Freitag, 31. August 2018

VA - I´m So Proud - A Jamaican Tribute To Curtis Mayfield (Trojan)

No matter the official history, Jamaica's rocksteady movement of the late '60s wasn't just a response to the hectic rhythms of ska and a few summers of temperatures much sweatier than usual. No, the sweetly sung, down-tempo, rhythm lurch of rocksteady was greatly influenced by one of the biggest artists on Jamaican play lists between 1965 and 1969: Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions.

Most of the classic rocksteady artists -- the Heptones, the Jamaicans, the Uniques, the Gaylads -- recorded Impressions covers during the late '60s or early '70s, and though they rarely added much to the versions other than a distinct reggae tilt, most were up to the level of all the covers done by American groups.

The Trojan compilation "I'm So Proud: A Jamaican Tribute to Curtis Mayfield" assembles 20 of the best covers (or inspired originals), and would serve well any fan of Mayfield or the Impressions; after all, it's simply not very far from the Impressions' "It's All Right" to Alton Ellis' "Rocksteady."               


1 –Derrick Morgan - It's All Right
2 –Lloyd & Glen - Keep On Pushing
3 –The Techniques - Queen Majesty
4 –Dennis Alcapone - My Voice Is Insured For Half A Million Dollars (Queen Majesty Version)
5 –The Jamaicans - Dedicate My Song To You
6 –The Uniques - Gypsy Woman
7 –The Progressions - Rocksteady Time (The Monkey Time)
8 –Joe White  - I'm So Proud
9 –Pat Kelly  - Little Boy Blue
10 –Noel 'Bunny' Brown - Man's Temptation
11 –The Silvertones - He Will Break Your Heart
12 –The Uniques - My Woman's Love
13 –The Gaylads - That's What Love Will Do
14 –Bob Marley & The Wailers - Long Long Winter
15 –Pat Kelly - Soulful Love
16 –Slim Smith - Closer Together
17 –The Heptones - I've Been Trying
18 –Bob Marley & The Wailers - I Gotta Keep On Moving
19 –The Chosen Few - Queen Majesty
20 –Marcia Griffiths - Gypsy Man

VA - I´m So Proud - A Jamaican Tribute To Curtis Mayfield (Trojan)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 30. August 2018

Joe Gibbs & Friends - The Reggae Train 1968 - 1971 (Trojan)

Along with Lee Perry, Bunny Lee, and Clancy Eccles, Joe Gibbs represented the second generation of star Jamaican producers. Originators in the ska era, like producers Duke Reid and Clement Dodd, trained these pioneers of the later rock-steady sound and even released many important sides in that genre as well.

Trojan Records' excellent "Producer Series" spotlights these behind the scenes heavyweights and Joe Gibbs' "The Reggae Train" stands out in particular with its wide variety of classic rock-steady and reggae sides from 1968-71. While onetime Gibb partner Lee Perry's idiosyncratic contributions like "The Upsetter" send things into the stratosphere, Ken Parker's straight soul number "It's Alright" and Tommy McCook's beautiful saxophone and trombone instrumental "Soulful Mood" help keep the proceedings down to earth. This range of musical moods was typical of the output from Gibbs and his contemporaries as ska, rock-steady, solo and trio vocal number, and early reggae were all included; the Slickers and Young Souls here contribute some nice harmony tracks while Peter Tosh's "Arise Blackman" clocks in as one of the first Rastafari anthems. 

Gibbs' house band, the Hippy Boys, which included Jamaican studio aces McCook, organist Gladstone Anderson, and trombonist Vince Gordon, keep the producer's trademark dense slab of sound consistent amongst "The Reggae Train"'s varied program with up-in-the-mix bass and drums, sinewy guitar lines, and bobbing organ chords. The Hippy Boys' dynamic and tight interplay is heard to particular advantage on Ken Parker's "Only Yesterday" and the instrumental track "Hijacked." 

Along with producer Harry J and others, Gibbs fleshed out the thin production values of ska by spreading out the beat and as a result took Jamaican music from the golden era of rock-steady into the early reggae period. Like almost all Trojan's '60s Jamaican reissues, this Joe Gibbs overview is a high-quality release and one that reveals a distinct voice of early Jamaican music.


