Trojan Box Set (Singles) - Various Artists
1 CD(s) - Reggae - Label: Trojan - Distributor: Universal Music - Released: 06/09/1999 - 766126101297
1 reviews from the community
Review of "Trojan Box Set (Singles) - Various Artists"
---WHAT'S THIS THEN?---
It's a 3CD, 50-track box-set collating early reggae tracks from a record label called Trojan. Set up in Britain in the mid-1960's, as a subsiduary of the Island label, it was intended as a menas of bringing the hot new sounds of Jamaica over to the ex-pats living in the UK.
In the mid-70's Trojan fell behind the times and subsequently went into administration. They were brought out of receivership by Saga who concentrated more of albums rather than singles and consequently the 7" single under the Trojan banner was phased out.30 of the 50 tracks on this album appear on CD for the first time given their previus rarity.
This box-set is one of many themed sets currently on the market. Others include UK Singles, Dub, Instrumental, Reggae Sisters, Soulful Reggae, Reggae Brothers, Lovers, Ska and Calypso. There are many others coming onto the market. Trojan is enjoying something of an Indian summer with their reissuing of nearly every track from their vaults. I estimate there are around 30 of these themed box-sets on the market and occasionally songs from one set does overlap onto another, but with such a wealth of material available to the compilers, it does happen too much.---WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE?---
Forget UB40, Sean Paul, Shaggy or even Bob Marley because this is reggae in its purest form. My friend heard it in my car and remarked: "were these songs recorded in a shed?"
What you have to remember is that these joyous songs were recorded just after Jamaica's independence from Great Britain in 1962. Although the sovereignty-free status isn't an issue, the date is.There were few recording studios or facilities in the early 1960's and those that did exist had the most basic four-track mixing desks with limited scope for any producers to work their magic. Some songs on these CDs sound murky; others a little clearer, but all have one thing in common: they were recorded in Jamaica with a naive but celebratory spirit that music these days tends to lack.
Because of the sheer volume of tracks, I'll just stick to a little one-line description of each track. normaly I go mad, giving stats and opinions, but I've already bored you guys, probably, so I'll keep 'em brief.
1. The Jivers: Our Love Will Last
Lovely, summery old ska tune. Bloody hard to dance to, though. Crucial.
2. Brother Dan Allstars: Eastern Organ
Zippy instrumental that's over before you know it. Concise.
Wicked melody, a track bemoaning a lecherous love rival. Threatening.
4. Val Bennett: South Parkway Rock
A ska instrumental from 1967. Bit of a weak link on this CD. Average.
6. The Silverstars: Promises
Double helping from the Jamaican vocal quartet. Lovely harmonies. Beautiful.
7. Clancy Eccles: Bangarang Crash
A noted producer, Eccles takes the limelight on this breezy ska track. Nice.
From 1969, a cool instrumental with shrill brass. Grating.
9. Tyrone Evans: You Done Me Wrong
Heartbreaking vocals from an underrated R&B crooner. Delicate.
More instrumental capers from the All Stars. A cover of the Pioneers' track. Fat.
12. The Melodians: Banana Water
Instrumental with bold brass section, murky production. Swampy.
13. Derrick Morgan: Copy Cat
The best singer on this CD back with another superb, nippy little track. Essential.
What a reggae barbershop quartet would sound like. Harmonious.
15. Beverley's All Stars: Smoke Screen
Third offering from the band without a singer. Zippy.
Love the title, bad production. Instrumental.
17. Beverley's All Stars: Busy Bee
Guess what? It's an instrumental but a very brisk one at that. Chirpy.
1. Ken Boothe: Keep My Love From Fading
The man who covered Everything I Own and took it to number 1, this is similar. Classy.
2. Techniques All Stars: Eldora
An instrumental of remarkable polish. Wicked bassline. Plucky.
Rebel MC nicked the bass for Street Tuff. The original and best. Sublime.
4. Hot Rod All Stars: Virgin Soldiers
Instrumental with a flute solo! Bizarre.
Great lovers rock moment from a sweet soul voice. Enchanting.
6. Rupie Edwards All Stars: Kinky Funky Reggae
King of pop-dub, provides a Marley Cover. Patchy.
