‘My reggae tastes only cover the 70s. None of your Shabba Ranks round here, sunshine. I strictly roots I think you’ll find.’ So wrote Luke Haines in his 2011 book Post Everything: Outsider Rock and Roll.

I stretch into the first half of the 1980s myself, and I not so strictly roots. I even thought it was a good idea to buy the first couple of UB40 albums. After the death of Bob Marley, my interest in reggae began to wane. On reflection, maybe that was partly down to a big decrease in my ganja intake.

So no Shabba Ranks round my way either, and definitely none of the ragga and dancehall artists from the era when ridiculously sexist and insanely homophobic lyrics became commonplace. Tracks like Beenie Man’s Damn which boasts: ‘I’m dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays,’ really ain’t my ting.

Before the latest of my picks of the best records of 1977, here’s a track that I was tempted to choose in its place. This is Marcia Aitken’s heartbreaking Still in Love With You, originally released in Jamaica on the Joe Gibbs Record Globe label, while coming out on Lightning Records in Britain.

Two years ago, the song again found itself in the limelight when Beyoncé used it to announce her On The Run II tour with hubby Jay-Z in a much viewed TV ad. Payment to Marcia Aitken? Not one thin dime. Maybe Beyoncé was feeling the pinch at the time even though the tour reportedly went on to gross over $250 million.

Alton Ellis is another artist who deserves to have had much more money ponied up to him over the years. I know very little about the man other than he has been called the Godfather of Rocksteady and that he doesn’t seem to have been a litiginous man.

Obviously, if you know Uptown Top Ranking, you’ll be almost instantly struck by the similarities between that song and Still In Love With You. Both share the same riddim, which was originated in 1967 by Ellis on his Coxsone Dodd produced Studio 1 single Still In Love. Marcia Aitken’s single did credit him as its composer but he failed to gain any recognition from a number of artists, including the pair who perform our next track.

The sole hit here by teenagers Althea (not Althia) Rose Forrest and Donna Marie Reid, the lyrics of Uptown Top Ranking largely remain, all these years later, a mystery to me. What the pair meant by the line ‘Nah Pop, No Style, A Strictly Roots’, for example, I have no idea.

1977 was arguably a great year for Pop. Britain’s bestselling single of the year was Abba’s Knowing Me, Knowing You. Some of my fellow Scots have recently been professing their love for another huge hit, Baccara’s Yes Sir, I Can Boogie, but Uptown Top Ranking was surely the most irresistible pop single of 1977.

Strictly roots? I must have another definition for the term.

No style? Okay, one was often seen wearing Deirdre Barlow specs, but the lyrics suggest they both believe they’re leaders in the sartorial stakes, each in their khaki suit and ting, and gorgeous too – to the extent they brag about giving men heart attacks when they see them in their alter backs (which I’m guessing are halter tops).

Again, this is a track that I first heard on John Peel’s Radio 1 show and his championing of it played a big part in its success. Peel placed it at #2 in his 1977 Festive Fifty and the single entered the UK charts in the run up to Christmas. By the tail end of January 1978, it had knocked Wings’ dirge Mull of Kintyre off the top of the chart after its nine week stay. Althea and Donna would enjoy only one week at the top and, unlike Wings, their single failed to sell over two million copies nationwide. But it should have been the other way around.

Let’s get back to the aforementioned Luke Haines. This is from the time when the pop conceptualist teamed up with former Jesus and Mary Chain drummer John Moore and vocalist Sarah Nixey to become Black Box Recorder.

I’m a sucker for posho sounding females talking through a song, and here this is supplied by Sarah Nixey, whose deadpan and detached delivery was achieved, according to Haines in Post Everything, by her being unaware of the original and mightily hungover: ‘We write out the lyrics – mainly Jamaican patois which we cannot make out – phonetically, and she reads them out into the microphone in one take, with the enthusiasm of a cash and carry shelf stacker.’

Works for me. From the 1998 album England Made Me, here is Black Box Recorder and their offbeat version of Uptown Top Ranking: