TROJAN MOD REGGAE BOX SET (TJETD020) - In 1962 Jamaica gained it's independence and was sowing the seeds of a pioneering musical sound that would eventually mutate into Reggae and achieve global recognition. At the same time, London teenagers were reaping the benefits of their own financial independence and an abundance of clothes boutiques, coffee bars and all night discothèques where you could hear the latest sounds from Soul and Rhythm & Blues artists from Detroit and Chicago.

Amongst these gems you could also hear some of the pioneering music that was coming from Jamaica. Ska was Jamaica's National Sound and for the large communities of West Indians that had settled in places like Brixton and Notting Hill, it was also a reminder of back home. Ska was loud, with a dynamic energy and an exciting beat that made you want to dance. It was also very 'now'. London's teenage Mods were at the forefront of fashion clothes wise and music-wise, they like 'new', they liked 'exciting' and they sure as hell like to dance and so by 1964 Ska was woven onto the Mod fabric. They would venture into the Roaring Twenties in Carnaby Street to seek out these new sounds and, as is the Mod way, they also took notice of how the West Indians dressed. As a result, they proceeded to adopt and adapt Jamaican styles into their culture. Think Porkpie hats - or Blue Beat hats, as they became known in Mod circles - trousers that hovered above the ankle to show off your socks; the classic Rude Boy image. And at the Flamingo in Wardour Street, Georgie Fame and his Blue flames were adding Blue Beat to their repertoire for their audience of pilled up Mods and American GI's. As Jamaica's biggest star, Prince Buster was becoming a Mod icon with hits such as 'Al Capone' and 'Madness', but the Prince wasn't alone. Sure, he sold the heat, but Derrick Morgan had a Blazing Fire, Laurel Aitken had The Boogie In His bones and Don Drummond was The Man On The Street. These records were being released on a host of new independent lables; Island and Blue Beat led the way. The path they laid was followed by Rio, Doctor Bird, R&B/Ska Beat and Black swan, with all releasing a staggering number of recordings in a very short space of time, which amazingly was a mere a fraction of what was being recorded back in Jamaica. Even more staggering than the output of Ska is probably the input of a group of highly talented session men. Although only together for a little over a year, the Skatalites involvement , either collectively r individually, was immense, with a huge percentage of Jamaican music of the time featuring the band in one form or another. Tommy McCook, Don Drummond, Lester Sterling, Lloyd Knibb, Lloyd Brevett, Roland Alphonso, Johnny Moore and Jackie Mittoo. Add to that lot vocalists Doreen Schaffer and Jackie Opel and you have Jamaica' equivalent to Stax's Booker T. and the M.G.s or Motown's Choker Campbell Band. It's testament to the band's talent that they are still playing around the world with five original members to this day.

That brings us up to the next part of our story, because the sharper-eyed amongst you will have noticed that many of the tracks on this compilation go way beyond the years of the original Mod scene. This set is compiled from records that have been played at Mod clubs over the past twenty years. Quadrophenia and Two Tone had flung Mod and Ska back into the nations conscience in 1979, but two years on, all that was left were a few diehards who decided that maybe it was better to backtrack to the original scene for ideas and inspiration and have the audacity to try to recreate 1964. And it worked! Sneakers opened at The Bush Hotel on Goldhawk Road, Shepherds Bush - a stronghold of the original Mods.

