TROJAN BEATLES TRIBUTE BOX SET (TJETD220) - The Beatles were the most popular group the world has ever known. Not content with scoring 17 number one hits in Britain, they hit the top of the U.S. singles chart 20 times and have continued to move shed-loads of records with their reissues. As well as their own recordings, the songs of John Lennon & Paul McCartney and, to a lesser extent, George Harrison, have attracted literally thousands of covers versions worldwide. But surely the island of Jamaica was an exception? After all, Jamaican musicians of the Sixties and Seventies were influenced more by the sound of young America than the sound of young Liverpool. Far from it, the island's musicians and producers have always been adept at spotting a good tune and, let's face it, the Liverpudlian lads wrote a hell of a lot of good tunes.

Prince Buster, so often first out of the musical traps, may have been the first artist in Kingston to adapt a Beatles song when he recorded 'And I Love Her' in 1965. It wasn't long before the idea caught on, as we shall see. Indeed, bassist/bandleader Byron Lee also covered 'And I Love Her' the same year, and at this distance we may never know whether he or the Prince made it to the studio first. The Khouris at Federal Records didn't lag far behind, whisking ace guitarist Ernest Ranglin into Federal Studios to cover 'You Won't See Me' from the boys' Rubber Soul LP.

You'll find both those on our first disc. You may have noticed that the clever (-dick) compiler has arranged the tracks in the order of their first Beatles release dates, so we actually kick off with future Upsetter, Glen Adams' 'I Want To Hold Your Hand', the lads' fifth UK no.1 (and their first in America) as 1963 met 1964. In the summer of the latter year they released the film, A Hard Days Night, and it's attendant LP. You could scarcely accuse Pat Kelly of jumping on the bandwagon: it took the sweet -toned singer 20 years to get around to recording the title track! As well as the already-noted Byron Lee track, we have Now Gen offering the lesser-known 'I'll Be Back'.

'Yesterday', possibly the world's most-recorded song (about 3000 known versions at the last count) virtually a solo Paul McCartney performance, was never a UK single in the Sixties: it was the lead track of an EP. Producer Charles Ross evidently liked the song, as here we have two version, by veteran Joe White and his Flame All Stars, both originally issued on his the short-lived Sugar label, Joe also cut 'If I Needed Someone' from the 'Rubber Soul' LP. This LP, released just in time for Christmas in 1965, also caught the ear of Ernie Ranglin, as noted, and another Ernie, Mr. Smith, both of who would cover 'You Won't See Me', along with Willie Lindo  who offers the instrumental 'Norwegian Wood', re-titled as 'A Darker Shade Of Black'.

In 1966 the Beatles enjoyed a double-sided hit with 'Yellow Submarine' / 'Eleanor Rigby'; six years later BB Seaton made an excellent job of the latter song, also on a strong double-sider (the flip was an exuberant version of 'Sweet Caroline'). The next quartet of tracks were also hit singles: Don Carlos gives a modern slant to 1967's 'Hello Goodbye', the Crystalites version 1968's 'Lady Madonna' and we have two approaches to the anthemic 'Hey Jude', by classy singer John Holt and by Clancy Eccles' studio band the Dynamites. We end this disc with a couple of songs which first saw the light on the double LP usually known as 'The White Album', issued in 1968 (yes, just in time for Christmas again): Ken Lazarus repays the compliments of the ska-style 'Ob-La-Di O-La-Da' while the glowingly-named Rosalyn Sweat, backed by John Holt's group, the Paragons, warbles the more reflective 'Blackbird'.

We start disc two with another track from that White Album, and another from long-serving John Holt: 'I Will', ideally suited to his wistful tones, is one of many gems he recorded for producer Tony Ashfield. Both sides of the Beatles' first single of 1969, the chart topping 'Get Back' / 'Don't Let Me Down', attracted Ja. cover versions that same year: Anonymously Yours cut the A-side for the almost-as-anonymous Bart San Fillipo, while one of the island's greatest female singers, Marcia Griffiths, did the B-side for the rather better known Harry Johnson.

