symarip) music group.

The content of this post is presented for historical, cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

Thanks to Eddy Grant and The Pyramids for their musical legacies. Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publishers of these YouTube examples.

(composer Eddy Grant; performed by The Pyramids)

This train is bound for Rainbow City.
All aboard!

Come on and get in.
Here we are goin to Rainbow City
A whole heap of Black people live there.


A lot of Black vulgar women live there
[indistinguishable exchange]
Oh yeah.

For a moment if you care to look out the window you will see the house of Judge 400 years,
better known as Judge Dread.
Spotlight on Jude dread.

Now, if you care to look out the window, slightly to the right, you will see the house of Zacky Paul.
You all know Zacky Pont.
[Of course, mon. I know the guy...]
Alright. I know him well.

A bit to the left please. And a moment of silence for the dead Rude Boy.
You can see his grave.
Silence please.

Carefully to the right, mind you, very carefully
and you will see the house of Prince Buster.
[Who is Buster, Rasta?]
He is a man that has given me competition. So hush up. Hush up.

Two miles now for Phoenix City.
You all know Phoenix City.
[Yes. Yes, mon...]
Alright, so for tell me about that.
[...It’s there]
Rougher than rough
in Phoenix City.
Yeah, I know.

We are now in Phoenix City.
This train travels fast.
[Will it stop?]
No, sir. (pronounced like "sah"). It only stops in on Sundays and today is Monday.

Please! One mile to Skaville and two miles to Rainbow City.
Let me go! Heh! Heh! Heh! Heh!
Ya’ll fit? Rude Boys up there.

We are now in Skaville.
Take ah look to the right.
Take ah look to the left.
Take ah look-
Alright. Look all around
And you will see the bad Black people that live in Skaville.
You see them?
[Oh my, I can’t see them.]
You can’t see them?
Take a look carefully
Your eyesight is bad.
Must be bad.

By the way, we are now in Rainbow City.
[man exclaiming with joy]
Do you like it?
[Of course...]
You see all the big Black bad women
And do you like it?
[Yes, man]
Do you like it?
[Of course …Look at that little thing there mon, that sweet thing.]
Train docks in two minutes.
Quicker the better, quicker the better
All these Black people I go see
[song fades out]
Transcription by Azizi Powell from sound files of this song.

Most of the words are spoken by the male "tour guide". The words in brackets are spoken by "a male passenger on the train". "???" means that I'm not sure what was said. Ellipses (...) means that I'm not sure what was said by the passenger after the words I think that I heard.

Read comment #3 below for Example #2 for a possible explanation regarding the reference to "Zachy Paul" in these lyrics.

Here's a comment that is likely about that same man:
"...Rudeboy Emannuel Zacheriah Zachepaul ! Hush Up ! Order !..Prince Buster King Of BlueBeat..what a lyrical construction !"
That comment is found in the discussion thread for a
Click for the pancocojams post that showcases that Prince Buster song.

The word "bad" in this song has the African American Vernacular English meaning "good".

Example #1: TRAIN TOUR TO RAINBOW CITY the pyramids 1967 skinhead reggae

Bootboysgoonforever, Published on Feb 15, 2009

president label 1967

(eddie grant ) the pyramids
Here are two comments from this sound file's discussion thread
Hadas Hall, 2008
"Roy Ellis is the vocalist , ask him he's still gigging!"

looniechewnz, 2011
"No this is Roy Ellis singing who became Mr. Symarip (Skinhead Moonstomp Etc..)"

Example #2: The Pyramids - Train Tour To Rainbow City

jimmytheferret, Published on Jun 15, 2008

Great slab of chugalong ska from the pen of Eddie Grant in 1967.

"Train Tour to Rainbow City" by Symarip Pyramid
Here are a few comments from this sound file's discussion thread (with numbers assigned for referencing purposes only).

1. paulthepill, 2008
"big up jimmy...i,ve been searching this for years... black vulgar women...nice..."

2. mrdaddylonglegs, 2009
"who the hell is Zacky Pont!!!!"

3. LQUID8R, 2009
"Sounds like he means Emmanuel Zacariah Zachepa h(?) one of the unlucky guys that comes up in front of Judge Dread along with two Gun Tex and george GrabandFlee"

4. Sue Feeney, 2009
"Wow thank you Jimmytheferret. Loved this for 42 years - scary. "You are now n Rainbow City" and I am now in nostalgia heaven!. Skanking around the room here - never knew it was Eddy Grant though. Takes me far away and back to SE London in the 60's - such music and what a time. : ) Sue"

5. Bluemauvey, 2010
" "Who is Buster, Rasta?
He is a man that has given me great competition, hush up!"


6. keasyman, 2017
"This track should be part of the national school's music curriculum!!

7. engine-54, 2018
"true true true!!"


Symarippyramid Music, Published on Jun 30, 2012

There are no comments for this video (as of the date of the publication of this pancocojams post.

"Edmond Montague "Eddy" Grant (born 5 March 1948) is a Guyanese-British musician. He was a founding member of the Equals, one of the United Kingdom's first racially integrated pop groups. He is also known for a successful solo career that includes the platinum single "Electric Avenue". He also pioneered the genre ringbang.


In 1965, Grant formed The Equals, playing guitar and singing background vocals, and the band had two hit albums and a minor hit with the single "I Get So Excited" before having a number one hit in 1968 with his self-penned song "Baby Come Back".[7] The tune also topped the UK Singles Chart in 1994, when covered by Pato Banton featuring Robin and Ali Campbell of the reggae group UB40.[8] The Equals had five further top 40 hits in the UK up to the end of 1970.[9] The Baby Come Back album featured a song by Grant titled, "Police on My Back" which was covered by The Clash on their 1980 album Sandinista!.[10] Willie Nile released his cover of "Police on My Back" on his Streets of New York CD.[11] The Equals' song "Green Light" co-written by Grant from their 1968 album Supreme, was covered by The Detroit Cobras, on their 2007 album, Tied & True.[12]

In this period he also worked as a songwriter and producer for other artists, including The Pyramids (producing their debut single "Train Tour to Rainbow City") and Prince Buster, for whom he wrote "Rough Rider", and started the Torpedo record label, releasing British-made reggae singles.”...

