TROJAN MOD REGGAE VOL.2 BOX SET (TJETD287) - So here we are with another collection of Ska, Rocksteady and Reggae gems that have had the dance floors of many a Mod night, filled with mohair suited, loafer wearing hipsters, milking invisible cows. Whilst American Rhythm & Blues and Soul on labels such as Pye International, Chess and Tamla Motown were the mainstay of the Mods musical diet, Jamaican Ska offered that little taste of the exotic. The original Mods were quick to pick up on new trends and having worked their way through Jazz, R&B, and Soul, Ska found favour with these trend setting youths in late 1963 - early 1964.

Whenever Mod is mentioned, it invariably comes packaged alongside Rockers, Brighton and scooters, conjuring up images of youths charging along the seafront, brawling with one another to a soundtrack made up of The Who and The Small Faces. Though those two bands came after the event, the Mod soundtrack at the time of the Bank Holiday riots was definitely from Jamaica. Generation X, the famed psychology study written at the time contained many accounts from Mods and the overwhelming opinion was that Blue Beat was most definitely the sound of the moment. The music of Derrick Morgan, Laurel Aitken, Prince Buster and The Skatalites had reached a new audience thousands of miles from home in clubs such as The Scene, The Flamingo and Tiles in London's Oxford Street. Mods began frequenting traditional West Indian nightspots, such as The Roaring Twenties in Carnaby Street and Count Suckie's "Q" Club in Paddington, to hear more of this music, as well as to take note of how the Jamaican youths dressed. All this meant good news for the record labels that were releasing the music, which up until then, was aimed at the immigrant communities. With the indigenous population taking note of Ska, Island and Blue Neat became major players, with Blue Beat becoming a generic term for Ska used by all, in the same way that Blue Note, Tamla Motown and Acid Jazz have in their respective fields.

A subsidiary of Emil Shalit's Melodisc and managed by Siggy Jackson, the Blue Beat label launched in 1960 with Laurel Aitken's 'Boogie Rock' and neared 400 releases before it was superseded by Fab in 1967. Around a quarter of those releases are the product of one man - step forward Cecil Bustamente Campbell. Known the world over as Prince Buster, such was his standing amongst the Mods, he's one of the few artists to have been honoured with an escort of chromed up scooters whenever he would hit town. Alongside a roster that included the aforementioned Laurel Aitken and Derrick Morgan, there was Theo Beckford, Owen Gray, Byron Lee, Clancy Eccles and the odd US R&B releases from Titus Turner and Hank Marr, Blue Beat was virtually unchallenged for the first two years.

Then Chris Blackwell brought  his Island Records operation over from Jamaica, releasing 'Independent Jamaica Calypso' by Lord Creator in 1962, the first in over 450 releases to 1968. Among the many artists that would release records on Island, Derrick Morgan, Owen Gray and Laurel Aitken would again feature heavily, but add to that came early releases for Desmond Dekker, Lee Perry, John holt, Clancy Eccles, The Maytals (as the Flames or The Vikings) and Jimmy Cliff. And I didn't even mention The Wailers did I? Island's sister label, Black Swan put out scorching cuts by Tommy McCook, Jackie Opel and Don Drummond amongst others, between '62 and '65, and among those who followed suit were Graeme Goohall's Doctor Bird and Rita and Benny King's R&B/Ska Beat imprints, plus a host of smaller labels long since forgotten by all except the most ardent of collectors.

Not only were these labels releasing a new music from a country that had recently gained its independence, they were doing it at an alarming rate, so much so that's almost in time with the hardest hitting Ska you could wish to hear. Now, that's not to say that all Ska is hard and fast, it contains elements of Jazz, Rhythm and Blues and Soul and therein lies the appeal of the music to Mods. Three forms of their staple diet, mixed with a Jamaican twist to create something that was new, exciting and very danceable.

How could any self-respecting face resist the call of the dancefloor when that slightly off-beat rhythm struck up? London's hippest musicians were also taking note, none more so than Georgie Fame who recorded with Prince Buster as well as releasing his own 'Rhythm and Blue Beat' EP. Graham Bond backed up Ernest Ranglin on an EP for Black Swan, whilst in 1964 Chris Farlowe released 'The Blue Beat' on Decca under the guise of The Beazers. Blue Beat reciprocated the favour by releasing 'Blue Beat Baby' by Brigitte Bond, although a rather tame affair, it contains the line "All the Mods wanna tap their feet". Mods and Ska had officially become partners and it's a relationship that lasts to this day, from Manchester's Hideaway R&B Club to Rude in Reading and a whole host of London club nights, such as Right On, Set The Tone, Coast To coast, Reggae Train, Reggae Shack and Steppin' Out, all helping to keep that link alive.