01 – Lee Perry – The Upsetter
02 – The Versatiles – Trust the book
03 – Lee Perry – Kimble
04 – Sir Gibbs – People grudgeful
05 – The Reggae Boys – Me no born yah
06 – The Young Souls – Man a wail
07 – The Immortals – Bongo Jah
08 – The Slickers – Man beware
09 – Tommy McCook Band – Soulful mood
10 – Joe Gibbs All Stars – Hijacked
11 – Ken Parker – It’s all right
12 – The Soul Mates – Jump it up
13 – The Reggae Boys – The wicked must survive
14 – The Slickers – Mother matty
15 – The Versatiles – Push it in
16 – The Reggaeboys – The reggae train
17 – Ken Parker – Only yesterday
18 – Peter Tosh – Arise blackman

(320 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 29. August 2018

VA - Dance Crasher - Ska To Rock Steady (Trojan)

Probably only of interest to the most diehard reggae fans, "Dance Crasher" traces the Jamaican music scene from fast-paced ska to slower rock steady. These two forms were later to develop into what is now known as reggae. It's a fascinating chronicle with tracks from reggae superstars like the Skatalites, the Maytals, the Ethiopians, and Lee Perry and the Soulettes.

All of the songs were cut between 1962 and 1966, and many such as "Hallelujah," "Doctor Dick" and "Big Bamboo" were produced by the legendary C.S. Dodd, one of Jamaica's early studio pioneers.

Some of the recording quality leaves much to be desired, but it's still a good listen. The most interesting piece is "Shame and Scandal," a hilarious story of Jamaican family life ("your daddy's not your daddy, but your daddy don't know"),  recorded by what was then called Peter Tosh and the Wailers.   

1. Big Bamboo - Lord Creator
2. Latin Goes Saka - The Skatalites
3. Hallelujah - The Maytals
4. Garden Of Love - Don Drummond
5. Rough And Tough - Stranger Cole
6. Beardman Ska - The Skatalites
7. Shame & Scandal - Peter Tosh & The Wailers
8. Street Corner - The Skatalites
9. Bonanza Ska - Carlos Malcomlm And The Afro Caribs
10. Dance Crasher - Alton Ellis & The Flames
11. Let George Do It - Don Drummond
12. Rudie Bam Bam - The Clarendonians
13. Ska Jam - Tommy McCook & The Supersonics
14. Doctor Dick - Lee Perry & The Soulettes
15. Ball O'Fire - The Skatalites
16. Owe Me No Pay Me - The Ethiopians
17. Independece Ska - Baba Brooks & Band
18. Don't Be A Rude Body - The Rulers

VA - Dance Crasher - Ska To Rock Steady (Trojan)
(256 kbps, front cover included)        

Dienstag, 28. August 2018

VA - Trojan Explosion - 20 Highly Explosive Reggae Hits (1987)

2018 marks 50 years of Trojan Records, so we start today posting some classic Trojan albums to celebrate!

