Didn't you feel there was something important missing from this week's TOTP half hour edit?
Ruby's Flipper now. Well, he's getting there. And again, Mr Travis, is this your show or music's?
Thing is, we feel the Johnny Pearson orchestra aren't quite reflecting the roots riddim fullness of the recorded version.
Paul Nicholas - Reggae Like It Used To Be
Still not exactly Trenchtown and there's still that sax solo, but the percussion and organ are getting there. That look to camera, however, is just unnerving. Nobody can say he isn't making full use of that cane, though.
That song's popularity with prime time music fans made us think. Perhaps due to its loping nature and relative novelty, inauthentic reggae was quite common in its day. We all know about Sting and post-Labour Of Love UB40, but as far as white westerners getting their I and I on and celebrating the act and art of reggae in a way reggae never requested they are the Beatles by comparison...
Let's start with 1971's Ben Sherman shirt of a song Johnny Reggae by the Piglets, written and produced by a man we daren't name not out of PC-ness but because he has a habit of turning up on forums and suchlike where he's mentioned in whatever context. This is a common cause of Nicholas-style inauthentic reggae, the belief that that third beat emphasis rhythm and going 'reggae' a lot makes a record automatically irie. Much as the narrator being called Mavis ages it exactly, even Lorraine Chase blanches at that much of an accent. "He's stupid over football and he looks me in the eyes when he shoots"? I see.
Mind you, it's not just fly by nights wanting to make a chart buck that went for it. Here's Sandie Shaw.
From 1972 and a show called 2G's And The Pop People, a LWT vehicle for The Second Generation (the difficult second TV dance troupe after the Lythgoe-spawning The Young Generation). They could stage a performance - Scott Walker, for instance - but someone, even in an age where The Black and White Minstrel Show was still going, green lighted an inexplicable mix of Shaw's uncomfortable RP-from-Jamaica, a version of music hall standard Burlington Bertie, hats and the lyric "reggae is alive, you can ask Leeroy and Clive". Sandie Shaw retired from performing later that year.
And then... then, there's comedy reggae.
Russ Abbot, or as the track is credited on the 1983 Madhouse album King Wilf and the Rastaplasts, with Burnley Is Babylon. It's that mixture of ITV sitcom theme horns, dub echo, northern slang and the idea of Russ Abbot laying down references to "smoking the 'erb" that makes it such a winner, I feel.
So there's our candidates. Feel free to leave comments adding links to examples of similarly non-roots reggae that can match up to all of the above.