By early 1983 on Sunday evenings, you'd find a row of scooters parked up a queue of sharply dressed kids waiting to hear Paul Hallam and Richard 'Shirly' Early play the best Rhythm & Blues, Soul and Jamaican Ska. The most important Mod club since the scene in Ham Yard stood, it proved to be a catalyst for the whole of the Mod scene since. The dance floor was always packed, people stood around admiring each others latest tailored creations and no one sat down as plenty of early Ska sounds boomed out from the speakers. It attracted people from Swindon, Birmingham, Reading, Watford, Essex and Kent and all corners of London including a group who called themselves The Camden Stylists. Always sharply dressed they had a strong skinhead influence as well, hence when Paul Hallam combined with Alan Handscombe to run the Soulful Shack at the Westmoreland Arms near Baker Street, Rocksteady and early Reggae was introduced into the Mod scene alongside Ska, R&B and Soul. You could only get into the Soulful Shack if you were invited and to be invited you had to be either a top dancer or top dresser at Sneakers. Everyone wanted to be both because you didn't want to miss out hearing John Holt's 'Ali Baba', from my own experience the most requested record any time I've played a Ska set. Aside from Sneakers and the Soulful Shack, there was only one place to hear new Ska records and that was at Gaz's Rockin' Blues in Gossips, Dean Street. Featuring a live set by maybe the Potato 5 or Laurel Aitken, you'd then be treated to Gaz (son of bluesman John) Mayall's awesome Ska collection. It was a way for aspiring Mod DJs to seek out new tunes to spin and a meeting point for discuss new ideas. One of these  was a Mod club where Jamaican rather than American music was the mainstay, so began the Reggae Express at the Sols Arms, Hampstead Road. Organised by the Camden Stylists, it ran monthly on a Friday until a change of management forced a change of venue. The Penny Black on Farrington Road was normally full of postmen from the Mount Pleasant sorting office, what they thought of their pub being invaded by Mods and skinheads is anybody's guess, but it was here that tunes such as 'Nevada Joe' by Johnny Lover and the Destroyers and the Chrystalites' 'Stranger In town' were popularised.

The Penny Black lasted for about a year before a brief return to the Sols Arms. By 1988 Sunday lunchtime sessions were being held at the Dublin Castle in Camden Town. King Stitt's 'Ugly One' was first played here alongside classics like the Skatalites' 'Lucky Seven' and Baba Brooks' 'Gun Fever'. One notable occasion in August, Prince Buster turned up much to the astonishment (and delight) of all those gathered. By 1993 Chris Dale and myself started a night at the Lucas Arms in Kings Cross. The Ska Bar catered for a regular crowd of 60 to 80 people on a fortnightly basis, attracting people from as far a field as the U.S.A., France and Italy, with tunes such as Derrick and Patsy's 'In A Jam' and 'Rum Bum A Loo' by the Message. Throughout the nineties, Ska has regularly been played at the Mousetrap Mod All-nighter at Finsbury Park, but hasn't until recently had a night of it's own. That takes place at Smersh in Ravey Street, Shoreditch, where Paul Hallam, Alan Handscombe and myself have been joined by 'French' Fred to promote the Reggae Shack and to make sure that Ska will always have an outlet on the Mod scene.

Dave Edwards




Ali Baba
John Holt
Riverton City
Tommy McCook
C N Express
Clancy All Stars
Running Around
Owen Gray
The Message
Step Softly
Bobby Ellis And The Crystalites
Lucky Seven
The Skatalites
Sweet Soul Music
The Gladiators
Musical Fever
The Enforcers
The Zodiacs
Harry J All Stars
Lonely Feeling (Here Comes That Feeling)
The Gaylets
Dr. Kitch
Lord Kitchener
Gun Fever
Baba Brooks Band
Tyrone Taylor
Good Time Rock
Hugh Malcolm
The Vagabonds

Storm Warning
Lynn Taitt And The Boys
The Ugly One (Aka Lee Van Cleef)
King Stitt
A Yuh (Aka Hey You)
The Uniques
Gun Man Coming To Town
Last Night
Laurel Aitken & The Soulmen
Wiser Than Soloman
Lester Sterling
Stranger In Town
The Crystalites
County Town
Baba Brooks
Fat Man
Derrick Morgan
Nevada Joe
Johnny Lover & Destroyers
Next Door Neighbour
Owen & Leon Silveras
Kimble The Nimble
Lee Perry
The Man (Aka Man To Man)
Jimmy Cliff
Oh Babe (Sick And Tired)
Ewan And Jerry With The Caribbeats
Tommy McCook
Build My World Around You
Slim Smith & The Uniques

(Music Is My) Occupation
Don Drummond & Tommy McCook
The Upsetter
Lee Perry
El Pussycat
Roland Alphonso
Just Tell Me
The Maytals
Do The Dog
Syko And The Caribs
The Jerk
The Clarendonians
I'm In A Jam
Derrick & Patsy
Ike Bennett & The Crystalites
I'm Ashamed
Little Willie
Lester Sterling
Kitch Your So Sweet
Lord Kitchener
The Rude Boy
Duke Reid's All Stars
Girls Like Dirt
Slim Smith & The Uniques
Lonely Days
Owen Gray
I Am Coming Home
Pat Kelly
Good Girl
Ed Nangle

Time - 44:46

Time - 45:26

Time - 48:19

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