On July 28th 1967, the British-based Jamaican music company, Island Records launched a label to showcase the output of one of the most popular and successful producers of the ska and rock steady eras – Arthur ‘Duke’ Reid.
The imprint, called ‘Trojan’ after the title Mr. Reid had acquired during his early days in the music business, surprisingly failed to fulfil its potential and folded after a matter of months. And this may well have been the end of the Trojan story had it not been for the creation of a new Jamaican music company, launched in the summer of ’68, which was in need of a suitably dynamic name.
The result of a merger between by Island Records and one of its main competitors, B&C, Trojan Records promptly launched an ambitious programme of issuing singles on a variety of labels that highlighted music from every producer of note, ranging from British-based music makers such as Robert ‘Dandy’ Thompson, to such esteemed Jamaican operators as Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Edward ‘Bunny’ Lee and, of course, Duke Reid himself.
Trojan’s rapid growth during its first year was due in no small part to the development of a working class youth movement that embraced Jamaican music as part and parcel of its culture: skinheads.
The purchasing power of this fast developing demographic resulted in an explosion in sales and in the summer of ‘69 the company enjoyed its first mainstream hit with ‘Red Red Wine’ by a little known British-based singer Tony Tribe. Its success was soon eclipsed when the Upsetters, the Pioneers, Jimmy Cliff and Harry J’s All Stars all made their way onto the higher reaches of the mainstream listings.
The Trojan bandwagon rolled on remorselessly into the new decade, with the likes of Desmond Dekker, the Maytals and Bob & Marcia all flying high on the British Pop charts.
In the spring of 1971, Dave & Ansel Collins‘Double Barrel’ provided Trojan its first UK number one, while further chart entries followed with hit singles by Bruce Ruffin, Greyhound and the Pioneers.
Aside from their overtly commercial output, the company also highlighted music by artists largely unknown outside Jamaica, many of which would later become major international recording stars – among these were Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs and a Kingston-based vocal trio called Bob Marley & the Wailers.
Trojan remained hugely successful over the next year or so, with further major hits from Dandy Livingstone, John Holt, Ken Boothe and the larger than life ex-bouncer, Judge Dread, but in 1975, after experiencing financial difficulties, the label acquired a new owner in Marcel Rodd.
Rodd’s inexperience with Jamaican music proved costly and despite signing new deals with a number of up-and-coming producers, Trojan struggled, but as the seventies came to a close, the ‘Ska Revival’ brought a dramatic upturn in its fortunes.
The success of bands such as the Specials and Madness sparked renewed interest in vintage ska and reggae classics and for a time Trojan thrived once more,  with compilations, such as ’20 Reggae Classsics’ and Bob Marley‘s ‘In The Beginning’, compiled by label manager, Patrick Meads, selling particularly strongly.
Unfortunately the good times were not to last and in 1985, with the ska boom long since over, Colin Newman – an accountant by profession and avid collector by nature – purchased the label. Under Newman’s direction, Trojan’s primary focus was upon its formidable back catalogue, with various specialists employed to ensure it maintained its position as the world’s leading vintage reggae record company.
Some 15 years later, Sanctuary Records became Trojan’s fourth owners, paying over £10 million for the privilege. Over the next few years the label went from strength to strength, its already vast catalogue augmented by those of RAS and Creole, resulting in an astoundingly diverse range of releases, highlighting everything from ska to dancehall.
The Trojan Records story took its next dramatic turn in June 2007, when the Universal Music Group purchased Sanctuary in its entirety, so bringing the Jamaican music imprint back under the same roof as Island, the label that had been instrumental in its creation some 39 years before.
Universal maintained the catalogue for the next 7 years, issuing numerous acclaimed collections and reviving the much-missed Trojan Appreciation Society, before reluctantly selling the imprint to BMG, a subsidiary of one of Europe’s biggest media companies, Bertelsmann.

"Trojan Explosion" includes a bevy of ska and reggae favorites, including "Wonderful World, Beautiful People" by Jimmy Cliff, "54-46 Was My Number" by the Maytals and "You Can Get It If You Really Want It" by Desmond Dekker. Every track is a classic, this whole album is an instant party. If people aren't moving two minutes after you put this on, your obviously in a morgue.     

From the back cover: "An album that combines some of the very best tracks from the 'Explosion' series together with choice cuts from deep in the Trojan vaults - 20 highly explosive Reggae hits...Stand well back when playing, it´s pure dynamite."                 

 1. You Can Get It If You Really Want - Desmond Dekker And The Aces
  2. Reggae In Your Jeggae - Dandy Livingstone
  3. Johnny Too Bad - The Slickers
  4. Liquidator - Harry J. All Stars
  5. Wonder World, Beautiful People - Jimmy Cliff
  6. Them A Laugh And A Kiki - The Soulmates
  7. 54-46 Was My Number - The Maytals
  8. Cherry Oh Baby - Eric Donaldson
  9. Let Your Yeah Be Yeah - The Pioneers
  10. Dollar Of Soul - The Ethiopians
  11. Young Gifted And Black - Bob And Marcia
  12. Sweet Sensation - The Melodians
  13. Elizabethan Reggae - Boris Gardiner
  14. Mama Look - The Pioneers
  15. Double Barrel - Dave And Ansel Collins
  16. Small Axe - Bob Marley And The Wailers
  17. Pomps And Pride - The Maytals
  18. Return Of Django - The Upsetters
  19. 007 (Shanty Town) - Desmond Dekker And The Aces

