TROJAN 12" BOX SET (TJETD048) - Welcome to Dr Trojan's echo chamber.

It has been over twenty-five years since the phenomenon of the twelve-inch single, aka the discomix, really took off. There are many theories as to why they first appeared. This writer prefers to think that spreading the grooves enhanced the overall sound, which was particularly effective in the dancehall.

Traditionally records were limited to a radio friendly three minutes. So when the selector played a particularly popular song he would flip it over to extend it with an alternate dub or DJ version. Jamaican producers were quick to identify the effect of mixing the vocals with another cut to the rhythm, and began joining these together. Simply, this meant more dancing time. Six minutes or more of non-stop music with all the frequencies sounding out loud and clear all the way down to the all important drum and bass.

The first reggae record ever put out in twelve-inch format is arguably 'Truly by The Jayes, through Channel One. The studio had dabbled with EP's when they released the seven-inch 'Economic Package'. These smaller discs played at 33 rpm although they lacked the sound quality of a twelve-incher. It was the latter that proved particularly popular in the UK. This was in spite of the fact that many import twelve's were retailing at the same price as an album. Well, manufacturing costs were the same.

The recordings...

'Small Axe' was originally released as a seven-incher, although Bob's enduring popularity resulted in it's re-release as a discomix. The song was seamlessly segued with 'Battle Axe' and sets the tone for a bevy of bashment favourites. Derrick Harriott is next up with his own version of 'Let Me Down Easy' that he had previously recorded with Dennis Brown before he released this discomix version.

In 1974 Susan Cadogan recorded Millie Jackson's 'Hurt So Good' with Lee 'Scratch' Perry. Susan's hit later crossed over into the UK pop chart. Sadly, she and Scratch got the praise when a Pop Idol panellist diluted the sound and allegedly got the raise. Fortunately Trojan had previously secured the original version from Scratch and due to public demand re-released it as a discomix in 2003. Meanwhile in 1974 Freddy McKay released 'Rock A Bye Woman' that I'm sure you'll agree is totally suited to the extended format.

By 1975 several releases were compatible with the discomix style. Our selector has chosen Ossie Hibbert's production of Leroy Sibbles' 'Love Me Girl' alongside Bunny Lee's production of Cornel Campbell and Delroy Wilson's 'I Will Never Change' and 'Just Say Who' respectively. Big up yourself mi selector.

There can only be a few collectors who can boast having a complete set of Dennis Brown twelves owing to his prolific output. His first contribution is this interpretation of Kenny Lynch's 'Moving Away' that leads to a tasty session from the Observers in fine style. The Observers also provide the backing to Horace Andy's 'Materialist' that emphasises with the struggle of the ghetto through the effective use of echoes on the dub to drive the point home.

Michael Rose originally performed in the Falcons although he found fame with Black Uhuru following solo sessions with a variety of producers such as the Observer who produced this assertive track 'Clap The Barber'. Leo Graham originally sang with the Bleechers, before embarking on a solo career in the early seventies. As a soloist he later recorded 'Three Blind Mice', a song that was remixed several times during the seventies, including DJ versions from I Roy and Dillinger. On this set we are treated to King Tubby demonstrating his dextrous phasing skills on the mixing desk. Go deh Tubb's.

The first disc closes with John Holt's massive Jamaican hit version of Lou Rawls' 'You'll Never Find' coupled with the Aggrovators. 'Find A Dub'. The song later surfaced on Trojan and, in spite of disparaging remarks from a faction of the music press, proved equally as popular when it was released in the UK.

Dennis Brown opens disc two with one of the most evocative and lasting songs of his career, the timeless 'Wolf And Leopards'. Prophecy ah fulfil.

Marcia Aitken's version of the Alton Ellis hit, 'I'm Still In Love' provided the foundation to an international hit for producer Joe Gibbs. The original discomix featured Trinity's stunning 'Three Piece Suit', which subsequently inspired Althea and Donna to record their celebrated chart topper, 'Uptown Top Ranking'.

By this time - the late seventies - the discomix was fully established. When Gregory Isaacs sang 'I want you to promise me, you'll Never Be Ungrateful', with the occasional taster of the dub to follow, it is easy to understand why we were hooked.

Lee Perry released several Black Ark discomixes that later exchanged hands for as much as five boxed sets! One such discomix was this chant to the scavengers, vampires and plagiarists in the Jamaican music industry. He referred to them as 'Bionic Rats', the title of this song, which owing to Scratch's prolific output was relegated to the flip side of 'City Too hot'.

In 1978, Delroy Wilson recorded a series of classic twelves with Gussie. Notable hits include 'Is It Because I'm Black' and this aptly titled epic 'Worth Your Weight In Gold'. A true gem especially when the song is turned inside out by Gussie's inspirational studio trickery.

Before Prince Jammy became King, he worked alongside Bunny Lee. Here, he is credited with Ken Boothe for the discomix version of 'You're No Good'. The song demonstrates how easily the Studio One veteran adapted to modern rhythms, while the dub features Bunny's notorious 'flying cymbals'. Also with Jammy at the controls, and the UK-based soundman, Ken 'Fatman' Gordon producing, Michael Rose returns to sing under the weeping willow tree that we are all 'Born Free'. The rhythm rises to a climax before culminating with an archetypal sound system dub. Ken additionally demonstrates his production skills on Dad Brown's, 'Stand And Look' that originally surfaced on the flip side of 'Born Free'. The song proved to be another masterblaster for the Mighty Fatman Sound System.

