Trojan Records History Highlights

It always helps to have streaming audio within arm’s reach to make music history more of a ‘multimedia’ experience.

From reading Young Gifted and Black:  The Story of Trojan Records by Michael de Koningh & Laurence Cane-Honeysett, for example, I have picked up a number of helpful listening tips and historical revelations, such as this one:

The Cincinnati-Kingston Connection (Continues)

King Records makes an appearance early in the book when the authors recount the rise of Duke Reid, owner of Treasure Isle, one of the top Jamaican labels in the 1960s:

“In the early ’50s, Reid’s wife, Lucille, won a substantial lottery prize, which she invested in their future by buying a business, an off-license called the Treasure Isle Liquor Store, which was located in the same run-down ghetto area that the Duke had patrolled [as a police officer] for a decade.  The store was such a success that, in 1958, they relocated to larger premises at 33 Bond Street.

It was normal practice around Kingston for shopkeepers and bar owners to play recorded music to attract customers.  Not to be outdone, Reid rigged up a 78 rpm record player in the shop, with a speaker outside the front door, and discovered a formula for increasing his turnover.  Nothing drew in the music-hungry local people like a Wynonie Harris record rocking out through the speaker and carrying right across the street.”

The First Trojan Record

The authors identify the very first Trojan 45 release on page 32 — nevertheless, from the comfort of your computer, you can pull up the titles of the A and B sides of TR-001 yourself in three easy steps:

  1. Go to Discogs
  2. Pull up the main entry for Trojan Records
  3. Click on the column near the top of the screen marked Year (so as to put this set of records in chronological order)

Observe the very first item listed — “Judge Sympathy” by Duke Reid [& His All-Stars] b/w “Never to Be Mine” by Roland Alphonso — with a release date, 28 July 1967, that coincides with the label’s founding by Lee Gopthal and Chris Blackwell.

“Judge Sympathy”     Duke Reid All-Stars     1967

A classic tale of a rude boy getting his comeuppance -or not- in court.”

It is highly improbable, of course, that producer Duke Reid appears on this recording but rather, as YouTube contributor rudeboy6000 states, “Alton Ellis and John Holt are probable guest voices [ref.: Trojan Records].”

click on all song titles below for streaming audio >

The Obligatory Beatles Reference

Two years after its founding, the Trojan organization would expand operations in 1969:

“Another significant move in that year was the appointment of St. Kitts-born Joe Sinclair.  Joe had been with the Musicland shop at 23 Ridley Road since 1965 … and had elevated the premises to be the number-one retail outlet of the chain.  He was rewarded with an appointment as the manager of Trojan Records.

Joe was an accomplished keyboard player and, as well as being responsible for the day-to-day running of the office, moved into playing on and producing records.  He founded the Grape label in late 1969 as a ‘take on Apple‘ and started to record UK-based group The Rudies on crunching skinhead-friendly numbers like the revamped ‘Guns of Navarone‘.  Some of their records were covers of other artists’ tunes, such as ‘Shanghai‘, which was similar to the Lloyd Charmers original, already released by Pama.

The Obligatory Stones Reference

Reggae at the reception — the authors explain:

“As reggae gained a firm hold in the charts and minds of Mr. Average Record Buyer, the stars of rock took notice, including The Rolling Stones, who had championed black music since their early days.  Under the headline ‘Rudies Play at Mick Jagger‘s Wedding‘, the 10 June 1971 issue of US magazine Rolling Stone reported, ‘At the slightly seedy Cafe des Arts, where the reception was held, a local band opened the show and flopped.  Next came The Rudies, a thumping reggae group big in their own scene in Britain.  They lifted up plenty of souls ready for a set by Terry Reid and his band.”

Depends What You Mean By “Exclusive”

Part of the UK reggae industry’s colorful history includes a bit of “double dealing”:

“The other problem that confronted [Joe] Sinclair, and that had caused headaches far back for Chris Blackwell, was the [Jamaican] producers’ philosophy of getting as much mileage out of a record as possible.  Sometimes Trojan were offered a brand-new recording from Jamaica; they would buy the master tape from the producer and issue it on one of their labels.  Pama would have gone through a mirror-image situation with the same producer, who would have two or three copies of his ‘exclusive’, which he would proceed to sell to rival companies before jetting back to the sunshine with a maximum profit.

Sometimes two rival companies’ labels would release a record almost simultaneously — such as Marley‘s “Lively Up Yourself“, which appeared on Trojan’s Green Door imprint and Pama’s Punch label — or, if one unfortunate owner saw it already out on the street, they would just shelve their release.  Trojan Records own a considerable number of recordings that they have never released due to this problem, and one can conjecture that the other labels active at the time also had a box of unuseable master tapes.”

This inter-label rivalry (according to Wikipedia – please don’t hit me) “had been fuelled by Bunny Lee’s earlier licensing of Derrick Morgan’s ‘Seven Letters‘ to both Pama and Trojan.”