  20. Phoenix City - Roland Alphonso

VA - Trojan Explosion - 20 Highly Explosive Reggae Hits (1987)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Montag, 27. August 2018

Gil Scott-Heron - 1970 – Small Talk at 125th & Lenox Ave

One of the most important progenitors of rap music, Gil Scott-Heron's aggressive, no-nonsense street poetry inspired a legion of intelligent rappers while his engaging songwriting skills placed him square in the R&B charts later in his career, backed by increasingly contemporary production courtesy of Malcolm Cecil and Nile Rodgers (of Chic).

Disregard the understated title, "Small Talk at 125th and Lenox" was a volcanic upheaval of intellectualism and social critique, recorded live in a New York nightclub with only bongos and conga to back the street poet. Here Scott-Heron introduced some of his most biting material, including the landmark "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" as well as his single most polemical moment: the angry race warning "Enough."

Still, he balances the tone and mood well, ranging from direct broadsides to clever satire. He introduces "Whitey on the Moon" with a bemused air ("wanting to give credit where credit is due"), then launches into a diatribe concerning living conditions for the neglected on earth while those racing to the moon receive millions of taxpayer dollars. On "Evolution (And Flashback)," Scott-Heron laments the setbacks of the civil rights movement and provides a capsule history of his race, ending sharply with these words: "In 1960, I was a negro, and then Malcolm came along/Yes, but some nigger shot Malcolm down, though the bitter truth lives on/Well, now I am a black man, and though I still go second class/Whereas once I wanted the white man's love, now he can kiss my ass." The only sour note comes on a brush with homophobia, "The Subject Was Faggots."

01. Intro
02. The Revolution will not be televised
03. Omen
04. Brother
05. Comment #1
06. Small Talk At 125th And Lenox
07. The Subject Was Faggots
08. Evolution (And Flashback)
09. Plastic Pattern People
10. Whitey On The Moon
11. The Vulture
12. Enough
13. Paint It Black
14. Everyday

Gil Scott-Heron - Small Talk At 125th & Lenox Ave
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Samstag, 25. August 2018

Joe´s All Stars - Brixton Cat (Trojan, 1969)

Joe Mansano was the man behind the Trojan owned ‘Joe’s Record Store’ which could be found at 93 Granville Arcade in Brixton between 1967 & 1976.
The shop was a roaring success, but not content with just selling records, Joe wanted to start producing them too. His first productions were released on the Blue Cat label; ‘Life On Reggae Planet‘ in 1968 & ‘The Bullet’ by Rico Rodriguez in 1969.

Trojan were so impressed by Joe’s success they rewarded him his own label (called Joe) in May 1969. It was then that he collaborated with Jamaican Ska & Reggae vocalist Dice The Boss on arguably his greatest track Brixton Cat, Big & Fat‘.

A love song of sorts, ‘Brixton Cat, Big & Fat’ is an authentic cut of vintage reggae which Joe later clarified as a cheeky reference to a certain lady in his life at the time. The track was so popular Trojan asked Joe to release a "Brixton Cat" album which he did later that year under the name Joe’s All Stars.

The cover for the LP featured Joe’s sister-in-law at the time standing on the corner of Electric Avenue.


A1 –Since I Met You Baby
A2 –Reggae On The Smoke
A3 –The Judge
A4 –But Officer
A5 –The Bullet
A6 –The Proud One
A7 –Friendly Persuasion
B1 –Sugar Serenade
B2 –Hey Jude
B3 –Brixton Cat
B4 –Snake Poison
B5 –Funky Reggae
B6 –Reco's Torpedo
B7 –Honky

Joe´s All Stars - Brixton Cat (Trojan, 1969)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Freitag, 24. August 2018

Richie Havens - Electric Havens (1968)

This was one of two albums (the other being "The Richie Havens Record") comprised of overdubbed solo demos, probably from sometime between 1963-1965, that Havens had done prior to recording for Verve and making his official recording debut.

