TROJAN JAMAICAN HITS BOX SET (TRBCD017) - Recording a hit record is of course a major achievement for any artiste, but while breaching the national music charts in your own country is one thing, repeating that success in others is quite another. Indeed, some of the most important recordings in Jamaica's musical history still remain relatively unknown anywhere outside it's golden shores, and it is 50 such sides that make up this collection.

All the recordings included on this set appeared on the annual top 25 chart for one of Jamaica's premier radio stations, JBC, from 1960, up until it's final year, 1973 - a fascinating period in the island's musical history. From Jamaican Blues, through the Ska and Rocksteady years, and finally, up until the more contemporary sounds of Reggae, this collection not only presents a wonderful opportunity to trace the development of Jamaican music during this golden age, but also to hear some of the most popular sounds of their day.

DISC 1 (1960 to 1967)

The collection opens with Derrick Morgan's hugely popular "Fat Man", which in 1960, provided the singer with his first major hit and is a fine example of an early style known as Jamaican Boogie or Blues Beat. The Mellow Larks' gospel flavoured "Time To Pray (Hallelujah)" from the following year almost defies classification, bridging the gap between Gospel and R&B. In contrast, "Humpty Dumpty" by Eric 'Monty' Morris (also from 1961) has often been accredited as the first real Ska record. Within twelve months, the genre had all but fully developed, as illustrated by Derrick & Patsy's "Housewives Choice" and by the time Desmond Dekker launched his career in 1963 with "Honour Your Mother And Father", Ska was firmly established as Jamaica's favourite form of popular music. Two further examples of Ska '63-style are Lord Tanamo's "Come Down" and the instrumental "One More Time", by leading bass player, Lloyd Brevett and the Beverley's All Stars.

In 1964, Ska reached a world-wide audience through Millie Small's international best-seller "My Boy Lollipop", but back in Jamaica, it was business as usual. Among the best-sellers that year were Carlos Malcolm & His Afro-Jamaican Rhythms' superb reworking of the theme from the popular TV show, "Bonanza", "Yeah Baby Yeah" by Wilburn 'Stranger' Cole & Patsy Todd and Winston Samuels' "Be Prepared". But while Ska continued to dominate the island's music scene well into 1965 (with hits such as "Try Me" , by justin hinds & The Dominoes), other styles were by no means dismissed, with one of the biggest sellers of the year being Joe White & Chuck's soulful ballad, "Every Night".

The spell of abnormally hot weather throughout the spring of 1966 is often attributed to bringing about one of the most significant changes in the development of Jamaican music. Whether or not it was the searing heat, or simply a need for changes, the driving beat of Ska was gradually supplanted by the slower rhythms of Rocksteady as the year progressed. From this transitional period comes Delroy Wilson's ever popular seminal version of The Tams' "Dancing Mood". By the early months of 1967, the last vestiges of Ska had disappeared. The sound of Rocksteady now ruled supreme and while it's reign ultimately proved short-lived, the era spawned some of the most enduring recordings in the history of Jamaican music. The style particularly suited vocal groups, whose harmonies had previously been severely restricted by the rigid structure of Ska, and few achieved greater success during this period than The Paragons and The Techniques. "Only A Smile" and "You Don't Care" (aka "You'll Want Be Back"), which provided hits for the two respective groups are among the finest examples of the style which proved popular among Jamaican audiences throughout the Rocksteady era. Among the other major hits of '67 was The Kingstonians' "Winey Winey" and the enigmatic Roy Shirley, who after years in the business, finally made his breakthrough with "Hold Them" (aka "Feel Good").

DISC 2 (1968 to 1969)

One of the first major hits of '68 was "Long Story" which had actually been recorded the previous year by newcomer, Rudy Mills, while other big sellers during the early part of the year were Toots & The Maytals' "54 45 That's My Number", "Long Shot" by The Pioneers and Desmond Dekker & The Aces' 1968 Jamaican Festival Song winner, "Intensified '68" (aka Music Like Dirt). By the time leading vocal trio, The Melodians cut "It Comes And Goes", Rocksteady was showing signs of change. The percussion, and in particular the hi-hat, became increasingly prominent in the mix, while the languid rhythm guitar style previously favoured, was supplanted by a more aggressive, cutting technique. Soon after, the tempo of the music increased and a looping bass line was introduced. In addition, the organ, piano or guitar were used to create secondary rhythms, resulting in a jumpy effect. Such developments are clearly evident on "Dance With Me" by Winston 'Delano' Stewart, Stranger Cole & Lester Sterling's "Bangarang", "Everybody Needs Love" by Keith 'Slim' Smith and Roland Alphonso's instrumental version of the former, entitled "A Thousand Tons Of Megaton". But not everyone embraced these changes and a notable exception was The Ethiopians "Everything Crash", which featured an innovative arrangement, performed by leading instrumental group, Bobby Aitken & The Carribeats.

By the end of the year, Rocksteady was no longer recognisable and the new style was given a new name; Reggae. Early Reggae hits from 1969 included Bob Andy's "The Games People Play", "Come Back Darling" by Johny Osbourne & The Sensations, The Hippy Boy's instrumental "Doctor No Go" and "How Long" by former Techniques' front man, Pat Kelly. Little Roy (real name Earl Lowe) also achieved a major breakthrough with "Bongo Nyah", the first song with an overly Rastafarian theme to break into the Jamaican charts.