Musical fight:  Trojan vs. Pama

Both singles released in 1969 – on (Trojan-owned) Jackpot & (Pama-owned) Crab

JA’s Omnipresent Engineer 

Syd Bucknor, audio engineer emeritus, receives a musical salute on page 55:

“The engineer at Harry Johnson‘s session at Dynamic Studios on the day that ‘Young, Gifted And Black‘ was recorded was Sid Bucknor.  A first cousin to ClementCoxsonDodd, Bucknor started his recording career at Studio One in around 1963.  He was with Lee Perry when the youthful Wailers first auditioned for the studio and was impressed by their sound.  History vindicates his opinion.

Sid estimates that, by the end of the decade, his hand was present in around 70 per cent of all the recordings coming from the small island, so great was the demand for his talents as a freelance producer and engineer.  He estimates that the average number of recordings he would undertake in a normal day was a staggering 12.  He never had to look for work as his reputation preceded him and most producers looked to him to turn a song into a hit.

As a professional engineer and producer at Dynamic Studios (after leaving Studio One and his freelance career), he recorded work for, among others, Bunny Lee, Harry Mudie, Alvin ‘GG’ Ranglin and Leslie Kong.  He was the engineer on Johnny Nash’s smash ‘I Can See Clearly Now‘, engineered the formative DJ work of producer Keith Hudson with Big Youth on ‘Ace 90 Skank‘ and worked on the first three Marley Island albums.  He also remixed both Duke Reid’s and Coxson’s work at various times to give ‘a more up-to-date sound’.

Sadly, much of Sid’s work has been unrecognised, and it is only now that account has been taken of his vast input to Jamaican music.  He recalls that, in the reggae heyday of the start of the ’70s, ‘I would be asked to do two mixes of a tune, one for Jamaica and a lighter one for the UK as a new burgeoning market for their products and their need to retune the sound accordingly.”

Clyde McPhatter and the Trojan Connection

One original era vocal legend, tragically, was not able to hang on for the roots rock revival scene that began to take shape in the early 1970s — Rob Bell recounts:

‘Here’s one artist probably no one in the world knows had a Trojan connection – Clyde McPhatter, lead singer of the Drifters in the early ’50s, who then branched out to a solo career by around 1955 or ’56.  Huge influence on R&B – you can listen to thousands of R&B or doo-wop recordings from the ’50s and hear Clyde’s influence.  Enormous.

‘He was in London for awhile around 1971 [the master index shows that Clyde recorded in 1970 for Trojan], down on his luck.  I don’t know how he showed up at Trojan, but he did.  We cut a session with him and The Rudies, with ex-Pioneer Sydney Crooks as producer.  Four tunes, assigned Song Bird matrices.  Somewhere around SB 1027 to 1032 A and B, as far as I can recall … For some reason, Graham [Walker] and Lee [Gopthal] hated him, and I remember having to tell Clyde that we had no bread for him on the one occasion that I met him.

‘It is not a moment that I recall with relish.  He seemed like a nice man and was certainly a singer for whom I had a very high regard.  As far as I know, these titles have never been issued.’

Actually, one single ‘Denver‘ would be issued on the “pop-slanted” B&C label in September of 1969 — a nicely arranged piece of pop soul (penned by Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham) that would be one of the last releases from the legendary vocalist, who succumbed to alcoholism in 1972 at the age of 39.

UK release in 1969  +  Picture sleeve for Spain – 1970

I Roy vs. U Roy vs. Hugh Roy

Forget what you learned in school:  U before I, except after Roy.  Rob Bell explains:

“I myself was responsible for one cock-up, and that was calling toaster U Roy on his early UK releases Hugh Roy.  As you know, Jamaicans tend to drop Hs, and to add them sometimes, viz Marley’s line in ‘Trench Town Rock‘, ‘an ‘ungry man is a hangry man’.

So little old middle-class Rob Bell, one of whose tasks it was to prepare label copy, very carefully typed ‘Hugh Roy’ on the copy for those releases … As I did all the label copy for at least two years, I am sure I am responsible for many cock-ups!  However, in my defence, I took the details from the Jamaican label, or got the info from the producer — both sources being, of course, absolutely infallible!

(If it’s any consolation to Rob, the toaster’s debut LP, Version Galore, was issued by Duke Reid in Jamaica in a sleeve proclaiming the artist to be I-Roy!)”

Front Cover with “I Roy” misprint = issued in JA

Note the seamless edit in repress version

(Trojan’s) Tighten Up vs. (Pama’s) Straighten Up

Traditionally, Jamaica has been a singles market.  In Britain, as the authors note —

“Island had tried out the long-playing format as early as 1963, with albums by their top signings such as Derrick Morgan’s Forward March (et al.)”

