Jonny Greenwood Is The Controller
Trojan Records
April 11, 2007

Track list
  1. Dread Are The Controller - Linval Thompson
  2. Let Me Down Easy - Derrick Harriott
  3. I'm Still In Love [12" Mix] - Marcia Aitken
  4. Never Be Ungrateful [12" Mix] - Gregory Isaacs
  5. Bionic Rats - Lee "Scratch" Perry
  6. Cool Rasta - The Heptones
  7. Flash Gordon Meets Luke Skywalker - Scientist & Jammy & Roots Radics
  8. Black Panta - Lee "Scratch" Perry
  9. Fever - Junior Byles
  10. Beautiful And Dangerous - Desmond Dekker & The Aces
  11. Dread Dub - Lloyd's All Stars
  12. Gypsy Man - Marcia Griffiths
  13. A Ruffer Version - Johnny Clarke
  14. Right Road To Dubland (Right Road To Zion Dub) - The Jahlights
  15. Dreader Locks - Junior Byles & Lee "Scratch" Perry
  16. This Life Makes Me Wonder - Delroy Wilson
  17. Clean Race - Scotty
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 2
This year marks the 40th anniversary of reggae's legendary label, Trojan Records, which gave birth to the idea to set up a series of compilations put together by figures from the world of rock, dance and hip-hop. The release of "Jonny Greenwood Is The Controller", compiled by Radiohead's lead guitarist Jonny Greenwood, kicks off this celebratory and will be followed by further releases from Super Furry Animals, Fatboy Slim, Justin Robertson and many more.

In the liner notes Greenwood writes of his panic at his lack of qualification regarding reggae music, going on to describe rather eloquently his own attraction to the form. “Jamaican reggae is the style of music I always reach for when ranting to friends about there being so many great recordings in the world, and how you could listen to one style of music exclusively for the rest of your life, and it all be great, and varied, and worth hearing. Really, all musical life is here”.

It's always nice to hear the musical choice of someone who isn't that deep into the genre, and in this case it's even worthwhile too. Greenwood's varied selection from the vaults of Trojan is exceptionally musical, deep, and often experimental. There's little here that most reggae fans won't already be familiar with, but every track has its own merit and most of them are great of course.

From the gentle flow of Derrick Harriott's gorgeous 12" mix of "Let Me Down Easy", the well-known skank of Marcia Aitken's similarly extended' "I'm Still In Love" (familiar to many as the basis for Donna & Althea's smash hit, "Uptown Top Ranking", and very successfully covered by Sean Paul & Sasha in the new millennium ), and the wonderful Delroy Wilson track entitled "This Life Makes Me Wonder", to the more experimental dub sounds from Lee "Scratch" Perry, this collection of tunes really captures the many faces of Trojan over the last 40 years.

Other tracks worth of hearing are the ludicrously named but wicked Scientist & Jammy workout "Flash Gordon Meets Luke Skywalker", the obscure UK reggae of The Jahlights, Desmond Dekker's "Beautiful And Dangerous", and a moody King Tubby's dub to Johnny Clarke's "Don't Trouble Trouble" called "A Ruffer Version".

All in all an interesting compilation set for those who are looking for a good introduction to the various styles in reggae music ranging from classic Ska and Rocksteady to vintage Dub and Roots.