3 March 2019

Izzy Royal - Coronation Street/ Dub

Proof, if proof were needed, that there's been a reggae cover version of everything...

Label: WEA
Year of Release: 1985

I don't know why so many reggae artists have a penchant for covering well-known but unlikely songs, but the habit runs deep. Beatles fans will be aware of the Trojan box-set of reggae Fabs covers, and readers of this blog will doubtless remember such gems as "Rupert The Bear" and "Space Oddity".

To say I was surprised by the existence of this 45 would be an understatement, however. The soap opera "Coronation Street" is familiar to just about anyone with a British birth certificate, but its bluesy, world-weary instrumental theme - perfect for singing "Oh Coronation Street" along to over and over again if you're that way inclined - wouldn't seem to translate well to any other genre at all.

This single proves that a lilting reggae beat was just waiting to be dropped on to the song after all, as the whole thing hangs together astonishingly well. The cheeky dub version on the flipside even manages to give it a thunderous, clattering, stoned atmosphere.

Whoever is behind this single seems rather shy, as their identity has never been revealed. It was originally released in 1983 under the name The I-Royals as the solitary single on the Media Marvels label, before being picked up in 1985 by the major label WEA. Neither sleeve indicates who played on the record, which suggests it was either session musicians having a lark or a respected reggae artist lying low for fear of credibility loss. For my money, the arrangement of this sounds quite similar to some of Bob Morgan's material around the same period, but that obviously doesn't mean to say it is him - you'll need supersonic ears to accurately identify musicians purely based on instrumental cover versions alone.

Whatever the facts, John Peel picked up on this at the time and was amused enough to give it a number of plays, and it managed to pick up some TV time on Max Headroom's show too, but it clearly didn't sell as well as WEA hoped. A shame - it would have livened up the slightly beige 1985 charts no end.


Arthur Nibble said...

Works better then I expected by some distance. If in a boxing match, this would have knocked out Paul McCartney's "Crossroads" effort in the sixth round.

Mark G said...

John Peel actually gave it space in his "all time Record box" as documented on this wiki page:

The 12" b-side is a longer dubbier version than the 7" b-side which is a fairly straight instrumental. Which you would expect. However, the a-sides on 7" and 12" are the same.

23 Daves said...

Arthur - I quite like McCartney's take on Crossroads, but no, it's not as good as this.

Mark G - I must admit I didn't know Peel had this in his record box, and I thought I'd read up on the contents of that before! It does seem in keeping with his sense of humour.

Mark G said...

Forgot to say, this was previously released independently under the band name "The I-Royals" before the WEA pick-up.


Great oddball stuff! The Dub (side 2) seems to have disappeared?

23 Daves said...

Hi NBR - you just need to refresh the page. More info here:


Ta! Got it now, very nice.