TROJAN ROOTS BOX SET (TRBCD008) - Unlike other forms of Jamaican music 'Roots Reggae' has no precise definition. The term refers not to a particular genre, but rather the message conveyed by the lyric. In essence, any song reflecting a strong cultural theme can fall into the category and although by this definition 'Roots' records has existed throughout the history of Jamaican music, it was not until the seventies that the term came into common usage. It was during this decade that the majority of Jamaican songwriters began to focus upon social injustice and the teachings of the Rastafarian faith, which by this time had become the islands fastest growing religion.

Drawing their inspiration primarily from Judaism and Egyptian mysticism, the early Rastafarian leaders also incorporated the teachings of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, a forceful defender of black rights throughout the early 1900's. Garvey claimed Ethiopia to be the true homeland of the black race and it was this precept which became a cornerstone for the religion. Many Rasta elders also claimed Garvey prophesied the redemption of all black peoples by an Ethiopian king, although there is no evidence to support this assertion. None the less, when the Prince Regent of Abyssinia, Ras Tafari Makennen was crowned Negusa Negust and assumed the official title of Emperor Haile Selassie I on November 2nd 1930, many believed the prophecy to be fulfilled and that deliverance for the black race was at hand.

The first concentration of Rasta followers settled in encampments around Jamaica's eastern hills, but by the early sixties, growing numbers had moved into suburban areas. There, the religion proved particularly compelling to the local populous, taking a firm foothold in many of the poorer districts. It was the incredible scenes of euphoria during the state visit of Emperor Haile Selasie on April 21st 1966, however, which brought Rastafarianism to the attention of the Jamaican public at large. By the early seventies, it's influence became increasingly apparent in the island's music, with artists such as Max Romeo, The Abyssinians, The Ethiopians and Bob Marley & The Wailers among the first to extol the faith. A few years later, it's doctrines had become the predominant theme throughout Jamaican music, with established stars and a new generation of performers alike advocating the Rasta faith and it's emphasis on black consciousness. It was around this time that the term 'Roots' began to be widely used to describe such releases, as illustrated by Bob Marley's 1976 hit "Roots Reggae Rock".

Throughout the remainder of the decade, the religion continued to exert a profound influence on Reggae songsmiths, but with the passing of it's most prominent exponent, Bob Marley, it lost it's most powerful voice. Over the years that have followed, Rastafarianism has played an ever diminishing role in Reggae, with more and more younger performers less inclined to embrace it's teachings. And although 'Roots' music still has a place within contemporary Jamaican music, it's themes are predominantly preached by the older, more established acts.

The 50 tracks on this collection date primarily from the seventies - a period widely acknowledged as the golden age of 'Roots' music. These recordings reflect the broad spectrum of performers who incorporated songs of a cultural and religious nature into their repertoire - from the likes of Delroy Wilson, Cornell Campbell, Peter Tosh, The Heptones and The Viceroys all of whom had actively been making music since the sixties - to more youthful performers, such as Sugar Minott, Johnny Clarke, Linval Thompson and Big Youth, who made their mark the following decade.

Finally, if you do not entirely agree with all that is conveyed within the lyrics of these songs, focus upon the quality of the performances and enjoy these recordings for what they are - Reggae at it's most sublime.




Cool Rasta
The Heptones
I A Man African
The Sons Of Selassie
Rise In The Strength Jah
Rise Jah Jah Children
Ras Michael & The Sons Of Negus
I And I The Chosen One
New Town Sound Ltd.
Brother Noah
The Shadows
Jah Jah Bless The Dreadlocks
The Mighty Diamonds
Africa Is The Black Man's Home
Sugar Minott
None Shall Escape The Judgement
Johnny Clarke
Carlton Jackson
Purify Your Heart
Johnny Osbourne
Jah Jah Me Born Yah
Cornell Campbell
Rasta Dreadlocks
Heaven Sisters
Burn Babylon
Sylford Walker
Psalm 68
Horace Andy
Rejoice Jah Jah Children
The Silvertones
Dread Is Best
Big Youth

Under Heavy Manners
Prince Far I
Arise Black Man
Peter Tosh
Yim Mas Gan
The Abyssinians
Babylon Falling
The Heptones
Hail Rasta Brother Hail
The Ethiopians
Enter Into His Gates With Praise
Johnny Clarke
African People
The Jay Boys
City Too Hot
Lee Perry
Dennis Brown
Jah Fire
George Boswell
Dread In Babylon
Big Youth
Talk About It
Mighty Diamonds
Free Jah Jah Children
Sugar Minott
Blackmans Time
Neville Grant
Babylon Wrong
Ashanti Waugh
Keep Cool Babylon
Ras Michael & The Sons Of Negus

Babylon A Fall Down
Velvet Shadows
Never Gonna Give Up Jah
Sugar Minott
Nyah Man
Johnny Osbourne
Ras Michael & The Sons Of Negus
Moving On To Zion
Johnny Clarke
African Dub
The Coming Of Jah
Max Romeo
Ten Dread Commandments
Mr Bojangles
Condition Bad A Yard
The Ethiopians
Babylon Deh Pon Fire
Truth Fact And Correct
Ghetto Living
The Mighty Diamonds
Delroy Wilson
Anthony 'Sangie' Davis & Lee Perry
Milk And Honey
The Judgement Come
Cornell Campbell
Mistry Babylon
The Heptones
I Love Marijuana
Linval Thompson

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