Various artists album review
Trojan Singles Box Set ~ Limited Edition
Triple CD box set
17 - 08 - 1999
Disc 1 ~ 1968 - 1970
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4||Backing : 4||Production : 4||Sound quality : 3/4||Sleeve : 3/4|
"Trojan Singles Box Set" collects 50 out of hundreds of sides that have appeared on the Trojan label, thus providing - as with the other box sets in the series - a good introduction to the company's output. The Trojan label was originally launched in the UK by the B&C/Island partnership, as an outlet for Duke Reid productions. 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 a.k.a. Dandy or Brother Dan. Before long, Jamaican produced releases replaced the UK sides, and a string of high quality records hit the shops. Top producers like Duke Reid, Leslie King, Joe Gibbs, Lee Perry, Clancy Eccles and Harry J. saw their production work issued on Trojan and 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.|
The majority of the tracks on Disc 1 have never been on album or CD before. After two Rock Steady cuts from producer Dandy Derrick Morgan performs his big seller "Fat Man" followed by its horns version fronted by Val Bennett. The next four tracks are produced by Clancy Eccles, including an alternative take on the "Auntie Lulu" riddim entitled "Bangarang Crash". Then Tyrone Evans of the Paragons offers two truly fine classics. "Double Shot" by Beverley's All Stars versions the Pioneers' hit and is the first of several Leslie Kong productions included on this compilation set.
Disc 2 features releases from a time Jamaican music went to a series of subtle changes. Leslie Kong dominated the smoother side of Reggae until his untimely death in 1971. Suddenly being without a producer Desmond Dekker as well as The Pioneers moved to the UK, signed contracts with Trojan and helped to forge a distinctly commercial Pop oriented reggae sound. This particular style proved very popular and provided 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. Ken Boothe showcases his typical vocal style in the fine opener, which is followed by the Winston "Techniques" Riley produced instrumental "El Dorado" and the Rock Steady cut to "54-46 Was My Number". Joe White's "I'm Gonna Get There" comes complete with version. "So Much Love" from the same singer was produced by Leslie Kong and marks the gradual change to a more commercial sound, further illustrated by the remaining tracks.
Between 1973 and 1978 there was a noticeable swing towards Roots music amongst Jamaican producers, whilst UK based artists continued to deliver a more commercial sound. Trojan failed to follow the trend and finally Trojan's original management collapsed in 1975. The company was quickly bought out of receivership by Saga Records, and before long, the Trojan label was in full flow once more. However, the company employed a new strategy and concentrated on the album market using singles gradually to publicise album releases. For the first time in over twenty years Disc 3 collects together recordings from above mentioned period. Pat Rhoden's "What About You" is an update of his hit record from 1973. John Holt's smooth production "Reggae From The Ghetto" has never featured on album before. Production work of the most soulful producers of that time, Lloyd Charmers (who enjoyed great success with Ken Boothe) and Derrick Harriott, is included as well. "Trojan Singles Box Set" is an entertaining and enjoyable set featuring some noteworthy and surprising tracks from the vaults.