By 1969 the Fab Four were diverging: in particular, John Lennon had founded the Plastic Ono Band whose first hit was ;Give Peace A Chance', which the Maytals, grabbing the opportunity for a great gospel rave-up, lost no time in covering. In the autumn of that year, the Beatles did manage to release a new LP, Abbey Road, and it's evident that Byron Lee at Dynamic Sounds was still listening closely: here we have Dynamic versions of two of the LP's songs. The Blues Busters apply their soulful harmonies to George Harrison's 'Something' while Dobby Dobson takes on 'Carry That Weight'. Harrison's songwriting was developing by this time, and Sharon Forrester's voice is perfect for his optimistic 'Here Comes The Sun'. Finally, in 1970, the former moptops released their last LP and single, the aptly named 'Let It Be'. The same year, the song was covered by a number of Jamaican acts, including the two featured here: Nicky Thomas and Lee Perry's Upsetters, the latter with the assistance of the all female vocal trio, the Soulettes, who obviously hadn't quite found the time to master all of the songs lyrics.

So as the Seventies dawned, the former Beatles embarked on solo careers. For drummer Ringo Starr, sing-a-long revivals of Rock 'n' Roll songs and life as a TV steam locomotive would beckon: the others never quite scaled those heights, but they did write great songs. Or did they? George Harrison's 'My Sweet Lord' presented here by yet another Dynamic artist, Byron Lee's band singer Keith Lyn, was a no.1 smash for the hirsute singer/guitarist in 1971, but his joy must have diminished when a court ruled that he had used the melody of Ronnie Mack's 1960's song 'He's So Fine', a hit for girl group, the Chiffons.

There was no such doubt over who composed 'Happy Xmas (War Is Over)', though - John Lennon's festive evergreen was covered by the silky smooth John Holt for the former Paragons' 1986 Reggae Christmas Hits album. Down in Peasmarsh, Sussex, Paul McCartney was supplying his new group Wings with an endless stream of naggingly tuneful pop songs. Both 'My Love', sung here by the consistent Ken Boothe, and the Bond film theme 'Live And Let Die', further proof of Byron Lee's fondness for The Beatles, were top tenners for the group in 1973.

The Beatles also found time to write songs for other artists. We do not know of a Jamaican version of 'I Wanna Be Your Man', which Lennon & McCartney penned for the Rolling Stones, but we can offer you The Techniques' version of the sweepingly melodic 'World Without Love', a hit for Peter & Gordon in 1964, along with it's version, and Ken Lazarus' tilt at 'Come And Get It', penned by McCartney in 1969 and a hit that year for Badfinger on The Beatles' Apple label.
Meanwhile, back in London, Britain's thriving Reggae community could hardly remain immune to the Fab Four's influence. Numerous UK-based artists of West Indian origin have interpreted Beatles songs over the years. Some have made a right old horlicks of it, but on disc three we bring you a Collection Of Reggae Beatles Oldie- But Goodies!

Once again, we've arranged the tracks in the order in which the Fabs recorded them. Looking at the first track, you may question whether the group ever waxed a tune called 'Reggae And Shout'. Well, early in their career they did wax 'Twist And Shout' on an EP. This wasn't a Lennon/McCartney original: it had hit for the Isley Brothers in the States the previous year. The Beatles' record company declined to issue the lads' version of it on a 45, so the Isleys enjoyed some UK chart action before being overtaken by Brian Poole's opportunist cover. Seven years later, established Ja. star Derrick Morgan went into a London studio with the Mowhawks band and his mates Denzil Dennis and Lloyd Campbell, Reggae-fied the tune and issued it as by The Black Beatles!

We've already met 'And I Love Her' on disc one. In the early Eighties another UK-domiciled Jamaican star, Alton Ellis, cut the definitive Reggae reading of it - listen to a master at work as he brings out the soul in the song. Another prolific UK-based Jamaican was Robert Thompson, alias Dandy; he had come to England as a child and made his mark as songwriter, producer and hit maker in this country. Here we have his version of 'Yesterday', and his production of the Israelites on 'Come Together'. This Came out on Down Town, a Trojan subsidiary with which Dandy was deeply involved, and it may well be him on lead vocals.