Beautifully executed, soulful track that will leave your heart crying. Sweet.
8. Beverley's All Stars: Be Yours
Fifth track from the instrumental kings. Workmanlike.
Another heartwrencher. Great piano riff. Tingly.
10. Jackie Edwards: Take Me As I Am
A plea for unconditional love without the need for exterior aesthetics. Righteous.
Research fails to show whether he's related to Motown's Jimmy. Lovely melodic ska tune. Rustic.
12. Jackie Edwards: Come On Girl
Jackie get amorous on this paean to sex. Saucy.
A cover of the Gladys Knight track that manages to equal the original. Pleasant.
14. The Pioneers: You Don't Know Like I Know
15. The Deltones: I'll Take You There
16. The Pioneers: At The Discotheque
Three superb vocal-group tracks. Blue, Westlife et al are nothing on these guys. Original.
1. Pat Rhoden: What About You
the moniker of an Irish pub singer, but really a cool vocal track. Smooth.
Trojan's first dip into "roots" reggae and quite good. Spiritual.
3. Marcia Griffiths: Reggae From The Ghetto
Queen of 70's reggae back with a vocal corker and killer piano. Bouncy.
Anything Ken does is fine by me. An ode to emotional solitude. Depressing.
5. Teddy Brown: I'm Lonely No More
The opposite of the previous track. Lovely wailing vocals. Joyous.
Deep, philosophical number with an audiblew bassline - the sound quality improves on the third disc! Resonating.
7. Derrick Harriott: Being In Love
Trojan's equivalent of Bob Marley's One Love completed with tickly steel drums. Summery.
A weak link. This guy can't sing! Poor.
9. Lorna Bennett: Reverend Lee
By contrast, the greatest track on the album. Lorna should be brought out of retirement for her husky Jocelyn Brown-like voice. Gutsy.
Not if you continue to make sweet tunes like this. Sugared.
11. Donna Hinds: Runaway Pet
A song about a lost dog. No, really. Cheesy.
A true reggae titan. Huge in the 70's with stimulating material like this. Evocative.
13. Barry Biggs: Why Must You Cry
Another huge 70's star weighs in with a rumbling bass-heavy track. Wobbly.
Famous here for Love Of The Common People. His wispy, weak voice is certainly unique. Thin.
15. Honey Boy: Strange Thoughts
Bizarre instrumentall with duelling bongos. Bonkers.
Fringe player of the late 70's reggae scene. Great lilting track, shame his career never took off. Soulful.
17. Ken Boothe: Love Don't Love Nobody
Hankies at the ready for Ken's final contribution to this album. The Scott Walker of reggae, anyone? Down.
Disc 2 covers 1970 -1973
Disc 3 covers 1974-1978
Needless to say the recording quality improves throughout the album.
---HOW TO GET IT FOR £7---
Go to HMV. They have their "clearout" sales a few times a year and if you go to the reggae compilations section, look for Trojan and you'll find lots of these box-sets on sale for £6.99. Their usual price is around £17.99, which I'd still happily pay for a slice of musical history, but at £6.99 during saletime, it's a steal!
Alternatively, HMV sometimes include Trojan compilations in their "3 for £20" promotions - again working out at around £7 per album.---SUMMARY---
Beautiful, chirpy, rustic music that has suffered a little, but given that some of these tunes were recorded on second rate equipment somew 40 years ago, it can be forgiven.
Some of the instrumentals may be a little dull and the brass section a bit shrill, but it's the non-instrumental tracks with their distant vocals that are a real delight here.This particular set may be obscure for most tastes, so check out the UK Singles Box Set instead, it features:
-Desmond Dekker: Israelites
-Dave & Ansel Collins: Double Barrel
-Bob & Marcia: Young Gifted & Black
Sorry to waffle on, but I tend to do that with subjects that I feel strongly about. You know you'd do the same!
Thanks for reading.Wayne
Product Information : Trojan Box Set (Singles) - Various Artists
Manufacturer's product description1 CD(s) - Reggae - Label: Trojan - Distributor: Universal Music - Released: 06/09/1999 - 766126101297
Listed on Ciao since: 12/08/2004