TROJAN REGGAE RARITIES BOX SET (TJETD215) - Sometime ago a number of subscribers to the Trojan Forum suggested that to celebrate Trojan's 50th box set, fans should be able to nominate the recordings they would most like to see issued by the company. When the idea was given the green light, the website was inundated with suggestions and after much debate and discussion, the 150 or so  titles proposed were eventually whittled down to the 50 featured on this set. The results are suitably impressive, as you will hear for yourself.

The Recordings:

We open the set with a 1966 Leslie Kong production of the suitably named Spanish Town performers who preceded their Kingstonian counterparts when they sang 'Suffer Me Not'. The following year, the Soul Leaders in combination with Bobby Aitken's Carib-Beats released the now rare as hen's teeth 'Pour On The Sauce', the reissue of which is long overdue. The Carib-Beats also perform on this collection with Ewan McDermott alongside a rare appearance from Jerry Matthias freelancing from the Maytals, on the self-assured 'I'm Gonna Love You'.

Saxophonist, Roland Alphonso  had performed with the Skatalites from their inception in 1963, although following the group's demise two years later, he founded the Soul Brothers. Over the ensuing years, he recorded for various producers including the aforementioned Leslie Kong, who produced 'Goodnight My Love' in 1967. Also on this set is Roland's namesake, Carlton, whose 'I Have Changed' is a laudable effort from the Alphonos dynasty. The Tartan's are now celebrated as having nurtured the careers of Cedric Myton, later of the Congos and 'Prince' Lincoln Thompson, who went on to front of the Royal Rasses. Also in the group's line-up were Devon Russell and Lindberg Lewis, who also enjoyed successful careers in their own right, and it is hardly surprising that with such an illustrious line-up, the Tartans recordings were all top quality, with 'Coming On Strong' for producer, Ken Lack a prime example.

Our next rarity is performed by George Agard aka Johnny Melody who later joined the Pioneers. His Rocksteady gem, 'Govern Your Mouth' is one of his most sought-after solo items from his pre-Pioneers days. Another long lost rarity from the Beverley's catalogue is Austin Faithful's 1967 recording of 'Ain't That Peculiar', which demonstrated he was still in a 'rocking good mood'. Trombonist, Jo Jo Bennett is perhaps best remembered for the perennial favourite 'Leaving Rome', although there was more than one string to his bow, as illustrated by his work with the Fugitives, which included such classics as 'Rocksteady' (featured on the Creole Reggae Box Set, TJETD161) and the equally impressive 'Lecture'. Legendary pianist and singer, Gladstone Anderson received due recognition for his keyboard talents when Lynn Taitt & the Jets backed him on his 1968 debut solo album, 'Glad Sounds', from which is taken the instrumental version of 'Chances'. Not long after this was cut, the little known Young Souls recorded the questioning 'Why Did You Leave' for the then up-and-coming producer, Joe Gibbs.

The Versatiles are possibly best remembered for there festival debut, 'The Time Has Come' as well as nurturing the stunning lead vocals from Junior Byles whose distinctive voice can be heard on the forum posse's nomination, 'Worries A Yard', which around the close of 1968 was issued both by Trojan and Pama Records. Next up is the Crashers aka Gay Feet's in-house band, the Gaytones, who perform the sublime, 'Musical Fight' in fine style, while the award-winning producer, Mrs Pottinger, also released the unusual 'Mr DJ' by the Conquerors early in '69. Another combination performing under a different guise were the Soul Directions whose 'Su Su Su' for Byron Lee sounds familiar to a certain successful vocal trio of the time.

So rare is 'Adam And Eve' from the Bleechers that lead singer Leo Graham could not even recall the track, although this may have something to do with the fact that the group's name refers to 'burning the candle at both ends'. The Isley Brothers have been performing for around forty years and Anonymously Yours, a name usually associated with Dandy Livingstone, perform one of the enduring group's Motown classics, 'It's Your Thing', which demonstrates why they've inspired so many Reggae performers to cover their hits. Next up is the calming 'Feel A Little Better' from Lloyd Parks & the Techniques, produced by the group's founder, Winston Riley. As an added bonus, we've included a previously unissued mix of the track, featuring orchestration!

Tommy McCook opens disc two with 'Last Lick' that originally surfaced as the B-side of Alton Ellis and Phyllis Dillon's classic 'Remember That Sunday' although the tune is actually an instrumental version of the Sensations' 'Those Guys'. While best remembered for the aforementioned hit, the forum voted for the Sensations', 'Going In Circles', with the distinctive lead vocals of Bobby Davis. The lead vocalist later linked up with Dave Barker who had performed 'Lonely Man' with the Techniques before he relished international notoriety as a DJ. Following his success, Dave remained in the UK and subsequently performed with Bobby and Bruce Ruffin in the group, Chain Reaction, although he appears on disc three in DJ mode performing the funky-Reggae styled 'Shacatac' that echoed his international chart hits.

