TROJAN "TIGHTEN UP" BOX SET (TRBCD018) - In the late sixties and early seventies Trojan Records dominated the UK Reggae market. Between 1969 and 1974, the company released over thirty singles to breach the British Pop charts and of these, almost half made the top ten, with two reaching the number one spot. But despite the success of Trojan's 45s, there were no such guarantees for it's albums releases. Jamaican music, be it Reggae or it's forerunners, Ska and Rocksteady, had always lent itself to the singles format and until now, LPs had always been regarded as something of an unnecessary luxury.

But Trojan devised a simple, yet effective strategy to overcome such prejudices. Early in 1969, they put together their first budget-priced compilation, made up of some of the most popular recordings recently on the UK Reggae scene. Entitled "Tighten Up", after The Untouchables' favourite which opened the collection, the LP featured some of the best sides to have been issued on the first 27 Trojan singles throughout 1968. The formula immediately proved hugely popular on the high street and following the enormous success of the album, Trojan compiled a second "Tighten Up" volume.

By this time, Trojan was experiencing a period of rapid growth, with new subsidiary labels being launched almost weekly and sales increasing at an astounding rate. While much of the company's success could be attributed to intelligent and insightful planning, it also owed much to good fortune. Quite simply, the company were in the right place at the right time. Jamaican music had attracted a substantial following among white British youngsters since the early sixties, with Ska a favoured style among the Mods. But this was as to nothing compared with the popularity of Reggae among the working-class youths who were later to become known simply as Skinheads. For them, Reggae was the only music and their movement spread nation-wide, so sales of Jamaican records increased accordingly. And with Trojan dominating the UK Reggae scene, they were naturally among the greatest beneficiaries.

In October 1969, Trojan issued four singles which breached the UK top thirty, with The Upsetters, The Pioneers, Jimmy Cliff and The Harry J All Stars becoming household names almost over-night. It was also around this time the company released "Tighten Up Volume2", a collection made up of hits and near misses previously released on the parent label and five of it's off-shoots: Big Shot, Clandisc, Downtown, Amalgamated and Upsetter. The LP quickly became an essential addition to the record collection of any self-respecting Skinhead and introduced thousands to the delights of Reggae at an affordable price.

The UK Reggae scene continued to thrive throughout the remainder of the year and into the next, with Trojan releasing a further five chart hits by the summer months of 1970. By this time, a third hugely popular "Tighten Up" album had hit the stores and with the popularity of the series showing little sign of abating, the company were prompted to repeat the formula with similar packages. Among the most successful of these were "Reggae Chartbusters" and "Club Reggae", both of which went on to run for a number of volumes.

Early the following year the fourth and fifth "Tighten Up" compilations were released, but by the time "Volume Six" was issued in 1972, there were ominous indications that the Reggae bubble was about to burst. In an attempt to attract an even larger share of the Pop music market, Trojan had begun sweetening many of their releases, adding sophisticated arrangements to the basic rhythm and vocal track. Although the ply was initially successful, it ultimately proved costly and led to the disenchantment  of many of the music's traditional listeners. To add to Trojan's concerns, the Skinhead movement, which had done so much to bring about the company's commercial success was now in decline and sales were suitably affected.

"Tighten Up" volumes seven and eight were released in 1973, but sales figures for both were disappointingly low, reflecting Trojan's fading fortunes. A ninth collection was scheduled for the close of the year, but the idea was eventually shelved. The "Tighten Up" series had come to a close and coinciding with it, the end of the golden age of Jamaican music in the UK. In the years ahead, Reggae developed and diversified, changing both in style and mood to the simple, carefree music featured on the "Tighten Up" albums.

This 3 CD set brings together 50 recordings from the eight volumes of "Tighten Up" and by so doing, highlights some of the best Reggae sounds of the late sixties and early seventies. When you hear the quality of these vintage Jamaican recordings, you will understand just why the series was so special to so many for so long.




Tighten Up
The Untouchables
Kansas City
Joya Landis
A Place In The Sun
David Isaacs
With Your Love Me
George A. Penny
Fat Man
Derrick Morgan
Mix It Up
The Kingstonians
Watch This Sound
The Uniques
John Jones
Rudy Mills
Wreck A Buddy
The Soul Sisters
Fattie Fattie
Clancy Eccles
Come Into My Parlour
The Bleechers
Them A Laugh And A Kiki
The Soul Mates
Live Injection
The Upsetters
Shocks Of Mighty
Dave Barker & The Upsetters
Man From Carolina
The G. G. All Stars
Singer Man
The Kingstonians
Freedom Street
Ken Boothe

Nora Dean
Blood And Fire
Johnny Too Bad
The Slickers
The Selah
The Ethiopians
One Eye Enos
The Maytals
I Shall Sing
Judy Mowatt
The Pioneers
Better Must Come
Delroy Wilson
Hello Mother
The Dynamites
Rod Of Correction
Clancy Eccles
Know Far I
Bongo Herman & Bunny
The Chosen Few
Duppy Conqueror
Bob Marley & The Wailers
Pitta Patta
Ernie Smith
Mikey Chung
President Mash Up The Resident

Down Side Up
The Harry J. All Stars
Wet Vision
U. Roy
The Time Has Come
Slim Smith
U. F. O.
Geoffrey Chung & The Harry J. All Stars
Be Faithful Darling
Clancy Eccles
Johnny Moore
I Am Feeling Lonely
The Maytones
Something On Your Mind
Hubert Lee
Haile Selassie
The Mellotones
Silver Words
Ken Boothe
You Don't Know
Bob Andy
Nice Nice Time
Zap Pow
You Can't Be Serious
Tito Simon
My Island
Paulette Williams
I'll Be Standing By
Jimmy London
Meaning Of Life
The Heptones
Crowded City
The Messengers

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All material Copyright Trojan Records