Tuesday, 10 December 2013

I blame Joe Strummer

Cod Reggae: the clue's in the name. If there was an FM station that, heaven forfend, only played this watered down white man's reggae it would probably have the first two Police albums on a permanent loop with 10cc's Dreadlock Holiday thrown in for good measure. And maybe Nice 'n' Sleazy by The Stranglers if they were really pushing the boat out and ting.

Don't get me wrong, if it's done right it can be served up as a delicacy; but for every White Man In Hammersmith Palais there's a Reggae Like It Used To Be (Paul Nicholas really was old enough to know better). Likewise, for every Big Six (Judge Dread was actually on the Trojan label) you've got The Tide Is High - Blondie stylee. Or even worse, Seaside Woman by Linda McCartney; that's right, her take on reggae was about as authentic as her sausages. And before the hate mail comes in, I will gladly put forward Macca's C Moon and praise it to the hilt. Skanking.

Mettlers usually stay well clear of this sort of thing. But Girl were different. That's why I always had a soft spot for them - especially this pleasant little ditty lifted from their 1980 debut album, Sheer Greed: my Cod Reggae guilty pleasure.

7 comments:

  1. For the defence I offer 'Jah War' by The Ruts, with a cod-reggae-guilty-pleasure side order of 'The Worker' by Fischer Z.

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    1. Quite taken with FZ - they could easily have been mistaken for The Attractions.

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  2. The whitest reggae heard by these ears is the theme to QI - a tune that pseudo-skanks (is white skanking - whanking?) along like the 'calypso' setting on a 90s keyboard.

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    2. I'm with you all the way on QI: I'm sure Dream Themes are on the case.

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  3. Ground zero for this kind of thing could be the Decca single titled simply Blue Beat by 'The Beazers' (which was actually studio musos including Jimmie Nicol on drums, and Chris Farlowe on vocal) in 1964. A bit better example though, also on Decca, is Cross My Heart by 'The Exotics' (alleged to be from Liverpool), also out in 1964. A lot of the Mods liked these numbers, not too much later they would become the first suedeheads and skinheads (and that was not racist at all then, they looked to black artists and fashions after all).

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