TROJAN SINGLES BOX SET (TRBCD012) - The Trojan label was originally launched in the UK by the B&C/Island partnership, as an outlet for the production work of Duke Reid. Following B&C's decision to split away from Island, and the latter's decision to withdraw from Jamaican music, a new company called Trojan Records was set up. In 1968 the Trojan label was relaunched, with a batch of UK recordings produced by Robert Thompson, who used the name Dandy (and Brother Dan) for his work. Before long, Jamaican produced releases replaced the UK sides, and a string of high quality records hit the shops. Most of the top Jamaican producers saw their work issued here on Trojan, including Lee Perry, Clancy Eccles, Sir J.J. Johnson, Duke Reid, Harry J. and Leslie Kong to name but a few. By the end of 1969, a little over a year since the relaunch, Trojan penetrated the UK singles chart for the first time, scoring hits with discs by The Pioneers, Harry J. All Stars and Jimmy Cliff.

Hundreds of sides have appeared on Trojan since then, fifty of which have been selected for inclusion here. As with other Box Sets in the series, this collection provides an ideal introduction to the company's output, and in this particular case, the Trojan label itself. Disc 1 presents a selection of tracks released between July 1968 and January 1970, the majority of which have never been on album or CD before. We open with a pair of Rock Steady cuts from producer Dandy, followed by Derrick Morgan's big seller Fat Man, complete with horns version fronted by Val Bennett. The next four tracks are from producer Clancy Eccles, and include Bangarang Crash, an alternative take on the Auntie Lulu rhythm. Tyrone Evans of the Paragons offers two long forgotten classics, before we hit the first of several Leslie Kong productions - Double Shot (a version of the Pioneers hit), which account for the remaining tracks on this disc.

Disc 2 draws on releases made between January 1970 and April 1973, a time in which Jamaican music went through a series of subtle changes. Leslie Kong continued to dominate the smoother side of Reggae from the beginning of 1970, right up until his untimely death in 1971. As a result, artists like Desmond Dekker, The Maytals and Pioneers, suddenly found themselves without a producer. Whilst the Maytals moved on to work at Dynamic, Desmond and the Pioneers settled in the UK, signing contracts with Trojan. Here they worked at the cutting edge of British Reggae, along with other artists like Bruce Ruffin, helping to forge a distinctly commercial Pop orientated sound. For a time, this particular style proved very popular, providing the label with a number of UK chart hits. However, by the summer of 1973 tastes had changed, and most Reggae fans had turned towards a more rootsier sound.

The tracks on this disc have been carefully selected to illustrate the above. We open with a typical Ken Boothe vocal, on which he shows why he has been compared to several leading R7B singers. This is followed by a Winston Riley produced instrumental, and the Rock Steady cut to 54-46 Was My Number. Lambert Briscoe was the producer behind the Hot Rod All stars, whose records now command high prices amongst collectors. Joe White features on two tracks. Firstly I'm Gonna Get There, produced by Rupie Edwards (complete with version), and So Much Love, produced by Leslie Kong. The former marks the gradual change towards a more commercial sound, further illustrated by the remaining tracks. Of particular interest, is Soul singer Joyce Bond's previously obscure cover pf Help Me Make It Through The Night, and You Don't Know Like I Know, on which the Pioneers are clearly influenced by the Temptations.

Between 1973 and 1978, Reggae went through a further series of changes. During this period there was a noticeable swing towards Roots music amongst Jamaican producers, whilst UK based artists continued with a more commercial sound. In part, this contributed to the collapse of Trojan's original management in 1975. They failed to follow the trend, and lost their share of the market. The company was quickly bought out of receivership by Saga Records, and before long, the Trojan label was in full flow once more. However, from that point onwards, the company employed a new strategy, and concentrated on the album market. Singles were gradually used to publicise album releases, and as 12" Disco Mixes became increasingly popular, the 7" was phased out. With singles becoming less important, Trojan issued their final contemporary Various Artists showcase in 1978, bringing a golden decade to a close.

The tracks on this third disc, present a largely overlooked side to the Trojan label, collecting together recordings from the above mentioned period for the first time in over twenty years. We open with Pat Rhoden (who also appears on Disc 1 as a member of The Jivers), and an update of his hit record from 1973.  John Holt's Reggae From The Ghetto, has never featured on album before, which is suprising given the recording's smooth production. Talking of which, from the middle Seventies onwards, Lloyd Charmers and Derrick Harriott emerged as the most Soulful producers in Jamaica. The former enjoyed great success with Ken Boothe, including two UK hits, whilst Harriott concentrated more on his own work, all illustrated here. The remaining tracks continue in similar vein, and include Louisa Marks' big seller Keep It Like It Is, as well as a distinctly funky production on Lorna Bennett from Harry J - enjoy.

Chris Pete (Let's Catch The Beat)

DISC 1

DISC 2

DISC 3

Our Love Will Last
The Divers
Easter Organ
Brother Dan All Stars
Fat Man
Derrick Morgan
South Parkway Rock
Val Bennett
Old Man Say
Silverstars
Promises
Silverstars
Bangarang Crash
Clancy Eccles
Rahtid
Dynamites
If This World Were Mine
Tyrone Evans
You Done Me Wrong
Tyrone Evans
Double Shot
Beverley's All Stars
Banana Water
Melodians
Copy Cat
Derrick Morgan
I'll Need You Tomorrow
Kingstonians
Smoke Screen
Beverley's All Stars
Lick It Back
Clarendonians
Busy Bee
Tyrone Evans

Keep My Love From Fading
Ken Boothe
Eldora
Techniques All Stars
54-46 That's My Number
The Maytals
Virgin Soldiers
Hot Rod All Stars
I'm Gonna Get There
Joe White
Kinky Funky Reggae
Rupie Edwards's All Stars
So Much Love
Joe White
Be Yours
Beverley's All Stars
Darling Please Return
The Barons
Take Me As I Am
Jackie Edwards
One Big Happy Family
Bruce Ruffin
Come On Girl
Jackie Edwards
Help Me Make It Through The Night
Joyce Bond
You Don't Know Like I Know
Pioneers
I'll Take You There
Deltones
At The Discotheque
Pioneers

What About You
Pat Rhoden
Check Out Yourself
Climarons
Reggae From The Ghetto
Marcia Griffiths
Whole World's Down On Me
B.B. Seaton & Ken Boothe
I'm Lonely No More
Teddy Brown
Time Is The Master
Tito Simon
Being In Love
Derrick Harriott
Help Me
Freddie McKay
Reverend Lee
Lorna Bennett
Let Go
Ken Boothe
Run Away Pet
Donna Hinds
Keep It Like It Is
John Holt
Why Must You Cry
Barry Biggs
Come Back Girl
Nicky Thomas
Strange Thoughts
Honey Boy
Pie In The Sky
Eugene Paul
Love Don't Love Nobody
Ken Boothe

Time - 43:23

Time - 46:25

Time - 53:33

All material Copyright Trojan Records