Ska legend, Eric Monty Morris was joined by the Maples for the sublime 'No More Teardrops', which leads to an inexcusably overlooked instrumental from Boris Gardiner. The tune 'Darkness' was produced by the aforementioned Winston Riley who was establishing a name for himself producing Hammond hits.

The late Delroy Wilson is the stuff of legend and although many of his hits are instantly recognisable he did not always enjoy the success he deserved. I am sure you will agree with the forum that the obscure 'Good To Me' quite rightly deserves a place amongst the people's choicest cuts. Lloyd Charmers, the singer, keyboardist and producer here performs 'Music Talk' with Karl Walker, a predecessor to the producer's phenomenal chartbusting success. By way of contrast to the previous track, we find Keble Drummond and the Cables performing 'Name Ring A Bell', produced by Harry J who was also the man behind Lizzy's 'More Heartaches', a DJ version of the Beltones' groundbreaking 1968 hit.

In between the two Harry J productions is Byron Lee's classically inspired 'Julianne'. The bandleader is better known for producing cover versions of Reggae favourites, although his groups interpretation of Verdi's classic made it seem like it was their own. Comparable to Byron Lee's productions, the music makers based at Federal Studios were also perceived as 'middle of the road', although one listen to Stone's 'Life Is Rough' might dispel that theory.

The late Jeff Dixon aka Free I fell victim to a gunman's bullet alongside Peter Tosh. He initially worked for JBC, but following an invitation from Duke Reid he recorded the wicked 'Superbad' over John Holt's 'I'll Be Lonely', and his career as a recording artist thereafter flourished. The late lamented Slim Smith's inimitable vocal style led to the enduring success of the Techniques and Uniques before the singer embarked on a solo career. On this compilation he performs the version of Billy Stewart's R&B classic 'Sitting In The Park' that influenced a slew of Jamaican cover versions.

Another eternal Jamaican favourite is Dennis Walk's 'Drifter' that led to a series of alternate takes including the wonderful Bongo Herman's 'Car Pound Drifter', although I Roy's DJ cut is widely accepted as the definitive version, Ron 'Trammy' Wilson, so named for his skills as a trombonist, initially performed with the Lynn Taitt and the Comets before the backing group was renamed the Jets. By 1972 Winston Riley recruited the session player to perform in his own right for the suitably named, 'Horns Of Paradise'. Fud Christian closes the second disc inna slackness style with a sketch concerning 'Dr Fud', who was obviously oblivious to the General Medical Council's guidelines, having been inspired by Lee Perry's 'Dr Dick' and Lord Kicheners 'Dr Kitch'.

There was a school of thought that UK Reggae was in some way inferior to the Jamaican sounds, although considering the number of votes for the London produced hits on disc three it would be easy to question that myth, as demonstrated in our first look at British scene with Tony Nash's 'Keep On Trying'.

When the Rudies evolved into Greyhound the group crossed over into the pop charts with their interpretation of 'Black And White'. The follow up, 'Moon River', also proved a best seller, but since then the LP mix has tended to be the version selected for compilations. Now, in response to public demand, the much over-looked hit 7" mix finally takes it rightful place on a Trojan collection. Following the demise of Greyhound, the nucleus of the band reinvented themselves as Dansak who accompanied Nora Dean for the hit, 'How Can You Do This', which also highlighted the production skills of Trevor Starr.

In many interviews with Nicky Thomas, the singer highlighted the derision Reggae suffered from mainstream DJs, while they championed formulaic Pop music. He cleverly adapted 'A Long Walk To DC' as 'BBC', which was eventually broadcast in 2002 by the station to illustrate the corporations past failings. Teddy Brown was never a prolific artist although he enjoyed a high profile on the UK scene following his success with his version of the country hit, 'Rose Garden'. The singer also performed alongside the Discolettes to perform 'Heavy Reggae Man' that originally on the flip side to his version of 'Let's Spend The Night Together'.

Studio One veteran, Winston 'Mr Fix it' Francis relocated to the UK following his success with 'California Dreaming'. Alongside Bruce Ruffin he was one of the first artists encouraged to sign with Creole, where the production team recorded his dulcet tons for 'A Little Today, A Little Tomorrow'. The Cimarons began their career in 1967 backing visiting Jamaican artists, but soon began recording under different guises. It was under their regular name, however, that they released the brilliant 'Check Out Yourself' and the album 'In Time' (TRLS 87). Their unique style so impressed Beatle, Paul McCartney, that they recorded an album with the singer that covered his hits in a Reggae Style.

One of the UK's prodigious producers namely, Danny Ray has enjoyed a remarkable career. In the early seventies he worked with Jackie Edwards for a number of releases and our pollsters have not surprisingly chosen a track from these sessions, namely 'Just Because' - they know a good tune when they hear it! Lindel 'Junior' English recorded with the Nighthawks before he found success in the UK with the appropriately titled 'Back On The Scene', as just prior to the session he had been performing across Europe. He has since maintained his profile in the UK scene with a series of hits and demonstrated an independent stance when he set up his own International English label.

