TROJAN REGGAE CHILL-OUT BOX SET (TJETD115) - If you think about the influence of Jamaica and its people you might wonder why the island is not considered as chic as some of the other cool, happening locations. In the sixties, British youth culture was clearly influenced by the arrival of the younger Jamaican immigrants whose rude boy image of 'pork-pie' hats and iridescent suits were adopted by the mods and later the suede heads. Years later, when dread locked Rastafarians took centre stage, the doctrine concerning scissors and combs directly inspired one of the most popular hairstyles of the eighties. White women from around the globe flocked to their local hairdresser demanding the plaited style as seen in the movie 'Ten'. Other fashions that have been inspired by Jamaica, through the dancehall include 'fades' and the popular style of wearing baseball caps with the peak at the back. There are those that will attribute these newer trends to hip-hop, although it could be argued that this contemporary urban music actually evolved from Jamaica's dancehall anyway. When you get right down to it you'll realise that it is not only the music that has influenced the Western world but the whole Jamaican way of life.

Clearly the influence of the lyrics in the songs we know and love, delivered in the ghetto vernacular, has subconsciously crept into the everyday conversation of the English speaking nations. This is a fact that is undoubtedly acknowledged by language scholars, who have deemed to include a number of these words in their dictionaries. Jamaican banter is essentially a mix of olde English with a dash of Creole/pidgin lovingly referred to as patois. Similar to dub music these words are turned inside out and condensed into the street lingo that subsequently travelled to places like Harlesden and Harlem.

How many times have you heard these phrases? (With respect to Sanjeev Bhaskar's character Mr "Everything comes from India")

Bling bling = jewellery - Jamaican
Twenty four/seven = twenty four hours a day, seven days a week - Jamaican
Nuff Respect = a lot of respect for - Jamaican
Dis' - disrespect - Jamaican
My posse/crew = group of friends - Jamaican
Chilled = laid back - Jamaican

It is the laid back style that applies to this collection, which many thought was a contradiction in terms when applied to the reggae arena. In fact, while there have been many 'chilled' compilations, surprisingly this is the first collection of soothing Jamaican music that has characteristically been released in a soon come time zone.

The recordings...

Disc one opens with a fancy lick from celebrated hornsmen, Roland Alphonso & Tommy McCook, 'Ole So Mio' without a gondolier in sight before we join Lynn Tait who maintains the vibe with his cool 'Way Of Life'. Lee Perry has produced a number of laid back tunes, as you will discover on this compilation and this organ led version of the Wailers' 'Dreamland' is a classic of the genre. Another hit making 'Hammond' specialist was Harry Johnson, whose All Stars are here led by Winston Wright who tickles the ivories for the 'Big Three' before Val Bennett maintains the mood with a mellow version of Dave Brubeck's jazzy 'Take Five'.

The gentle keyboards of Lloyd Charmers 'Sweet Harmony' feature in their own right as 'Sweet Organ' before Augustus Pablo performs the legendary 'East Of The River Nile' that demonstrates the serenity of the aptly named Far Eastern Sound. Winston Wright returns to perform his take on the R&B favourite 'Silhouettes' overshadowed by a wicked rhythm. Years before Phil Callender's In Crowd topped the chart with 'Back A Yard', the UK based Deltones released this similarly titled instrumental that was equally as consoling to any ex pat Jamaican. The great Ansel Collins, who recently toured with his band supporting the Mighty Diamonds and Big Youth, here performs the classic 'Stalag 17' before the Hippy Boys put on a little 'Reggae Pressure' to cool down the pace.

Our soundtrack to this musical paradise is further enhanced with a trio of cool dub sounds such as Gladstone Anderson's rendering of 'Movie Star' as well as the Beverley All Stars' take on the Maytals 'Walk With Love' and Derrick Harriott's dub version of the Chi-lites' 'Being In Love'. Our final three tracks on this version excursion include Tommy McCook's adaptation of John Holt's 'A Love I Can Feel', while the legendary Skin Flesh & Bones dub up their own interpretation of Neil Diamond's 'Solitary Man' and finally, the Hippy Boys, under the guidance of Lloyd 'The Matador' Daley perform the evocative 'Voodoo'.

