Various artists album review
Trojan Producers Series Box Set ~ Limited Edition
Triple CD box set
16 - 08 - 1999
Disc 1 - Niney The Observer & Lee Perry
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4||Backing : 4||Production : 4/5||Sound quality : 4||Sleeve : 3/4|
Trojan's 'Producer Series' was launched in 1988 as part of the company's ambitious and highly popular re-issue program. This 3cd box set is intended to provide a sampler to the series, and concentrates on the productions of six Jamaican producers : Niney The Observer, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Clancy Eccles, Alvin Ranglin, Harry J and Joe Gibbs.|
Winston Holness, a man known throughout the reggae world as Niney The Observer who has made his mark as a performer of some note is perhaps more widely acknowledged for his skills as an engineer and producer. He started his career in the sixties when he studied the art of engineering from under the expert tuition of Lee Perry and Lynford Anderson (aka Andy Capp). He later supervised numerous sessions for illustrious producers such as Bunny Lee and Joe Gibbs prior to launching his career as an independent producer at the end of the decade. The single 'Blood And Fire' (versioned here asBrimstone And Fire) was his first major breakthrough issued on his Observer label. The single sold over 30,000 copies on the island alone and was later named 'Jamaican record of the Year' for 1971.
Over the next years Niney regularly supervised recording sessions at Dynamic, Randy's, Channel One and Joe Gibbs studios, releasing excellent sides by artists such as Max Romeo (Rasta Bandwagon, Aily And Ailaloo), Delroy Wilson and Ken Boothe. However, his most enduring productions during that period were those he did with Dennis Brown. Featured here is Dennis' cut No More Will I Roam and the companion dub cut Jam Down, whilst One Train Load Of Dub is the dub cut to Dennis' Westbound Train.
At the end of the sixties Trojan launched the the UK Upsetter label for Lee Perry's output, which between then and 1973 resulted in around a hundred singles. The first four Lee Perry tracks are pre-Black Ark tunes.I Roy's Hail Stones and Black IPA are examples of Perry's short association with King Tubby. At the end of 1973 he opened his own Black Ark studio, and embarked on a truly golden phase. Green Bay Incident and Dub And Praise are two fine samples from that period.
Clancy Eccles started out as a singer (and tailor) in ther early sixties, before turning to production work later in the decade. He helped to shape the new reggae sound, which he brags about on Bag A Boo (aka Don't Brag Don't Boast). In 1969 Trojan launched the Clandisc label for his output in the UK. Some of his best selling productions are featured here, Herbsman Shuffle, Holly Holy and Foolish Fool. Alvin Ranglin started out as a founder member of the Maytones, but left the group to concentrate on producing their first records. The GG Records subsidiary label was launched by Trojan in 1970. Present here is one of reggae music's best roots tracks ever, Jordan River by Max Romeo and Glen Adams. Further interesting sides include Eric Donaldson's Lonely Nights and its companion dub track Rack A Tack, and Feel It with the excellent deejay version by Charlie Ace - Ontarius Version.
Harry J(ohnson) originally started out as a musician. His first session as a producer (supervised at Studio One by Bob Andy) provided a hit with 'No More Heartaches' by the Beltones. In 1969 he scored an international hit with 'Liquidator', the original vocal cut by Tony Scott -What Am I To Do- is present on the album. Deejay Scotty toasts over the Lorna Bennet's hit cover of "Breakfast In Bed', and Lloyd and Carey go over a Joe Higgs vocal.
The album closes with a selection of Joe Gibbs productions. He was a qualified electronics engineer who started out producing in the 60s and eventually became one of the most successful producers of the 70s, recording with The Heptones, Dennis Brown, Culture, Big Youth, Dillinger and Prince Far I, just to name a few. On the first track -Hijacked- you can actually hear Joe Gibbs' voice, whilst Roy Shirley delivers his classic tune Hold Them. Leo Graham (A Win Them) and Junior Byles (Heart And Soul) deliver two excellent tracks from the late 70s.
This box set is a splendid introduction to the works of Jamaica's leading producers from the 70s.