Original 1963 LP might set you back three figures at auction

Rob Bell picks up the story:

“Full-price ska/reggae albums sold in minute quantities.  The Tighten Up series did sell well, but that was because they consisted of compilations of singles that had already sold very well indeed.  Trojan wanted to piggyback other titles … hence the ambitious TTL reissue project.”

Tighten Up‘s first volume featured primarily previously-released Trojan 45s and was given the TTL “budget” designation (“though no one now can recall what these initials stood for”).  The authors further explain —

“Priced at just 14/6d – the cost of two singles – this album moved units, and its first pressing on the original all-orange Trojan label sold out quickly.  It was repressed with a slightly altered sleeve design using the new orange-and-white label design, which was introduced in 1969 …”

Tighten Up Volume Two appeared quickly afterwards and was not only much more up to date in its tracks; it was also a sizzling selection of recordings … Tighten Up Volume Two was Trojan’s all-time best-selling album and would remain available for many years, such was its enduring popularity.  It even score in the pop album charts, the entry rules for which were promptly revised to exclude budget records!”

Tighten Up Volume 3, issued in 1970, took the pretty girl off the sleeve and on to the bedroom wall with a splendid double-album-sized poster nestled in a die-cut sleeve.  The young lady peeped through the central hole and, when the poster was opened out, revealed the titles of all the album’s tracks painted on her finely toned body.  It may have been a gimmick, but because of the poster Tighten Up Volume 3 became legendary in every school classroom and extremely popular on the skinheads’ walls.”

Here’s a link to the track listing for Tighten Up Volume 4 — six songs per LP side.

With respect to Pama’s competing series of budget-priced oldies — Straighten UpLloyd Bradley, in 2000’s Bass Culture:  When Reggae Was King, would simply say that the “sleeves were tacky enough to make Trojan’s lewd efforts look classy.”

Volume 1 – track listing                       Volume 2 – track listing

Volume 3 – track listing                        Volume 4 – track listing

Trojan:  The Marcel Rodd/Dave Hendley Era

Trojan’s reliance on “strings reggae” would hurt the label during the 1970s, as reggae audiences gravitated toward a heavier roots sound as the decade progressed.  The label would have liquidity issues in the mid-1970s and find itself under new ownership:  Marcel Rodd of Saga/Allied Records.  Former Island staffer, Dave Hendley (“with the departure of Tony Cummings”) would be promoted to Artists & Repertoire.  The authors take the baton:

“So in the late ’70s, Trojan was drifting, as the only product which producers would offer them was rejects from other deals or substandard work.  Due to the company policy of not paying to the same level as their competitors, such as the rapidly expanding Greensleeves Records, Trojan’s reputation in the marketplace had taken a dive.  Marcel Rodd was determined to reverse this trend.  And so February 1979 saw Dave Hendley, Mo Claridge and fast-rising reggae DJ David Rodigan heading out to Kingston.  Dave’s brief was to raise the Trojan flag in Kingston and sign up some acts – although the company had provided no contacts for him to visit.

Due to Dave’s resourcefulness, the outcome was Sugar Minott‘s Ghetto-ology album and The Morwells‘ 12″ disco 45 ‘Kingston 12 Tuffie‘, with a stunning remix by courtesy of Prince Jammy.”

JA release in 1977 of “1974 production” vs. UK release on Attack in 1979

Dave Hendley breaks down the economics for the rest of us:

“Trojan would pay £300 max for a disco 12” single, while the going rate was £400, and they would only pay up to £2,500 for an album, when up to £4,000 was the normal price.  I badly wanted a Freddie McGregor album that Niney had and, give him his due, Rodd went to four grand, but Niney wouldn’t let it go for that.  Freddie was just so big back then.  I tried for the ‘Hard Time Pressure‘ 12″ single from Sugar Minott but couldn’t get it due to the money.  In the end I put it out on my own Sufferers’ Heights label.”

Music in Advertising

“[Page 81] After the departure of Dave Hendley, Trojan began a period of comparative inactivity, seemingly reissuing the same dozen golden oldies in as many permutations as possible, until it was sold to Sharesense Ltd. in 1985…

[Former Chairman, Colin NewmanNo matter what some people want to say about the period in which we ran Trojan, we think we acted in manner that was fair and reasonable.  We think we gave care and attention to the music, care and attention to the artwork, care and attention to the way the music was presented to the public.  We enjoyed doing it and, as you know, we built up other labels which had other genres of music — again, all built up with direct artist relationships.  with very few problems.  We built up a big chart list of British singles charts, tracks that ha individually been in the charts, and we mixed the benefit of those releases with Trojan’s expertise, in terms of the ability of putting tracks on compilations and things like that.  And we had some success with TV ads, probably the most famous was ‘Israelites‘ by Desmond Dekker for a TDK ad [Maxell, actually], with ‘My Ears Are Alight’, which we thought was great and very funny.”