In the late '60s, as Havens rose to stardom, producer Alan Douglas took the original solo demos and overdubbed them with electric instruments. The albums were pulled from circulation and are hard to find today. One would understand why Havens might have disapproved of their release, but "Electric Havens" really isn't bad.

The eight-song set is oriented toward the kind of traditional material that he was likely doing in clubs around that time, such as "Oxford Town," "C.C. Rider," and "900 Miles From Home," as well as an early Dylan cover, "Boots & Spanish Leather." Havens sings with his usual spontaneous conviction, and although the electric backing sounds a bit awkward - and, unsurprisingly considering the circumstances, wavering in time keeping - it's not overdone, or completed in such a fashion that it's difficult to enjoy the performances. Different years of release have appeared in discographies for both this and "The Richie Havens Record", incidentally; it's almost certain that both came out in the late '60s, with 1968 serving as the best-guess year in both cases.


A1: Oxford Town
A2: 9000 Miles
A3: I´m A Stranger Here
A4: My Own Way

B1: Boots And Spanish Leather
B2: C. C. Rider
B3: 3´10 To Yuma
B4: Shadown Town

Richie Havens - Eectric Havens (1968)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 21. August 2018

Fela Kuti & Africa 70 - Kalakuta Show (1976)

By the time of 1976's "Kalakuta Show",
Fela Kuti's releases were becoming to seem not so much like records as ongoing installments in one long jam, documenting the state of mind of Nigeria's leading contemporary musician and ideological/political dissenter.

Thus, any one album works better on its own than it does when it has to bear comparison with the rest of his mountainous output. The track "Kalakuta Show" was unexceptional by his own standards, though it was a respectable lock-groove song that followed the usual graph of Kuti's song progressions. The lyrics, at any rate, go far outside the usual funk/pop spectrum, detailing his harassment at the hands of the Nigerian police.

"Don't Make Garan Garan" was musically more effective, particularly in its use of the artist's characteristically eerie, out-of-sync-sounding electric keyboards.

A Kalakuta Show 14:30
B Don't Make Ganran Ganran 16:03

Fela Kut & Africa 70 - Kalakuta Show (1976)
(320 kbps, front cover included)

Sonntag, 19. August 2018

VA - Jah Children Invasion - Dancehall Classics Volume 2 (Wackie´s, 1983)

Following hot on the heels of 1983′s Vol. 1, the Wackies unleashed "Jah Children Invasion: Dancehall Classics Vol. 2"  before the year was out. Like its predecessor, this compilation boasts two riddims and ten tracks.

Horace Andy introduces the first with his excellent cover of Derrick Harriott s rocksteady hit Solomon.” Producer Lloyd "Bullwackie" Barnes gives the riddim further sparkle for Tristan Palmer’s strong cultural offering Rebel.” Patrick Andy, too, delivers lessons in righteousness and survival, the lyrics stronger than his vocals, unlike Maxine Miller, whose smooth delivery should have gone down like a charm with lovers rock fans. And finally, the studio band showcases the Solomon” riddim in all its glory. Tristan Palmer superbly kicks off the second half of the set with the comforting knowledge that Jah Is in Charge.” Steve Harper, who delivered a strong cultural number on Vol. 1 , now showcases his romantic side with Tender Love,” while Anthony Green, another returnee, sticks with culture, bemoaning the state of the world and offering righteous lessons before throwing in the towel, determined to Leave out a Babylon.” DJ Sniper didn’t make much impact on the scene, but one can’t fault his devotion, and Hear My Prayer” is one of the most impassioned singjay toasts from the time.

The Wackies Rhythm Force’s Dub Version” completes the set, showcasing the superb riddim, a minimalist but still sparkling version of Love Me Forever.” Although its Andy and Palmer who inevitably created this set’s cache at the time, it’s the forgotten talent that make the compilation so vital and exciting today.


