Year of Release: 1980
Coventry's ska scene was big news by 1980, with The Specials and the Two Tone label propelling many records towards the charts and Top of the Pops slots. As always, for every winner there had be at least a few losers, and indeed The Reluctant Stereotypes, despite their major label deal and sharp looks, tend to be tipp-exed out of most written histories of the revival.
A quick spin of "Confused Action" hints towards why they might have sidelined. While most of the popular output of the time had grit and edge and rattled along at a breakneck pace, this single ebbs and flows smoothly, topped off with clean, sweet and considered vocals. Nonetheless, despite this it's an enjoyable record and - even if it doesn't sound like a top ten hit - has more than enough charm to see it through.
The B-side is much more curious. "School Life" muses on the usual obstacles of a schoolboy's existence, but ends on some rather Derek and Clive-esque musings on peadophile schoolteachers. One to file away carefully in the "You probably couldn't get away with it nowadays" box.
While the Reluctant Stereotypes never managed a hit, Paul Sampson later went on to join Coventry indie stars The Primitives while Paul King went on to form the flamboyant 80s pop band King, who were an inescapable proposition in 1985. There's a huge article in the Coventry Telegraph about the Reluctant Stereotypes which reveals a lot more about their music and their history - if only local London newspapers bothered to go into such detail about the city's musical heritage…