Music Reviews Ska, Reggae and Rocksteady Sounds

Andy Smith – Andy Smith’s Trojan Document (Sanctuary)

Andy Smith's Trojan Document
Andy Smith's Trojan Document
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Andy Smith is known for many things – Portishead’s tour DJ, compilation compiler (The Document series) and as one half of Dynamo Productions. Here he trawls his way through the Trojan catalogue to present the Trojan Document.

The mix takes the listener on a journey through the evolution of reggae, from early ska recordings, through rocksteady, roots and dub, up to the digital sounds of the 1980’s.

The album kicks off with two reggae legends, Laurel Aitken and Derrick Morgan, with ‘Hey Bartender’ and ‘Blazing Fire’ respectively. Ska pioneer Justin Hinds is featured with classic ‘Carry Go Bring Come’ and the Ugly One (so called because of his distinctive features!), King Stitt, contributes the cracking ‘Fire Corner’.

Before the rocksteady era is represented, you get a couple of tracks touched by the hand of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. Perry’s studio band set up in 1968, The Untouchables, feature with ‘Tighten Up’ (the inspiration for the classic Trojan comps of the same name), which bridged the gap between ska and rocksteady, and another of Perry’s house bands, The Upsetters, feature with the stonking instrumental ‘A Live Injection’.

The rocksteady era is represented with some of the greatest vocalists/ groups of the style. The Jamaicans with the Jamaican Festival sing contest winner ‘Ba Ba Boom’, Phyllis Dillon with the Duke Reid produced ‘Don’t Stay Away’, and the Godfather of Rocksteady, Alton Ellis with, yep, ‘Rocksteady’.

The roots/ dub section of the mix is ushered in with ‘Better Must Come’ from the underrated Delroy Wilson. Then come a number of tracks with their dub versions – Gregory Isaacs ‘John Public’ followed by the dub ‘Public Eyes’, John Holt with the classic ‘Ali Baba’ and one of several dub versions, ‘I Trim the Barber’ produced by King Tubby, and Johnny Clarke and the Aggrovators with ‘Blood Dunza’ and its dub.

Lloyd Robinson features with the classic ‘Cuss Cuss’ which is followed by one of its many dub versions ‘Soul Scorcher (dub)’ by Karl Bryan & Harry J Allstars. Which takes us in to the 80’s dancehall/ digital era with tracks from Sugar Minott (Inna Dancehall Style), Johnny Osbourne (Rewind) and Ranking Joe (Dreadlocks Time).

The album is an excellent document (sorry, couldn’t help myself!) of the evolution of reggae music and sits nicely alongside Andy Smith’s other Document mix albums. Whether you’re looking for an introduction to reggae music or already a fan, Trojan have yet again come up with a nigh on essential compilation.

Find out more at the Amazon website

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