Desmond Dekker’s “Israelites” = Maxell Cassettes

Lord Tanamo’s “I’m In the Mood for Ska” = Paxo Stuffing

Toots & the Maytals’ “Broadway Jungle” = Adidas Footware

Mastered From Vinyl
Superior to Master Tapes?

Those of you who wondered if Trojan’s often murky mixes were somehow caused by limitations in your sound system, you can now rest assured that neither your ears nor playback equipment were at fault:

“Many high-street retailers disliked stocking reggae singles due to their poor sound quality.  Joe Sinclair explains the reason:

‘Apart from the big producers like Leslie Kong and Byron Lee, who provided us with master tapes, we always had to dub off a record for our releases.’

In other words, a normal Jamaican-pressed record would be used as the master copy for the Trojan release.  All the inherent faults of the none-too-special JA pressing would thereby be transferred to the UK issue, along with a second step away from master-tape sound quality.”

⇐     ⇐     ⇐     ⇐     ⇐     Trojan & Affiliated Labels     ⇒     ⇒     ⇒     ⇒     ⇒
An Alphabetical Overview

All playlists below in order by catalog #
All dates indicate year of release in the UK — not Jamaica

Amalgamated:  According to Discogs —

Founded in 1966 by Joel Gibson (a.k.a. Joe Gibbs) at his radio and TV repair shop on Beeston Street in Kingston, Jamaica, Amalgamated became one of the fastest-rising labels in correlation with the uprising of Rocksteady music. 
Though the credits almost always read “Produced By Joel Gibson”, production was actually handled by Lee ‘ScratchPerry for the first two years, followed by WinstonNineyHolness who took over for the following six years after the fact. 

Says the book:  “Some of the best sides from 1968 and 1969 were collected on Amalgamated’s Jackpot of Hits compilation.”  Also of note to historians:  “… the sides by The Cobbs are believed to be Ken Jones‘s productions.”  Worth pointing out that obscure early reggae track ‘Red Red Wine‘ by The Immortals – flipside of AMG 869 – “has nothing to do with its more famous namesake.”

  • Amalgamated on Discogs
  • Amalgamated on 45Cat
  • Lesserknown gems on Amalgamated — a playlist:
Goodies Are the Greatest    The Pioneers w/ Lyn Taitt Band    1968
Hope Someday                The Leaders w/ Lyn Taitt & Jets   1968
Sometimes I Sit Down & Cry  The Leaders                       1968
Music Is the Key            Roy Shirley                       1968
We Shall Have a Grand Time  The Marvetts                      1968
Get in the Groove           Keith Blake                       1968
Having a Party              Dennis Walks                      1968
Holding Out                 The Creations                     1968
I Spy                       Errol Dunkley (& Gibbs All Stars) 1968
Pan Ya Machete              Joe Gibbs & Pioneers              1968
Great Great in '68          Lord Salmons                      1968
Jana                        Sir Gibbs All Stars               1968
Mortgage                    Hugh Malcolm                      1968
Caterpillar Rock            'Dan D. Jr.'                      1968
Miss Eve                    The Pioneers                      1968
We Two + What Moma No Want  Stranger Cole                     1969
On the Move                 The Soulmates                     1969
Why Did You Leave           The Young Souls                   1969
Appolo 11                   The Moon Boys                     1969
Professor in Action         The Scientists                    1969
Bongo Jah                   The Immortals                     1969
Straight to the Head        Joe Gibbs & the Destroyers        1969
The Woman of Samaria        Spanishites (not Jackie Robinson) 1969
Baby Don't Be Late          The Soulmates w/ The Blenders     1969
Franco Nero                 Joe Gibbs & the Destroyers        1970
Turn Back the Hands of Time Joe Gibbs (& Co.)                 1970
La La                       Joe Gibbs All Stars               1970
Train Is Coming             The Inspirations                  1970
Kingstonians Reggae         Jogibs All Stars feat E. Ranglin  1970
Life Is Down in Denver      Joe Gibbs (& Whistling Friends)   1970

BONUS = 1970 LP Reggae Fever by The Inspirations

Attack:  According to Discogs —

Reggae label based on Bunny Lee productions.  This label contains releases on multinational markets [from multiple producers, actually].

This UK label were originally started in 1969 as a subsidiary of  [Grame Goodall‘s] Doctor Bird RecordsTrojan Records took over in 1970, and the label lasted until around 1980.  Attack was briefly revived in 1988 until about 1991, issuing compilations of classic Jamaican music from the sixties and seventies. 

Zero to 180 emphasizes the array of producers issued on Attack besides Bunny Lee, including (but not limited to) Tony Brevitt, ‘Prince’ Tony Robinson, Warwick Lyn,  Winston Riley, Phil Pratt, Alvin ‘GG’ Ranglin, Lloyd Coxson, Lee Perry, Pat Rhoden, Sidney Crooks, Ernie Smith, Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith, Eric Donaldson, Linval Thompson, and Harry J.