Moving on to the second disc in this collection, we concentrate on the irie feelings associated with chilled reggae such as the soothing tones of Verne & Son who step up with a magic moment through their version of 'Little Boy Blue'. The aforementioned Lee Perry returns with his sublime productions of 'Crying About You' from Busty Brown, who gives a truly laid back performance, and the classic 'Curley Locks' from Junior Byles.

It may come a surprise to some that the Maytals who are best known for their lively hits such as 'Pressure Drop', 'Sweet And Dandy', 'Monkey Man' and '54-46' recorded a number of tranquil sounds including our first look at mellow Maytals the beautiful 'Love Is Gonna Let Me Down'. The 1970 Jamaican Song Festival winner, Hopeton Lewis is next up and inspires a chilled approach with a song that launched his career, 'Take It Easy'.

If you are feeling chilled a little sunshine is always welcome and both Bob Andy and Bob Marley sing of the sun's benefits to make you feel good all over. Such good feelings are expressed in 'Nice Nice Time' thanks to the group Zap Pow who in addition to releasing cool hits, were responsible for launching the smooth Beres Hammond's career. Maintaining the chilled ambience is the celebrated cool ruler or lonely lover whose vocals can easily 'Rock Away' any negative vibes. Lee Perry's production of the Twin roots extensive 'Know Love' is hard to follow, but Norman Brown's succinct 'La La At The End' goes down like a smoothly blended chaser. An unforgettable melody that compels you, like the children, to sing along the first time you hear it.

The niceness continues with the Cimarons whose 'Utopian Feeling' leads to the self-explanatory 'Nice Nice' from the Kingstonians. Nuff niceness a gwaan!

In the mid sixties, Jamaica experienced a particularly hot summer, that some say led to the slowing down of ska, which evolved into rock steady. Alton Ellis clearly adapted to the new sound proving he was the original cool ruler. Demonstrating that following the languor of rock steady. Winston Groovy could maintain a mellow vibe he released 'So Easy', while almost twenty years later, Frankie Paul proved that melodious sounds live on through the closing track on the second disc, namely 'Shub In'.

Our final selection of chilled sounds is a mellow selection of lover's covers, beginning with Toots & The Maytals who revisited their earlier hit 'Daddy' when they released the classic Funky Kingston (TRLS 201). Towards the mid seventies following personnel changes, the Chosen Few embarked on a career in the UK and it is from this period that they recorded this wicked interpretation of Dobie Gray's 'Drift Away'. Another UK produced hit, 'A Lover's Concerto' was released before Audrey Hall joined Jamaica's Penthouse posse and recorded an answer to Beres Hammond's hit that 'One Dance Won't Do'. Irving 'Al' Brown enjoyed a massive hit in 1974 with 'Here I Am Baby' although here we felt his version of Millie Jackson's 'Loving Arms' was definitely more fitting on a chilled compilation.

When compiling versions it is easy to look at different genres and overlook wonderful remakes of Jamaican hits such as Danny Ray's variation of Stranger Cole's 'Just Like A river' that flows along nicely. Meanwhile, no introductions are needed for Studio One legends Ken Boothe and Horace Andy, who keep up the groove with 'So Nice' and the aptly titled 'Feel Good All Over'.

Matumbi were a UK based reggae group led by Dennis 'Blackbeard' Bovell, who later took the group into the UK charts with 'Point Of View', although, it was this version of the Band's 'Man In Me' that exposed the lyrics of Bob Dylan to Jamaican music lovers having only been familiar with the Heptones' 'I Shall Be Released'.

The Isley Brothers have influenced Jamaican sounds, both while with Motown and following their successful departure from Berry Gordy's empire. Our homage to the band is post Motown and features the legendary John Holt with his Jamaican version of the haunting 'For The Love Of You'.

