Dienstag, 9. August 2016

Tighten Up - Volume 5 & 6

PhotobucketTrojan's Tighten Up series had always gone for variety, but Volume 5, released in 1971, hot on the heels of its predecessor, was positively anarchic.

From the sublime, "In Paradise", to the surreal, "Hello Mother", the sweet, "It's You", to the savage, "Rod of Correction", this compilation careened madly through the reggae landscape.

For the uninitiated, reggae may appear a monolithic musical style, defined merely by its emphasis on the offbeat, but like any other generic label, the term sheltered myriad sub-styles under its umbrella. And all of them feature on this set.

Jamaicans always had a penchant for reggae-fied pop covers, and a pair appear hear. Instrumental versions of chart hits were equally popular, and once again three were included, although this time only one, "Ripe Cherry", boasts a DJ on top. Medleys were also all the rage, normally melding three of an artist's hits together, thus the proliferation of singles simply titled "Three in One".
Here it's a hat trick of sweet hits from young singing star Errol Dunkley. There's also a trio of cultural numbers, including Delroy Wilson's masterful "Better Must Come".
And in a broad hint of what was to come, The Wailers's make their sole appearance in the series with their classic "Duppy Conqueror".
Volume 6 was to be the final album in the series, with vocal groups once again coming to the fore, alongside solo singers and DJs. The Maytals's "Redemption Song" bears no relationship to Bob Marley's own similarly titled masterpiece, bar Toots Hibbert's equally heartfelt delivery. The Chosen Few showcase their soulful side, while The Maytones are all sweet ache.

Elsewhere Ernie Smith herded reggae out on the range, Clancy Eccles was submerged under strings, Mikey Chung took his guitar surfing, The Cimarons's (sic) organist headed for outer space, while Dandy Livingstone shot up the UK chart with his hit "Suzanne Beware of the Devil". Representing the DJs, Shortie suavely mashed up The Uniques's sublime "My Conversation", and I-Roy exploded across The Jumpers's "The Bomb". They were the future, as toasters ran rampart across the Jamaican scene. But Jackie Edwards's offered an escape, at least for Britain, with his fabulous performance on "Who Told You So", which tells one everything they need to know about lover's rock.

It was a wild ride, and across it this seminal series defined the reggae age, bringing hits and misses to the masses, and leaving its mark on a host of future British artists and bands.

Tighten Up - Volume 5 & 6

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