After 40 years, the demand for Ska shows no sign of letting up, with artists like The Skatalites, Desmond Dekker and Prince Buster still filling up venues on a regular basis. And whilst the prices of original vinyl now command figures more akin to the Northern Soul scene, Siggy Jackson has re-launched the Blue Beat label. Even the 2-Tone era bands are having a resurgence of late, having reached the grand old age of 25 and new Ska acts such as the Duellers and The Nine Ton Peanut Smugglers are leaning towards a more authentic sound. The former having busked around shopping centres on Saturday afternoons for a couple of years even managed to break the top 30 late last year. Television and Radio regularly use Ska's upbeat quirkiness to great effect in advertising everything from insurance, health capsules and their own programming. And more importantly for us, Trojan's policy of working with Ska collectors, promoters and DJs means that they can bring you the very best from their vast armoury of Jamaican music, where you'll find some established favourites and lesser-known gems all nestled together on the same tidy package.

As if tailor made for this compilation, compiled here for the first time are Byron Lee's stunning take on Booker T and The MG's Mod standard, 'Green Onions' and Jimmy Smith's 'The Cat' is given the Roland Alphonso treatment, alongside evergreen Ska favourites, such as Jimmy cliff's 'King Of Kings' and Derrick Morgan's 'Blazing Fire'.

Whether you attended The Scene or The Flamingo in the 60's Sneakers or the Soulful Shack in the 80's, or attend the current club nights mentioned earlier, these are the tunes that have kept mohair suited, loafer wearing, invisible cow milking Mods on the dance floor - and long may it continue.

Dave Edwards

DISC 1

DISC 2

DISC 3

Green Onions
Byron Lee & The Dragonaires
Little Did You Know
The Techniques
This Is Thunder
The Dingle Brothers & Baba Brooks' Band
Nuclear Weapon
Dave & Ansel Collins
The Whip
The Ethiopians
Doctor Jekyll
Dave Barker & Lloyd Charmers
Kiddy-O
The Muskyteers (aka The Silvertones)
Doctor Who
The Crystalites
Come On Little Girl
The Melodians
Happy Go Lucky Girl
The Paragons
Honour Your Mother And Father
Desmond Dekker
Blazing Fire
Derrick Morgan
Baby Elephant Walk
Baby Brooks' Band
Come Down
Lord Tanamo
Let's Have Some Fun
Devon & The Tartans
Song For My Father
Roland Alphonso
Can I Get A Witness
Owen Gray

Choo Choo Ska
Llans Thewell & His Celestials
Vacation
The Melodites
Latin Goes Ska
The Skatalites
River To The Bank
Derrick Morgan
I'm Your Man
John Holt
I Dangerous
Roy Bennett
Prison Of Love
Dave Barker
Cock Robin
Ansel Collins
No More Heartaches
The Beltones
Ghost Chicken
The Music Doctors
King Of Kings
Jimmy Cliff
Sun Rises
Dotty & Bennie
True Confession
The Silvertones
Heartbeat
Ernest Ranglin
I Like Your World
The Gayletts
Double Wheel
The Upsetters

Watermelon Man
Baba Brooks
Get Up Edina
Desmond Dekker
Don De Lion
Don Drummons
Mama Didn't Lie
Derrick Harriott
My Desire
The Yard Brooms
Workman Song
Pat Kelly
Splash Down
The Crystalites
Each Time
The Ebony Sisters
Cat Woman
Glen Adams & The Bunny Lee All Stars
The Cat
Roland Alphonso
Dance Crasher
Alton Ellis
Night Train (Ska)
Byron Lee & The Dragonaires
Miss Universe
Jimmy Cliff
Devil's Lead Soup
The Rudies
Hong Kong Flu
The Ethiopians
Death Rides A Horse
Roy Richards
Bronco
Lord Comic & The Upsetters

Time - 46:02

Time - 41:32

Time - 45:58

All material Copyright Trojan Records