  • Attack on Discogs
  • Attack on 45Cat
  • Lesserknown gems on Attack — a playlist:

*Bonus early Attack track (Philigree Production) – “Nyah Bingewe” by Nyah Earth

“Nyah Bingewe”     Nyah Earth     1970

This Beautiful Land/Version The Melodians                     1972
Fine Style                  Dennis Alcapone                   1972
This is a Pepper            U Roy                             1972
Bound in Chains + Version   The Clarendonians                 1972
It Was Written Down        (Toots &) The Maytals              1972
Musical Goat                Shorty Perry/Winston Grennan      1972
Multiplication              Thoroughbreds                     1973
Space Flight                I Roy                             1973
People Got to Be Free       Denzil Dennis                     1973
Harry Hippie                Neville Grant                     1973
Feeling High               'The Pioneers'                     1973
Reggae Fever               'The Pioneers'                     1974
Pass It On                  The Henneseys (i.e., Pioneers)    1974
Duppy Gunman                Ernie Smith                       1974
Atlantic One                Ansel Collins                     1974
A Noh Me Trouble You        The Willows                       1974
I Am Gone + dub             Derrick & Hortense                1974
Arise Selassie I Arise      Freddie McKay                     1974
Nothing Is Impossible       The Interns                       1975
Saturday Night Special      Michael Dyke                      1975
Just Be Jolly               U Roy                             1975
Natty Dread Don't Cry       Tapper Zukie                      1975
Scorpion Dub                Nora Dean All Stars               1976
Niah Dread                  Lester Lewis                      1976
A Weh We A Go Do            Eric Donaldson                    1977
I Love Lamb's Bread         Linval Thompson                   1978
Tubby at the Controls       Big Joe                           1978

Big:  According to Discogs —

UK reggae label and a subsidiary of Trojan Records initiated for productions from Rupie Edwards.  Active between 1970 and 1972 and released a total of about 35 releases on 7″.

  • Big on Discogs
  • Big on 45Cat
  • Lesserknown gems on Big — a playlist:
Go to a Party + Mother Cuba The Meditators                     1970
Everytime                   The Itals                          1970
Staccato                    Ansel Collins                      1970
Music Alone Shall Live      Rupie Edwards                      1970
Dip Dip + Too Much          The Slickers                       1970
Ain't Misbehavin'           Joe White                          1970
Burning Fire + Version      Joe Higgs                          1971
Uncle Charlie               U Roy                              1971
Behold Another Version      Rupie Edwards All Stars            1971
You Must Believe Me         Niney & Dennis Alcapone            1971
Brain Wash                  Conscious Minds                    1971
Soulful Stew #1 & #2        Rupie Edwards All Stars            1971
Weary Version 3             Glen Adams                         1971
Love Version                All Stars (U Roy w/ The Uniques)   1971
Deep Meditation             Eroll Dunkley                      1971
Girl You're Too Young       The Diamonds                       1971
Papacito                    Hugh Roy Jr.                       1971
Solid As a Rock & Version   The Ethiopians                     1972
Three Tops Time             Dion & The Three Tops              1972
Eternal Drums               Bongo Herman & Les                 1972
Jimmy As Job Card           Rupie Edwards All Stars            1972
Riot                        Rupie Edwards All Stars            1972
I Want Justice + Version    B.B. Seaton                        1972
Christmas Parade            Rupie Edwards                      1972
Santa                       Underground People                 1972

Big Shot:  According to Discogs —

Originally a subsidiary of Island Records in 1968, Big Shot was absorbed into the Trojan Records group when it spun off from Island that same year, and became one of Trojan’s top secondary subsidiary labels, particularly thanks to its consistent output of material from controversial artist Judge Dread.

Zero to 180 notes the variety of producers whose recordings were issued on Big Shot:  George ‘Clive’ Tennors, Ken Khouri, Paul Khouri, Derrick Harriott, Bunny Lee, Niney, Sonia Pottinger, Herman Chin-Loy, Eric Barnett, Alvin ‘GG’ Ranglin, Des and Webster, Les Foster, Winston Riley, Rad Bryan, Lloyd Daley, Hugh Madden, Glen Brown, Lloyd’s TV & Radio, Lloyd Charmers, and Lloyd & Glen, among others.

