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Sunday, October 11, 2009



320 KBPS

This 50-song, three-CD set is about as good as it gets as a compilation. The box delights, teases, and fascinates from its opening number, "Rock Steady" by Alton Ellis — practically the first record ever to use that term. Ellis and well-known acts like Desmond Dekker, the Maytals, the Paragons, Justin Hinds & the Dominoes, and the Melodians share space with lesser-known acts such as the Versatiles, the Federals, Derrick Harriott, and the Uniques. The majority of the acts emphasize vocals, and a great degree of soulful lyricism, whereas the Maytals display a sound and a quality of musicianship closer in content and spirit to the best folk-rock acts of the period. Not all of it is exactly groundbreaking; the pedestrian "You You" by the Natives becomes generic background music very quickly. The expected names, such as the Gaylads ("It's Hard to Confess") and Lyn Taitt & the Jets (a rare instrumental version of "To Sir With Love"), do tend to dominate the proceedings. Derrick Morgan's big rocksteady hit "Greedy Gal" isn't here, but in its place is "Conquering Ruler," another worthy showcase of his talents as a singer and songwriter. Also present is the Michael Jackson of the rocksteady boom, Errol Dunkley ("You're Gonna Need Me"), who cut a string of hits in his mid-teens. Juxtaposed with heavier numbers like "Dreader Than Dread" by Honey Boy Martin, this mix of songs is a good cross-section of this short-lived but dazzlingly creative period in Jamaican (and British) music. The sound quality is generally excellent, although a few of the tracks sound like they're not from first-generation sources. The only glaring flaw is the virtual absence of serious liner notes.

Disc 1
1. Rocksteady - Alton Ellis
2. Beautiful And Dangerous - Desmond Dekker
3. On The Beach - The Paragons
4. Little Nut Tree - The Melodians
5. Teardrops Falling - The Versatiles
6. The Loser - Derrick Harriott
7. Shocking Love - The Federals
8. Just Tell Me - The Maytals
9. Here I Stand - Justin Hinds & The Dominoes
10. Come On Now - The Ethiopians
11. Somebody's Baby - Pat Kelly
12. Illya Kuryakin - Ike Bennet & The Crystalites
13. You You - The Natives
14. It's Hard To Confess - The Gaylads
15. Do I Worry - Derrick Harriott
16. Conquering Ruler - Derrick Morgan
17. My Conversation - The Uniques

Disc 2
1. Island In The Sun - The Paragons
2. To Sir With Love - Lyn Taitt & The Jets
3. You're Gonna Need Me - Errol Dunkley
4. Don't Touch Me Tomato - Phyllis Dillon
5. Dreader Than Dread - Honey Boy Martin
6. Mother's Young Gal - Desmond Dekker & The Aces
7. Swing And Dine - The Melodians
8. Walk The Streets - Derrick Harriott
9. Riding On A High & Windy Day - The Paragons
10. A.B.C. Rocksteady - The Gaylads
11. All My Tears - Alton Ellis & The Flames
12. Super Special - Lester Sterling
13. Young Wings Can Fly - Johnny & The Attractions
14. Trust The Book - The Versatiles
15. Can't You See - Ken Boothe
16. Born To Love You - Derrick Harriott
17. Wear You To The Ball - The Paragons

Disc 3
1. Rudies All Round - Joe White
2. People Rocksteady - The Uniques
3. Once Upon A Time - Delroy Wilson
4. Ba Ba Boom - The Jamaicans
5. Live It Up - The Natives
6. The Upsetter - Lee "Scratch" Perry
7. Solomon - Derrick Harriott
8. Engine 54 - The Ethiopians
9. I Want To Go Home - Derrick Morgan
10. I Will Get Along Without You - The Melodians
11. Save A Bread - Justin Hinds & The Dominoes
12. Silent River (Runs Deep) - The Gayletts
13. The Time Has Come - The Versatiles
14. Bongo Gal - Desmond Dekker & The Aces
15. The Shadow Of Your Smile - Tommy McCook
16. Over The Rainbow's End - The Gaylads