The three-part vocal group, the Marvels not only provided Dandy Livingstone with backing vocals but also relished a series of hits with the singer. His production of 'Touch Me Baby' perfectly demonstrates the group's Doo Wop Reggae style that earned them a reputation for their glorious three part harmonies. The late Winston Lara aka Gene Rondo is best remembered for his efforts with B.R.A.F.A., whose 'Let's Make Africa Green Again' found the cream of the UK Reggae scene working for the same cause. He had previously recorded with the Undivided before enjoying a popular solo career with hits such as 'Ramblin' Man' that unsurprisingly echoed the style of John Holt's 'Thousand Volts' series.

Prior to help establishing the Burning Sounds label, Clement Bushay produced a number of hits for Trojan with artists, such as the aforementioned Junior English, and the lesser known Candy Lewis, whose 'I'll Be Free Someday' brings us to the final choice. Keith Williams aka Honey Boy performed alongside Ron 'Trammy' Wilson in the Comets before he found success in the UK as a soloist. Here the singer performs the classic 'You Are Mine', a song peculiarly not included on the wonderful 'Strange Thoughts' album (TRLS125). Finally, finishing off our selection is a special hidden bonus track featuring a popular UK based American DJ toasting the major Reggae acts of the day. For more information, check out the Trojan website!

So there you have it, thanks to the enthusiasm of our pollsters, as well as the efforts from the past and present website administrators, Gavin Hilzbrich, Lieutenant Ritchie and Zapatoo The Tiger, this set is a genuine labour of love.

Stephen Nye

With thanks to: 70sboy, beckey, becs, BIGFAN, Big Five, Bosssounds, boxset, Buck Birdseed, charlie.reggae, chariot, cornishrob, Dave, Dave Home, downbeat, Dyce, Ekki, Flight 404, Fred, Gino, Intensified, Jazbur, johnnyprampram, kentishdude, Kofi, LadyMystique, lightah, LORD, malc, mento man, Matt, myfairmenthol, Mike Garnice, missniceness, Montgomery Spliffed, Moses, nice guy, northern ian, Pete, phil sweatman, RasRyan, redlake, sharon, stu, Tentive75, The Reggae Room, Trev, trojanhorse, upsetterfc, VWC, wesley... and all the other regular users of the Trojan Forum.

DISC 1

DISC 2

DISC 3

Suffer Me Not
The Spanishtonians
Pour On The Sauce
The Soul Leaders with The Carib-Beats
Goodnight My Love
Roland Alphonso & The Beverley's All Stars
Coming On Strong
The Tartans
Govern Your Mouth
Johnny Melody (aka George Agart)
I'm Gonna Love You
Ewan McDermott & Jerry Matthias with The Carib-Beats
Ain't That Peculiar
Austin Faithful
The Lecture
Jo Jo Bennett & The Fugitives
I Have Changed
Carlton Alphonso
Chances
Gladstone Anderson with Lyn Taitt & The Jets
Why Did You Leave Me
The Young Souls
Worries (A Yard)
The Versatiles
Good To Me
Delroy Wilson
Music I Fight (aka Target)
The Crashers (aka The Gaytones)
Su, Su, Su
The Soul Directions
Adam And Eve
The Bleechers
Mr D.J.
The Conquerors

Last Lick
Tommy McCook & The Supersonics
No More Teardrops
Eric 'Monty' Morris & The Maples
It's Your Thing
Anonymously Yours
Darkness
Boris Gardiner & The Love People
Going in Circles
Bobby 'Blue' Davis & The Sensations
Feel A Little Better
Lloyd Parks
Lonely Man
Dave Barker & The Techniques
Music Talk
Karl Walker & The Charmers
(Name) Ring A Bell
The Cables
Julianne
Byrone Lee & The Dragonaires
More Heartaches
Lizzy
Life Is Rough
Stone
Super Bad
Jeff Dixon
Sitting in The Park
Slim Smith
The Drifter
I Roy
Horns Of Paradise
Ron 'Trammy' Wilson
Dr. Fud
Fud & Del

Keep On Trying
Tony Nash
Moon River (7" Mix)
Greyhound
B.B.C.
Nicky Thomas
Rose Garden
Teddy Brown
Shacatac
Dave Barker
A Little Today, A Little Tomorrow
Winston Francis
Check Out Yourself
The Cimarons
You Can't Buy My Love
Donny Dawson
Just Because
Danny Ray
Back On The Scene
Junior English
Touch Me Baby
The Marvels
How Could You Do This
Nora Dean & Dansak
Rambling Man
Gene Rondo
I'll Be Free Someday
Candy Lewis
You Are Mine
Honeyboy
Reggae Man
Teddy Davis & The Discolettes

Time - 44:46

Time - 48:18

Time - 52:14

All material Copyright Trojan Records