Sunday, April 3, 2011
"A Musical Tribute To Eddy Grant: The Songwriter Behind 'Rough Rider' And 'Police On My Back'
....[Eddie] Grant is a pioneer and trailblazer who has left his mark on ska, reggae, calypso, rock and pop music and perhaps more than anyone else deserves credit for merging and combining the best of Black and White music beginning in the mid-60's all the way through the mid 80's. Many of Grant's songs, whether bubble gum pop, skin head soul, reggae or garage punk always display a lyrical or musical edge of some kind. What's so impressive to me about Grant is the variety of hats he has worn throughout his long and successful musical career. He's been Eddy the songwriter, Eddy the producer, Eddy the singer, Eddy the studio musician, Eddy the studio owner, and even Eddy the indie-label president.

While you may be very familiar with Grant's hits from the 80's like 'Electric Avenue' and 'Romancing The Stone' did you know Grant was the song writer behind a number of iconic ska and reggae tracks? Grant penned Prince Busters rocksteady classic 'Rough Rider' and The Clash's popular rock anthem 'Police On My Back'. That's not to mention the many other genre breaking songs he wrote with The Equals including 'Baby Come Back' 'Black Skinned Blue Eyed Boys' and as a solo artist including 'Hello Africa', and 'Living On The Frontline'.

Blazing out of London in the mid 60's Grant help to found The Equals who mixed up fuzzy garage pop rock with healthy helpings of soul and proto-ska and reggae. The band also made pop culture history by being one of the very first multi-racial bands creating the rough template for 2-Tone bands some ten years later. Signed to the independent label President Records, Grant was asked to work with label mates The Pyramids -- later to become Symarip -- who had backed Prince Buster on his recent U.K. tour. Besides composing songs for the band (and one for Prince Buster himself, the rude classic 'Rough Rider' later covered by The English Beat), Grant also wrote and produced The Pyramids debut single and sole U.K. skinhead reggae hit, 'Train to Rainbow City.' According to an interview Grant did with the Miami New Times in 1994,
"By the time I started playing pop music with the Equals, I had been experimenting with different ethnic forms for a while," Grant recalls. "One of them was ska -- most people don't know that I made the first successful British ska record, 'Train Tour to Rainbow City,' which went to number 31 [on the British pop charts] in 1966. I was the first to add strings to reggae music, also in 1966. The great Prince Buster copied two of my songs -- he tried to steal them, but the law stopped him and he eventually gave me credit -- 'Train Tour to Rainbow City,' which he called 'Train Toward the Girls Town,' and 'Rough Rider,' which was covered by the English Beat. And they credited Buster for it!"
Notice that Eddy Grant gives 1966 as the date for the record "Train Tour To Rainbow City" while other online sources that I've read give that date as 1967.

Since "Train Tour To Rainbow City" mentions Prince Buster's 1967 song "Judge Dread", it appears that Eddy Grant may have misspoken when he gave that 1966 date.

Click for a YouTube sound file of Prince Buster's cover of "Train Tour To Rainbow City" which is entitled "Train To Girls Town".

"Symarip (also known at various stages of their career as The Bees, The Pyramids, Seven Letters and Zubaba) were a ska and reggae band from the United Kingdom, originating in the late 1960s, when Frank Pitter and Michael Thomas founded the band as The Bees. The band's name was originally spelled Simaryp, which is an approximate reversal of the word pyramids.[1] Consisting of members of West Indian descent, Simaryp is widely marked as one of the first skinhead reggae bands, being one of the first to target skinheads as an audience. Their hits included "Skinhead Girl", "Skinhead Jamboree" and "Skinhead Moonstomp", the latter of which was based on the Derrick Morgan song, "Moon Hop".

They moved to Germany in 1971, performing reggae and Afro-rock in Germany under the name Zubaba. In 1980, the single "Skinhead Moonstomp" was re-issued in the wake of the 2 Tone craze, hitting No. 54 on the UK Singles Chart.[2][3] The band officially split in 1985 after releasing the album Drunk & Disorderly as The Pyramids. The album was released by Ariola Records and was produced by Stevie B.

Pitter and Ellis eventually moved back to England, where Ellis continued performing as a solo artist, sometimes using the stage name Mr. Symarip. Mike Thomas, who had moved to Switzerland and met a Finnish girl there, moved to Finland where he worked as a musician, doing the groundwork for the Finnish reggae culture through his band Mike T. Saganor. Monty Neysmith moved to the United States, where he toured as a solo artist.

In 2004, Trojan Records released a best of album that included a new single by Neysmith and Ellis, "Back From the Moon". In 2005, Neysmith and Ellis performed together at Club Ska in England, and a recording of the concert was released on Moon Ska Records as Symarip – Live at Club Ska. In April 2008, they headlined the Ska Splash Festival in Lincolnshire as Symarip, and later performed at the Endorse-It and Fordham Festivals. Pitter and Thomas now perform in a different band as Symarip Pyramid. Their Back From The Moon Tour 2008–2009 was with The Pioneers. In 2009, to celebrate the rebirth of the band and the reunion of the two original members, Trojan Records released a compilation album, Ultimate Collection. Pitter holds all copyright and trademark rights for the name Symarip Pyramid."

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