  • Big Shot on Discogs
  • Big Shot on 45Cat
  • Lesserknown gems on Big Shot — a playlist:

*Bonus moon landing calypso – “Round and Round the Moon” by Amor Vivi

“Round and Round the Moon”     Amor Vivi     1969

Donkey Trot                 Clive All Stars                    1968
Something About My Man      The Gaylets                        1968
Chattie Chattie/Magic Touch Junior Soul                        1969
Bumble Bee                  The Crystalites                    1969
Shower of Rain              Derrick Morgan                     1969
Forest Gate Rock            Lester Sterling                    1969
Rock, Rock and Cry          Raving Ravers                      1969
Kiss a Finger               The Kingstonians                   1969
Been So Long                Derrick Harriott                   1969
He Is Back                  Monty Morris                       1969
How Strong My Love Is       The Gaylettes                      1969
My Baby                     The Tennors                        1969
Cool Hand Luke              Cannon Ball & Johnny Melody        1969
By-Ooh-Paooh-Pa-Pa-Ya       Eddie Lovette                      1969
Hound Dog Special           Val Bennett                        1969
Windy Pt. 1                 The Saints                         1969
Old Man Dead                Vern and Alvin                     1969
Nice Nice                   The Kingstonians                   1969
Do It Nice                  Les Foster                         1969
Son of Reggae               Sylvan Williams                    1969
Mother Nature               The Escorts                        1970
He Who Keepeth His Mouth    The Techniques                     1970
Darkness                    Boris Gardner                      1970
Watch This Music            Boris Gardner & the Love People    1970
Queen of the World Version  The Prophets                       1970
Jaco                        The Prophets                       1970
Bet Yer Life I Do           Billy Jack                         1970
Freedom Sound               Lloyd Sievright & Barry Howard     1970
He Is Not a Rebel           The Ethiopians                     1971
El Fishy                    Herman's All Stars                 1971
Thunder and Lightning       The Observers                      1971
Hard Fighter                Little Roy                         1971
Psalms 9 to Keep in Mind    Tommy McCook & the Observers       1971
Message to the Ungodly      Niney & the Observers              1971
Free Man                    Boy Friday                         1971
Keep Pushing + Hot Tip      The Observers                      1971
I'll Be Right There         Rad Bryan                          1971
Nyah Festival               Matador                            1971
Know Your Friend + Version  Sketto                             1971
A Sometime Girl             The Cables                         1971
I Need Someone              The Ethiopians                     1971
Rebel                       The God Sons                       1972
Hiding by the Riverside     Niney & the Observers              1972
Night Food Reggae           Nora Dean                          1972
Dr. Spock + Joe Kidd        The Vulcans                        1972
Housewives Choice           Derrick & Hortense                 1973
Mind the Doors              Judge Dread                        1973
Sound Track La La La        Tony's All Stars                   1973
Stop Baby Version           The Gaytones                       1973
White Rum + Jam Dung        Lloyd Charmers                     1973
You Can't Get               Kingston Four Combo                1974
Mama Dee                    The Starlites                      1974

UNRELEASED: "Jill's on the Pill" + "Pill Control" by Glen & Ken '74

Black Swan:  According to Discogs —

Releases prefixed with WI or WIP are released as subsidiary of Island UK, while those prefixed with BW are released as subsidiary of Trojan.

Limited run of releases from 1970-1971 by Trojan/B&C from 1970-1971 under the “shared” Black Swan banner — all of them listed below:

Young Satch "Bonga Bonga" b/w The Boys "Ramba"                 1970
Selwyn Baptiste "Mo' Bay" b/w Reco's All Stars "Going West"    1970
The Low Bites "I Got It" b/w The Low Bites "I Got It Version"  1971
The Itals "Dawn Patrol" b/w The Itals "Whisky Bonga"           1971
Lloyd Clarke "Love You the Most" b/w The Low Bites "Version"   1971
Lee Bogel "Tomorrow's Dreams" b/w Swans "Hot Pants Reggae"     1971
The Itals "Judgement Rock" b/w The Itals "Night West"          1971
Laurel Aitken "Hell Below" b/w Laurel Aitken "Bit o' Loving"   1971
Ruby & Gloria "Talk to Me" b/w Lloyd's All Stars "Version"     1971
Rad Bryan "Girl You Rock My Soul" b/w Rad Bryan "Version"      1971

Blue Cat:  According to Discogs —

Blue Cat Records (UK) was a subsidiary label of Trojan Records.  Around 70 records were released on the label between 1968 and 1969, with a variety of early reggae and rocksteady releases from artists such as The Pioneers, The Untouchables, and The Maytones.

Zero to 180 notes the various producers who were represented on Blue Cat, including Dermot Lynch, Joe Gibbs, Charles Reid, Coxson Dodd, Clancy Collins, Charles Ross, Enos McLeod, Alvin ‘GG’ Ranglin, Nehemiah Reid, and others.

