Reggae With The Hippy Boys
Hippy Boys
Trojan Records
CD (Limited Edition)
May 27, 2006

Track list
  1. Nurse J'Kel
  2. This Is It
  3. Mad Movie
  4. Capo (Version 1)
  5. Foot Work
  6. Seventh Heaven
  7. Moon Walk Challenge
  8. Spicy (aka Reggae Pressure)
  9. Wondering
  10. Cat Nip - Hippy Boys
  11. Soul At Large - Lloyd Charmers & Hippy Boys
  12. Soul Of England - Lloyd Charmers & Hippy Boys
  13. What Do You Say - The Upsetters
  14. Straight To The Head - The Upsetters
  15. African Zulu - Lloyd Charmers & Hippy Boys
  16. Confidential - Lloyd Charmers & Hippy Boys
  17. Oney (Happy Clap) - The Upsetters
  18. Everybody Needs Love - Lloyd Charmers & Hippy Boys
  19. Stronger - Lloyd Charmers & Hippy Boys
  20. Mellow Mood - The Upsetters
  21. Family Man - The Upsetters
  22. Shang I (aka Shanghai) - Lloyd Charmers & Hippy Boys
  23. Cooyah - Lloyd Charmers & Hippy Boys
  24. Capo (Version 2) - The Upsetters
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : - Backing : 5 Production : 3 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 3
Trojan return with another release in their "Fan Club" limited edition series --

This is not as strong a reissue as the previous Fan Club release, the Derrick Harriott album, "Rocksteady Party", which featured a significant selection of early Rocksteady and soul/jazz influenced horns instrumentals.

This is largely due to a domineering organ sound on too many of the tracks on this Hippy Boys release: And put simply, you either love that Jimmy Smith /early Jackie Mittoo Hammond organ style -- or it grates on the senses.

You will know where you stand on that issue -- and it is precisely that factor which will decide this album for you.

Not that it's poor album: far from it. There are some hard and funky arrangements here, with a number of tunes approaching the groove of early Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker, Hank Ballard and the JB's arrangements, though not nearly so tight, opting instead for a rude boy pugilistic swagger and an almost 60's garage psychedelic feel in places.

There are also similarities to the aggression and harmony of Otis Redding's backing band, with some of the bass lines here sounding close to the melody and innovation of Duck Dunn. Besides, think similarities to Wilson Pickett's "99 And Half Just Won't Do" albeit with a JA rude boy groove.

"Seventh Heaven" is a standout tune, here, with its pummelling, aggressive and funky b line, and out of tune piano melody. "Soul Of England" is early Scratch Perry eccentricity: a thunderous bass and Latin percussion groove are offset by a cockney skinhead inspired scat vocal.

By far the best tune though, is the early dub of "Straight To The Head", with its shimmering, dissolving percussion, funk bass and snare rimshot Rocker's drumming, shredded and put through the echo chamber. This is simply essential listening, its originality and inspiration putting most modern 21st century dub firmly in the shade.

So over all, this is a worthy album -- however, whilst it may have meant a lot to its early skinhead and rude boy listeners -- arguably not all of it translates well in a 21st century context.

Essentially then, this is one for the collectors, completists, nostalgists, and for those wishing to check out some hard funk/soul edged bluebeat music -- replete with booming thug bass, rimshot and taut snare -- to complement their reggae and dub collections.