1 –Horace Andy - Solomon 3:48
2 –Treston Palma - Rebel 3:47
3 –Patrick Andy Can't Afford To Let 3:52
4 –Maxine Miller You've Changed 3:50
5 –Wackie's Rhythm Force Dub Slot 3:48
6 –Treston Palma Jah Is In Charge 3:35
7 –Steve Harper Tender Love 3:48
8 –Anthony Green Leave Out A Babylon 3:35
9 –Sniper Hear My Prayer 3:38
10 –Wackie's Rhythm Force* Dub Version 3:37

VA - Jah Children Invasion - Dancehall Classics Volume 2 (Wackie´s)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

VA - Jah Children Invasion - Dancehall Classics Volume 1 (Wackies, 1983)

A follow-up to 1982's "Jah Son Invasion", "Jah Children Invasion: Dancehall Classics Vol. 1" rounded up another ten Wackies singles, this time concentrating on crowd-pleasing club numbers.

The two riddim 1983 set kicks off in style with Sugar Minott's "Original Lovers Rock," a romantic triumph over an inspired, minimalistic version of "Full Up." While Minott luxuriates in the glories of love, Chuck Turner isn't sure if his festivities are ending or just beginning on the emotive "She's out of My Life." Deeze Smood knows what he's feeling - passionate - and melts the disc with his smoldering "Jungle Love." Spragga Lexus, in contrast, has no time for romance, he's too busy just trying to survive on the hard-hitting "I Am Justa Youth." Producer Lloyd "Bullwackie" Barnes brings this section to an end with the hefty "Tickle Dub."

Steve Harper launches the second half of the set with his potent cover of the Wailers' "Jah Live" over a dread drenched militant version of the riddim, followed by Anthony Green's even more powerful "Victim," hitting virtually every cultural touchstone along the way. Minott returns on "Gi Mi a Reason," turning to the personal realm and his tortured state of his relationship. The growling Spragga Lexus is also back, now a "Conquering Lion" smacking down the ragamuffins, the wicked, and everyone else in his path, all in the name of Jah of course. After which, Barnes and his Wackies Rhythm Force let loose with "Unchain Dub" taking the riddim to its apotheosis.

Wackies released a steady stream of strong singles across the first half of the '80s, and although the vocalists didn't always do his riddims justice, this compilation from stars and barely remembered artists is proof of the label's and producer's power. 

01. Sugar Minott - Original Lovers Rock
02. Chuck Turner - She's Out Of My Life
03. Deeze Smood - Jungle Love
04. Spragga Lexus - I Am Justa Youth
05. Wackie's Rhythm Force - Tickle Dub
06. Steve Harper - Jah Live
07. Anthony Green - Victim
08. Sugar Minott - Gi Mi A Reason
09. Spragga Lexus - Conquering Lion
10. Wackie's Rhythm Force - Unchain Dub 

VA - Jah Children Invasion - Dancehall Classics Volume 1 (Wackies, 1983)
(320 kbps, front cover included)      

Samstag, 4. August 2018

Gone Fishin!

Have a good time, greetings!

Donnerstag, 2. August 2018

Velvet Underground - A Young Person´s Guide To

Photobucket"A Young Person´s Guide To Velvet Underground" is a collection of various rare cuts, pre-Velvet-Underground tracks, studio demos and Max's live tracks. It comes with an 8-pages photo book and covers the early years of VU.

The included song "Waves" was the working title for "Ocean".

1. Inside Of Your Heart (2:26)
2. White Light/White Heat (2:48)
3. Rock'n Roll (5:21)
4. Waves (5:23)
5. I've Got A Tiger In My Tank (2:12)
6. You're Driving Me Insane (2:22)
7. Index (4:29)
8. VU Noise (1:49)
9. Sweet Jane (4:51)
10. I'm Set Free (5:12)
11. You Better Walk It, As You Talk It (1:59)
12. Lonesome Cowboy Bill (3:48)
13. Sneaky Pete (2:10)
14. I'm Waiting For My Man (4:34)

1, 3, 4 : rough mix acetate demos / 2 : mono mix, 1967 / 5, 6, 13 : pre-VU tracks / 7 : Andy Warhol's Index book flexi / 8 : The East Village Other LP / 9 : Max's Kansas City, August 23, 1970 / 10, 12, 14 : Max's Kansas City, July 26, 1970 / 11 : Max's Kansas City, rehearsals, Summer 1970.

Velvet Underground - A Young Person´s Guide To
(320 kbps, cover art included)