  • Blue Cat on Discogs
  • Blue Cat on 45Cat
  • Lesserknown gems on Blue Cat — a playlist:
Hot Shot                    Dermot Lynch                       1968
I'm Moving On               Keith Blake                        1968
Whip Them                   The Pioneers                       1968
Get Right + If I Did Look   The Wriggers                       1968
Wise Message                Rico's All-Stars                   1968
Seven Letters               Winston Jarrett's Righteous Homes  1968
The Train                   Roy & the Duke All Stars           1968
Bye Bye Baby                Zoot Sims                          1968
Good Girl                   Ed Nangle                          1968
You're Gonna Lose           The Octaves                        1968
Echo (Feel Like Crying)     Dermott Lynch                      1968
Always + Big Man            The Grey Brothers                  1968
The Fiddler                 Leyroy Reid                        1968
Last Dance                  Thrillers                          1968
Unworthy Baby               Delta Cats                         1968
Way of Life                 Glen(n) Brown with Joe & Trevor    1968
Intensified Girls           Andersons All Stars                1968
La La Bam-Ba                Enos & Sheila                      1968
Your Love                   Untouchables                       1968
I Know a Place              Dee Set                            1969
I Dangerous                 Roy Bennett                        1969
Billy Goat                  The Maytones                       1968
ZZ Beat                     Rico & the Rhythm Aces             1968
Out of the Fire             Lloyd & Devon                      1969
Loving Reggae               The Maytones                       1969
Frying Pan                  The Slickers                       1969
Dip it Up                   The Sparkers                       1969
Song of the Year            The Sparkers                       1969
Israel                      The Sparkers                       1969
What a Sin Thing            Devon & Cedric (The Tartans)       1969
Rhythm-In                   Rico Rodriguez                     1969
Me Want Man                 Maxie Romeo                        1969
Love                        The Maytones                       1969
Everybody Reggae            Vern and Alvin                     1969
Magnificent Seven           Winston Wright & the Soul Kings    1969
I Need Your Loving          The Concords                       1969
Strange                     Bobby Dobson                       1969
World Come to an End        Gladstone and Followers            1969
D.D. Money                  The Maytones                       1969

Bread:  According to Discogs —

UK reggae label launched by Trojan in 1970 as a subsidiary label for Jackie Edwards and his productions.  Almost halfway through Bread’s 20-issue existence, Jackie’s output seemed have been switched to Trojan Records and Horse, with other producers taking over the Bread label [such as Lee Perry, Clancy Eccles, Alvin ‘GG’ Ranglin, and Bunny Lee].

  • Bread on Discogs
  • Bread on 45Cat
  • Lesserknown gems on Bread — a playlist:
I Need Your Love            Gene Laro                          1970
Tell Me Why You Say Goodbye Bobby Foster                       1970
Yes I Will                  Victor Scott                       1970
Your Eyes Are Dreaming      Jackie Edwards                     1970
Cum-Ba-Laa                  Jackie's Boys                      1971
Johnny Gunman Version       Jackie's Boys                      1971
Don't Stop                  Danny Ray                          1972
Bewildered                  Count Prince Miller                1972
Station Underground News    Lee Perry                          1973
Better Days                 Carltons [Carlton & the Shoes]     1973
Close Observation           Tyrone Taylor                      1973
Pay for the Wicked/Version  The Untouchables                   1973
People Are Changing/Dubwise The Maytones                       1973
You Need Love               Billy Dyce & Millions              1973
Mama + Man a Walk and Talk  Nora Dean                          1973
Just Enough                 David Isaacs                       1973
I'm Not Home                Derrick Morgan                     1973
Don't Try to Use Me         Horace Andy                        1973
Musical Liquidator          Dennis Alcapone                    1973

Clandisc:  According to Discogs —

Clancy Eccles label. Established by Trojan Records in 1969 as the UK counterpart to Clancy Eccles back-a-yard operation in Jamaica.
Clandisc ground to a halt early in 1972, and Clancy Eccles seemed to disappear from the recording scene.

  • Clandisc on Discogs
  • Clandisc on 45Cat
  • Lesserknown gems on Clandisc — a playlist:
Who Yea                     King Stitt                         1969
The World Needs Loving      Clancy Eccles                      1969
On the Street               King Stitt                         1969
Rub it Down                 Barrington Sadler                  1969
Beat Dance                  Clancy Eccles                      1969
Don't Mind Me               Higgs & Wilson                     1970
Lion                        The Dynamites                      1970
Again                       Higgs & Wilson                     1970
Conversation + Version      Cynthia Richards                   1970
Promises                    Cynthia Richards                   1970
Black Beret                 Clancy Eccles & the Dynamites      1970
Skank Me                    Clancy Eccles & the Dynamites      1970
Africa Pt. 1 + Pt. 2        Clancy Eccles & the Dynamites      1970
False Niah                  Barry & the Affections             1970
Sounds of '70               King Stitt & the Dynamites         1970
Zion                        The Westmorlites                   1970
Pop it Up                   The Dynamites                      1970
Dance Beat                  Clancy and Stitt                   1970
Unite Tonight + Uncle Joe   Clancy Eccles                      1970
Swanee River                Baugh All Stars                    1970
King of Kings               King Stitt                         1970
Reggaedelic                 The Dynamites                      1970
Kingston Town               Lord Creator                       1970
Sweet Jamaica               Clancy Eccles                      1971
Going Up West               The Dynamites                      1971
Teardrops Will Fall         The Silvertones                    1971
John Crow Skank             Clancy's Dynamites (& Unnamed DJ)  1971
Hello Mother                The Dynamites                      1971
Don't Call Me ...           The Soul Twins                     1972
Joe Louis                   The Dynamites                      1972