320 KBPS

Jamaica's independence in 1964 started in motion a complex series of interrelated cultural changes, one of which, the migration of thousands of Jamaicans from the country to the city of Kingston, led to massive joblessness in the city. Nothing is more desperate than an angry young man with no job, no money, no future (and thus no attainable dreams), and tons of time on his hands, and by the long, turbulent summer of 1966, the rude boy (as such young men were named) phenomenon was at high tide. Drawing iconic style and identity from spaghetti Westerns and James Bond films, the rude boys were on an unavoidable collision course with the Kingston police, and a remarkable series of records documenting the exchange began appearing in 1966 just as ska was beginning to morph into early rocksteady. This delightful three-disc, 50-track box set collects a number of these rude boy anthems, including enduring classics like the Heptones' "Gunman Coming to Town" (with its odd William Tell intro), Desmond Dekker's "007 (Shanty Town)," Alton Ellis' "Cry Tough," the Slickers' "Johnny Too Bad," and Lee "Scratch" Perry's "Set Them Free." A good deal of the rebel righteousness and outsiders' view that came to be identified with reggae in Jamaica really starts with these tough little tunes, which represented a very public forum on the relative merits — pro and con — of the rude boy stance. A well-chosen set, full of wall-to-wall classics.

Disc 1
1. Guns Fever - Baba Brooks
2. Dance Crasher - Alton Ellis
3. Rude Boy Gone a Jail - Desmon Baker & The Clarendonians
4. Preacher - Alton Ellis
5. Gunmen Coming to Town - The Heptones
6. Hooligans - Count Lasher with Lynn Taitt & The Baba Brooks Band
7. Blessings of Love - Alton Ellis
8. Don't Be a Rude Boy - The Rulers
9. Soldiers Take Over - The Rio Grandes
10. 007 (Shanty Town) - Desmond Dekker
11. Denham Town - Winston & George
12. No Good Rudie - Justin Hinds & The Dominoes
13. Rudie Gets Plenty - The Spanishtonians
14. Guns Town - Clancy Eccles
15. Rudie Bam Bam - The Clarendonians
16. Drop the Ratchet - Stranger Cole
17. Copasetic - The Rulers

Disc 2
1. Cry Tough - Alton Ellis
2. Rudy Got Soul - Desmond Dekker & the Aces
3. Stop Them - Hazel & The Jolly Boys with the Fugitives
4. Rude Boy Confession - Max Romeo
5. Cool Off Rudies - Derrick Morgan
6. What Can I Do - The Tartans
7. No More Trouble - Lloyd Robinson
8. Rude Boy Train - Desmond Dekker & the Aces
9. Beware of Rude Boys - Henry Buckley
10. Rudies All Around - Joe White
11. Beware - The Overtakers
12. Rudies Are the Greatest - The Pioneers
13. Why Oh Why - The Black Brothers
14. Bad Man - Joe White
15. Guns Fever (Blam Blam Fever) - The Valentines
16. Rudy a Message to You - Dandy Livingstone

Disc 3
1. Tougher Than Tough - Derrick Morgan
2. Set Them Free - Lee "Scratch" Perry
3. Don't Blame the Children - Lee "Scratch" Perry
4. Court Dismiss - Derrick Morgan
5. Dreader Than Dread - Honeyboy Martin & The Voices
6. Judge Dread in Court - Derrick Morgan
7. Some of Them a Bawl (aka Having a Bawl) - The Pioneers
8. Stop the Violence - The Valentines
9. Curfew - Bobby Aitken
10. Ratchet Knife - Amiel Moodie & The Dandemites
11. Johnny Too Bad - The Slickers
12. Johnny Gunman - Jackie Edwards
13. Rudie's Medley - Peter Tosh
14. You Can't Win - The Slickers
15. Cool Down - The Untouchables
16. Hooligans Change Your Style (aka Don't Fight Your Brothers) - John Holt
17. Simmer Down - Johnny Clarke

