Kinky Reggae Party

Vile.

The multicultural poppets Kids International were, in fact, anything but international, having been put together by BBC TV producer Ernest Maxin for the 19882 series of the Les Dawson Show, as Louis Barfe reveals in his excellent biography The Trials and Triumphs of Les Dawson. The majority of them stepped straight out of a London stage school. Their only experience of culture outside of Britain would have been eating at a branch of KFC.

‘I decided to get a United Nations of children together, between the ages of six and eleven’, Maxin said. ‘I auditioned about a thousand kids of all different races within the Home Counties radius.’ Designed as comic foil for Dawson, as well as providing musical interludes, the act proved so successful that Maxin was ‘getting letters in to my office in dustbin liners. Thousands of them.’ It was at this point that Dawson’s agent decided to drop the little scene-stealers from the show.

Their success lead to the act being signed to Magnet records, and two 45s were issued: You Promised Me/Sing a Song of Love and Reggae Round the World/If I Had a Hammer/Danny Boy. No doubt hoping to cash in on the then-current craze for kiddie reggae (Musical Youth would soon hit Number One in the UK with Pass The Dutchie), the a-sides of both singles feature Kids International performing the kind of pop/reggae hybrid that could not possibly offend anyone but, actually, offends me to the very core.

Reggae Round the Worldwas co-written by Maxin and Ivor Raymonde, who we’ve featured here before. Raymonde also produced both singles. Despite what you may have read elsewhere, Ivor was Whistling Jack Smith, as his son, former Cocteau twin Simon raymonde, revealed to me a few months back. In a long career Ivor arranged Laurie’s wonderful I Love Onions, worked with Joe Meek and Dusty Springfield, arranged and conducted the orchestra on Kinky Boots etc. etc. Simon tells me that he’s working on a 2-LP compilation of his later father’s work, for release via his Bella Union label this year. I’ve no idea what became of the youngsters involved… my guess is that many of them are now appearing in EastEnders or in local rep, desperate to live down their brief brush with pop fame.

Here’s both sides of that second 45: Reggae Round the World the poptastic If I Had a Hammer and a truly vomit-worthy rendition of the old Irish standard Londonderry Air, rendered here under it’s better-known alias Danny Boy.

Enjoy!

Download Reggae HERE



Download Hammer HERE



Download Danny HERE

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