Domino Johnson is next up on the mike with his version of the Porgy And Bess favourite, 'Summertime' best played on a grassy knoll with headphones on a sunny day. In fact, the whole compilation can be enjoyed this way; take Ken Boothe's rendering of David Ruffin's 'Walk Away From Love', with an extended version that has a  feel good factor of over eight minutes.

We continue with another Lloyd Charmers production, 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face', Roberta Flack's soul classic, that surprisingly lends itself nicely to a Caribbean feel. The inspirational Jimmy London is next up with the infectious 'Rock And Roll Lullaby' before we look at one of the lesser-known influences in Jamaican music, namely the US crooner, Jim Reeves, whose songs have been successfully covered by artists such as the Twinkle Brothers, Ken Parker and Boris Gardiner. Our chilled hit inna Jim Reeves stylee is a laid back Max Romeo covering 'Is It Really Over' in his own inimitable way.

Following his success with 'Love Of The Common People', Nicky Thomas remained in the UK where he demonstrated an unparalleled love of the music through interviews and this emotional take on 'What Is Love'.

The darker than blue soul legend's influence on the Jamaican recording industry has led to Curtis Mayfield being hailed as the godfather of reggae and we could not let a chilled compilation pass without Slim Smith's version of '(Grow) Closer Together', that has also been covered by Prince Buster and Junior Murvin.

Our final look at variations on a chilled theme is inspired by the Gaylads, who recorded the beautiful 'Joy In The Morning' and inspired one of Trojan's memorable reggae chart-toppers, 'Jah Bring I Joy' from the suitably named Bobby Melody, who originally found fame as Bobby Powell in the Prophets alongside Yabby You and the late Alric Forbes - but that's another story.

So there you have it. I'm not illing I'm just chilling so don't let anyone tell you reggae can't be chilled, as these fifty tracks are just the tip of the iceberg.

Cool.

Stephen Nye

DISC 1

DISC 2

DISC 3

Never To Be Mine
Tommy McCook & The Supersonics
Way Of Life
Lynn Tait & The Jets
Dreamland
The Upsetters
The Big Three
Harry J All Stars
The Russians Are Coming (aka take 5)
Val Bennett
Sweet Organ
Lioyd Charmers
East Of The River Nile
Augustus Pablo
Silhouettes
Winston Wright
Back A Yard
The Deltones
Stalag 17
Ansel Collins
Reggae Pressure
The Hippy Boys
Movie Star
Gladstone Anderson
Walk With Love Version
Beverley's All Stars
Love Version
Derrick Harriott
A Version I Can Feel
Tommy McCook
Solitary Man
Skin Flesh And Bones
Voodoo
The Hippy Boys

Little Boy Blue
Verne And Son
Crying About You
Busty Brown
Curely Locks
Junior Byles
Love Is Gonna Let Me Down
Toots & The Maytals
Take It Easy
Hopeton Lewis
Sun Shines For Me
Bob Andy
Sun Is Shining
Bob Marley
Nice Nice Time
Zap Pow
Rock Away
Gregory Isaacs
Know Love
Twin Roots
La La At The End
Norman Brown
Utopian Feeling
The Cimarons
Nice Nice Time
The Kingstonians
Rock Steady
Alton Ellis
So Easy
Winston Groovy
Shub In
Frankie Paul

Daddy
The Maytals
Drift Away
Chosen Few
Lovers Concerto
Audrey Hall
Loving Arms
Al Brown
So Nice
Ken Boothe
Just Like A River
Danny Ray
Feel Good All Over
Horace Andy
Man In Me
Matumbi
For The Love Of You (Ja mix)
John Holt
Summertime
Domino Johnson
Walk Away From Love
Ken Boothe
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
Marcia Griffiths
Rock And Roll Lullaby
Jimmy London
Is It Really Over
Max Romeo
What Is Love
Nicky Thomas
Closer Together
Slim Smith
Jah Bring I Joy
Bobby Melody

Time - 50:50

Time - 57:28

Time - 65:39

All material Copyright Trojan Records