Channel One's legendary Revolutionaries band supported Pancho Alphonso for the clarion call to all Rastamen 'Never Give Up In A Babylon'. The song was lifted and remixed in a disco style from his album Never Get To Zion (TRLS 165).

The late Bim Sherman enjoyed a cult following in the UK through his association with On-U Sound. His success led to a revived interest in his self-productions through his own Jamaican Scorpio label as well as this original Trojan discomix, 'Lightning And Thunder', complete with sweet harmonies and the appropriately named 'Ball Of Fire' dub. Also featured on this compilation is another classic Bim; namely 'Why Won't You Come On' that featured on the flip side of his resounding hit.

David Isaacs is best remembered for his work with Lee Perry in the late sixties. He is an unjustly underrated performer who, in 1979, sang 'Just Like The Sea', coupled with the Midnight Rocker - Jah Thomas in fine form.

Disc three opens with Dennis Brown's 1978 remake of 'Money In My Pocket'. It was this song that introduced his sublime vocals to the mainstream. The twelve-inch version featured a toast from George Nooks aka Prince Mohammed, who recently stormed the Jamaican chart sounding like Dennis with, 'Hero'.

Wilfred 'Witty' Reid produced a number of hits in the late seventies, including the aforementioned David Isaacs track as well as Dave Richards' dazzling discomix, 'Colour Of The Rainbow' - a sound system favourite that appeared on Trojan's Attack label in 1979.

Pat Kelly was one of the first artists to release a UK pressed discomix in 1977 with Phil Pratt. Three years later he recorded the sublime 'There's A Song' with the then prolific Linval Thompson, who would regularly employ the services of the Roots Radics band. On this compilation the band's lead guitarist, Sowell Radics follows, when he emerged in his own right to deliver the advisory 'Caution'.

Barry Brown's revolutionary style was similar to that of Linval Thompson. With Ashanti Waugh he released the title track of his Trojan album debut, 'Cool Pon Your Corner' (TRLS 191) ina disco stylee.

As a performer, Linval Thompson released 'Pop No Style', a song that is a tour de force of the genre and demonstrates his vocal strength on the upper reaches over a brooding dub that stands the test of time. Militant style.

Another dancehall favourite of the period was Edi Fitzroy who began his career with Mikey Dread. He later worked with a host of top producers including the poor man stylist, Barrington Levy who released the delightful, 'Pretty Woman'.

In 1982, five UK based adolescents named Musical Youth released the fastest selling single of the year. The song, 'Pass The douchie' was inspired by the Mighty Diamonds chronic hit, 'Pass The Kouchie'. The success of these hits inspired the originators to release our selector's choice, 'Kouchie Vibes/Pass The Knowledge' a conscientious version of the original.

Sugar Minott followed the crossover success of his 1980 hit, 'Good Thing Going' when he established Youth Promotion. He he performs the title track of his Trojan debut, 'Ghetto-Ology' (TRLS 173).

Tristan 'Joker Smoker' Palmer's discomix was similarly the title of his Trojan debut 'Settle Down Girl' (TRLS 215) produced with the undisputed Midas touch of Linval Thompson. Our final look at the twelve-inch phenomenon is another of Linval's productions. Here he produced the Majesterians who sang 'If I Didn't Want Your Loving' in fine style. Gwaan Linval - yu large.

So there you have - the original four hundred and twenty inches of pleasure - even General Echo couldn't offer that much. Oh, and by the way, I have checked - you won't need a visa to enjoy these.

Stephen Nye

DISC 1

DISC 2

DISC 3

Small Axe/Battle Axe
Bob Marley & The Wailers & The Upsetters
Let Me Down Easy/Version
Derrick Harriott & The Crystalites
Hurt So Good/Loving Is Good
Susan Cadogan & The Upsetters
Rock A Bye Woman/Version
Freddie McKay
Love Me Girl/Version
Leroy Sibbles
Just Say Who/Version
Delroy Wilson & The Aggrovators
I Will Never Change/Version
Cornell Campbell & The Aggrovators
Moving Away/Version
Dennis Brown & The Observers
Three Blind Mice/Three Times Three
Leo Graham & King Tubby & the Upsetters
Materialist/Poor Man Style
Horace Andy & The Observers
Clap The Barber/Run Bald Head Dub
Michael Rose & The Observer Band
You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine/Version
John Holt & The Aggrovators

Wolf And Leopard/No Conscience
Dennis Brown & The Observers
I’m Still In Love/Three Piece Suit
Marcia Aitken & Trinity
Never Be Ungrateful/Dub
Gregory Isaacs
Bionic Rats
Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry & The Upsetters
Worth Your Weight In Gold
Delroy Wilson
You’re No Good
Ken Boothe & Prince Jammy
Born Free
Michael Rose & Jammy
Stand And Look
Dad Brown
Never Give Up In A Babylon
Pancho Alphonso & The Revolutionaries
Lightning And Thunder/Ball Of Fire
Bim Sherman
Just Like The Sea/Ting A Ling
David Isaacs & Jah Thomas

Money In My Pocket
Dennis Brown & Prince Mohammed
Colour Of The Rainbow
Dave Richards
Why Won’t You Come On
Bim Sherman
There’s A Song
Pat Kelly
Caution
The Sowell Radics
Cool Pon Your Corner
Barry Brown
Pop No Style
Linval Thompson
Pretty Woman
Eddie Fitzroy
Kouchi Vibes/Pass The Knowledge
The Mighty Diamonds
Ghetto-Ology
Sugar Minott
Settle Down Girl
Tristan Palmer
If I Didn’t Want Your Loving
The Majesterians

Time - 70:55

Time - 78:19

Time - 75:48

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