Another singer turned producer, Jackie Robinson of the Pioneers, interprets 'In My Life' from the Rubber Soul LP. The members of the Pioneers made a considerable contribution to British Reggae in the Seventies. Emmanuel 'Rico' Rodriguez has lived in London, with occasional forays back to the Caribbean, since 1962, and has played his trombone on innumerable records including several Pop hits. Here he fronts Joey's All Stars on 'Hey Jude'. Despite touring and recording extensively, cuddly chanteuse Joyce Bond never made the Pop charts; she came closest with her zestful cover of 'Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da', which sold by the bucket load in early 1969.

Another long-serving Jamaican star based in London, Desmond Dekker, still puts on a good live show and makes the occasional record, too (check out his Trojan LP with The Specials), like this version of 'Blackbird'. Susan Cadogan has recently revived her singing career; at one time she looked set for stardom as her 'Hurt So Good' crashed into the charts. But her next producer Pete Waterman couldn't apply the magic touch which would propel Kylie Minogue, Rick Astley and other talents to the top, and her 'Something' did nothing.

Dawn Penn and Nicky Thomas both contribute worthy versions of George Harrison songs, as do the Rudies on 'My Sweet Lord'. Unjustly forgotten, white, blonde-haired T.T.Ross, alias Joan Ross alias Nina Mckenzie, was hot news in the mid-Seventies with a succession of Lovers Rock singles like 'Last Date' and 'I Will'. Here she purrs her way through 'Imagine'. Finally, Del Davis does that Peter & Gordon hit 'World Without Love', with it's Johnny Arthey strings version in tow, bringing to an end our programme of Reggae inna Scouser stylee.

Mike Atherton

DISC 1

DISC 2

DISC 3

I Wanna Hold Your Hand
Glen Adams
A Hard Day's Night
Pat Kelly
And I Love Her
Byron Lee & The Dragonaires
You Never Know (I'll Be Back)
The Now Generation
Yesterday
Joe White
Yesterday
The Flame All Stars
Norwegian Wood (aka A Darker Shade Of Black)
Willie Lindo
You Won't See Me
Ernest Ranglin
You Won't See Me
Ernie Smith
If I Needed Someone
Joe White
No Eleanor Rigby
B.B. Seaton
Hello, Goodbye
Don Carlos
Lady Madonna
The Crystalites
Hey Jude
John Holt
Hey Jude
The Dynamites
Ob La Di Ob La Da
Ken Lazarus
Blackbird (Singing)
Rosalyn Sweat & The Paragons

I Will
John Holt
Get Back
Anonymously Yours
Don't Let Me Down
Marcia Griffiths
Don't Let Me Down
The Harry J All Stars
Give Peace A Chance
The Maytals
Something
The Blues Busters
Here Comes The Sun
Sharon Forrester
Carry That Weight
Dobby Dobson
Let It Be
Nicky Thomas
Let It Be
The Upsetters (Featuring The Soulettes)
My Sweet Lord
Keith Lynn & The S.P.M's & Byron Lee & The Dragonaires
Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
John Holt
My Love
Ken Boothe
Live And Let Die
Byron Lee & The Dragonaires
World Without Love
The Techniques
Show Me Your Motion (World Without Love Version)
King Kouchi & The Techniques
Come And Get It
Ken Lazarus

Reggae And Shout (Twist And Shout)
The Black Beatles (featuring Derrick Morgan, Denzil Dennis & Lloyd Campbell)
And I Love Her
Alton Ellis
Yesterday
Dandy
In My Life
Jackie Robinson
In My Life Dub
The Pioneer All Stars
Hey Jude
Rico & The Rudies (aka Joe's All Stars)
Ob La Di Ob La Da
Joyce Bond
Blackbird (singing)
Desmond Dekker
Come Together
The Israelites
Something
Susan Cadogan
Here Comes The Sun
Dawn Penn
Isn't It A Pity
Nicky Thomas
My Sweet Lord
The Rudies
Imagine
T.T. Ross
A World Without Love
Del Davis
A World Without Love
Johnny Arthey Orchestra

Time - 54:33

Time - 51:03

Time - 52:01

All material Copyright Trojan Records