DISC 3 (1970 to 1973)

Another performer whose recordings were to have a significant impact on the future development of Reggae was Ewart Beckford, who in 1970 recorded a series of huge hits as U Roy. Although recordings featuring dee-jays were certainly nothing new, U Roy popularized the art of toasting to a new level, with the astounding success of recordings such as "Wear You To The Ball", sparking an explosion of releases of a similar ilk.

Aside from the various changes within Jamaican music, it was also affected by developments abroad. Veteran singer/songwriter/producer, DErrick Harriott was among those most heavily influenced by American R&B and Soul, as reflected in his excellent "Psychedelic Train", also from 1970. The year also produced a sizeable hit for another seasoned performer, Carl Dawkins, whose "Satisfaction" provided the singer with his first major hit since 1967.

1971 proved a very successful year for Bob Marley & The Wailers, with one their best selling singles of the year being "Trenchtown Rock" - a song that dominated the music charts throughout the summer. Another artiste who scored a number of hits during '71 was former Paragons frontman John holt, with his interpretation of Shep & The Limelites "Stick By Me" among the most enduring of his many recordings. Among the lesser known acts to find their way into the Jamaican charts were Willie Francis, with "Oh What A Mini" and the newly formed Fabulous Five, whose "Come Back And stay" provided the group with their first big-seller.

Lloyd Parks, who had previously sung with leading vocal groups, The Termites and The Techniques, cut one of the biggest hits of 1972 with "Officially", while his fine reworking of the latter's "You Don't Care" (see Disc #1) provided the backing track for Winston Scotland's hugely popular "Buttercup". Other veterans of the Jamaican music scene to enjoy success that year were Alton Ellis with "Big Bad Boy", the duo of Glen Brown & Joe White who teamed up as The God Sons to cut "Merry Up" and Ken Parker, who injected new life into the Pop oldie, "The Three Bells", which he recut as "Jimmy Brown". Another vintage song revived in '72 was the Smiley Lewis R&B classic, "One Night Of Sin", which Jackie Brown successfully transformed into a Reggae classic. "Beat Down Babylon" by ex-Versatiles singer, Keith 'Junior' Byles reflects the growing influence of Rastafarianism on Jamaican songwriters during the early seventies. Within a year or so of this recording, the religion would provide the theme for the vast majority of Reggae recordings.

In 1973, "Build Me Up" provided Brent Dowe with his first major solo hit, the singer having only recently left The Melodians, while deejay, Big Youth was also beginning to make his mark on the local music scene, when he toasted over Keith & Tex's 1967 classic "Stop That Train" to create the massively popular "Cool Breeze". In contrast, Dennis Brown was firmly established as one of Jamaica's biggest stars when he cut "Westbound Train" - song which topped the Jamaican charts towards the close of the year.

DISC 1

DISC 2

DISC 3

Fat Man
Derrick Morgan
Time To Pray
The Mellow Larks
Humpty Dumpty
Eric 'Monty' Morris
Housewives Choice
Derrick Morgan & Patsy Todd
One More Time
Lloyd Brevett
Honour Your Mother & Father
Desmond Dekker
Come Down
Lord Tanamo
Bonanza Ska
Carlos Malcolm & His Afro-Jamaican Rhythms
Yeah Yeah Baby
Stranger Cole & Patsy Todd
Be Prepared
Winston Samuels
Every Night
Joe White & Chuck
Try Me
Justin Hinds & The Dominoes
Dancing Mood
Delroy Wilson
You Don't Care
The Techniques
Hold Them
Roy Shirley
Only A Smile
The Paragons
Winey Winey
The Kingstonians

Lady With The Starlight
Ken Boothe
54-46 That's My Number
The Maytals
Intensified '68 (Music Like Dirt)
Desmond Dekker & The Aces
Longshot
The Pioneers
It Comes And Goes
The Melodians
Longstory
Rudy Mills
Everything Crash
The Ethiopians
Bangarang
Stranger Cole & Lester Sterling
Dance With Me
Winston Delano Stewart
Games People Play
Bob Andy
Everybody Needs Love
Slim Smith
A Thousand Tons Of Megaton
Roland Alphonso
Come Back Darling
Johnny Osbourne & The Sensations
How Long
Pat Kelly
Bongo Nyah
Little Boy
Doctor No Go
The Hippy Boys

Wear You To The Ball
U. Roy & John Holt
Psychadelic Train
Derrick Harriott & The Chosen Few
Satisfaction
Carl Dawkins
Trenchtown Rock
Bob Marley & The Wailers
Stick By Me
John Holt
Oh What A Mini
Willie Francis
Come Back And Stay
The Fabulous Five
Officially
Lloyd Parks
Jimmy Brown (Aka The Three Bells)
Ken Parker
Merry Up
The God Sons
Beat Down Babylon
Junior Byles
Butter Cup
Winston Scotland
One Night Of Sin
Jackie Brown
Big Bad Boy
Alton Ellis
Build Me Up
Brent Dowe
Cool Breeze
Big Youth
Westbound Train
Dennis Brown

Time - 47:10

Time - 43:58

Time - 46:43

All material Copyright Trojan Records