320 KBPS

I will not give you a history lesson here (read "Spirit of 69" by George Marshall for that), only the truth about the Trojan Skinhead Reggae box set... it's totally boss. These are all songs presumed to be popular with skins and the like in and around the late sixties & early seventies. Most have a slower, more rocksteady-style tempo, which was akin to the lifestyle and musical appreciations of those folks. The basslines are fat, the organ is heavy, and the lyrics are catchy-as-hell.
A few hits mixed in with some rarities keeps Trojan at the top of the heap when it comes to old-school monster sounds. The Skinhead set is one of about 70 (or so it seems) put out by Trojan, and each one seems to be right on par with the next. I haven't heard all of the sets (yet), but of the 6 or so I have, it's hard to pick a favourite. This set in particular is great from start to finish, even the so-called "filler" material is better than 99% of any "music" being put out today. If you think you love reggae, get this. If you're not really sure about reggae, get this anyway.

Disc 1
1. Skinhead Train - Lloyd Charmers
2. Mix Up Girl - The Creations
3. Hee Cup - Sir Harry
4. Overproof (AKA Little Darlin') - Karl Bryan
5. Copy Cat - Derrick Morgan
6. Law - Andy Capp
7. Soul Call - The Soul Rhythms
8. Music Street - The Harmonians
9. V Rocket - The Fabion
10. What Am I to Do - Tony Scott
11. Spread Your Bed - The Versatiles
12. John Public (Tom Hark) - The Dynamites
13. Casa Boo Boo - Cool Sticky
14. Smile (My Baby) - The Tennors
15. Zapatoo the Tiger - Roland Alphonso
16. Work It - The Viceroys
17. Wiggle Waggle - The Wanderers

Disc 2
1. Qua Kue Shut - The Creations
2. Shine Eye Gal - Vince Foster
3. History - Harry & Radcliffe
4. Wha'pen - Sir Lord Comic
5. Last Flight to Reggae City - Tommy McCook & Stranger Cole
6. Burner - Vincent "Trommie" Gordon
7. Tribute to Drumbago (AKA Last Call) - The Dynamites
8. Bigger Boss - Ansel Collins
9. Horse - Theophilus Beckford
10. Taste of Killings - The Upsetters
11. Don Juan - Boris Gardiner & The Love People
12. Dollars and Bonds - Lloyd Charmers
13. 2, 000 Tons of T.N.T. - The GG's All-Stars
14. Death in the Arena - Rupie Martin's All Stars
15. Motherless Children - Willie Francis
16. Elizabethan Serenade - Sweet Confusion
17. Pick Out Me Eye - The Royals

Disc 3
1. Skinheads a Bash Them - Claudette & The Corporation
2. Trouble in the Town - Dandy
3. Skinhead A Message to You - Desmond Riley
4. Reggae Fever - The Pioneers
5. Night Food Reggae - Des All Stars (aka The Rudies)
6. Brixton Cat - Rico & the Rudies
7. Skinhead Speaks His Mind - The Hot Rod All Stars
8. Red Red Wine - Tony Tribe
9. Loch Ness Monster - King Horror
10. Skinheads Don't Fear - The Hot Rod All Stars
11. Concord - The Prophets
12. Funky Chicken - Winston Groovy
13. Skinhead Moonstomp - Symarip
14. Funky Duck - Dice The Boss
15. Skinhead Revolt - Joe the Boss
16. Queen of the World - Claudette


Nolan Micron said...

Hell Yes! Thanks for these awesome box sets. This stuff never fails to cheer me up.

Is the link for the middle set added?

Thanks again for the excellent posting.

Your pal,

Nolan Micron

Mr Moodswings said...

Link added. ;)

Nolan Micron said...

You totally rock. Thank you.

Dave Heasman said...

Fabulous, thanks

lemonflag said...

Thanks for the box sets. This music is so much fun.

Anonymous said...

We had the first day with temparatures below zero. It feels so good to hear this music, it warms my soul!

Thank you for this and for so many other downloads.


Anonymous said...

Outstanding! A bong full of thanks !