Downtown:  According to Discogs —

A subsidary label of Trojan Records, set up exclusively for Dandy (Robert Livingstone Thompson) soon after Trojan was formed, in the summer of 1968. Dandy’s session outfits included The Brother Dan All StarsThe Israelites and The Music Doctors, the line-ups of which were ever-changing, while featuring vocalists were Desmond RileyLyndon JohnsTony Tribe and Gene Rondo (also known as Winston Laro).

Zero to 180 notes that by 1972, Downtown would showcase the work of other producers, including Kenneth Wilson, Derrick Harriott, Lee Perry, Bunny Lee, ‘Prince’ Tony Robinson, Alvin ‘GG’ Ranglin, Gussie Clarke, Glen Brown, Clancy Eccles, and Byron Lee, among others.

Click on image to view in Ultra High Resolution

  • Downtown on Discogs
  • Downtown on 45Cat
  • Lesserknown gems on Downtown — a playlist:
Move Mule + Reggae Me This   Dandy                             1968
Dream                        Denzil and Pat                    1968
Cool Hand Luke               Brother Dan All Stars             1968
Copy Your Rhythm             Dandy                             1968
Sweet Chariot               [Dandy &] The Dreamers             1969
You Don't Care               Audrey with Dandy                 1969
Moma Moma                    The Israelites                    1969
Shoot Them Amigo             Brother Dan All Stars             1969
Rock Steady Gone             Dandy                             1969
Quando Quando                Rico & the Rudies                 1969
The Untouchables             Sonny Bins & The Rudies           1969
Lovers' Question             Gene Rondo                        1969
Night Train                  The Rudies                        1969
Everybody Feel Good          Downtown/Brother Dan All Stars    1969
Train from Vietnam           Freddie Notes & The Rudies        1969
Near East                    The Rudies                        1969
Tear Them                    Desmond Riley                     1969
Chucka Beat                  Dandy & the Israelites            1969
Be Natural Be Proud          Dandy                             1969
If I Had Wings               Desmond Riley                     1969
Love Is All You Need         Dandy                             1969
Give You All the Love I Got  Tony Tribe                        1969
Boss Sound                   Dessie and John                   1969
Burial of Longshot Pt. 1 & 2 Prince of Darkness / George Lee   1969
Song Bird                    Lyndon Johns                      1969
Ghost Rider                  Musical Doctors                   1969
Pop Your Corn                Audrey                            1969
Going Strong                 Music Doctors                     1970
Won't You Come Home          Dandy & Audrey                    1970
First Note                   Dandy                             1970
Morning Side of the Mountain Dandy & Audrey                    1970
Take It Easy                 The Megatons                      1970
Grindin' Axe                 Music Doctors                     1970
Standing Up for the Sound    Dennis Lowe                       1970
Old Man Trouble              Owen & Dennis                     1970
Version Girl                 Boy Friday                        1970
The Pliers                   Music Doctors                     1971
El Raunchy                   Boy Friday                        1971
Only the Strong Survive      Dave Barker                       1971
B Side                       The Conthos                       1971
Every Man                    Dandy                             1971
Give Me Some More            The Studio Sound                  1972
Herb Tree                    Family Man                        1972
Meet the Boss                Sir Harry                         1972
Swinging Along               Dennis Alcapone                   1972
Drum and Bass Version        Augustus Pablo & the Crystalites  1973
Black IPA + IPA Skank        The Upsetters                     1973
Rasta Want Peace             The Aggrovators                   1973
You're a Wanted Man          The Starlites                     1973
Blackman Time                I Roy                             1973
Uptown Rock                  Sir Harry                         1973
Sunshine Showdown            The Upsetters                     1973
What Did You Say + Version   Dennis Alcapone/Prince Tony Band  1973
Meaning of One               Prince Jazzbo                     1973
Rastafari Ruler              The (Soul) Twins                  1973
Mid East Rock                Dillinger & the Upsetters         1973
Sugar Plum                   Bellfield                         1973
Love of Jah Jah Children     Millions                          1973
Dedicated to Illiteracy Dub  G.G. All Stars                    1973
Live and Learn               I Roy                             1973
Don't Blame the Man          Derrick Morgan                    1973

Duke:  According to Discogs —

UK reggae / ska label, active from 1968 until late in 1973 when Trojan Records didn’t need the label any longer.  Originally initiated to handle output from Arthur “Duke” Reid.   Also, label issued Joe Mansano production with ‘blue’ Joe labels and ‘DU’ catalog numbers.  Later, label got separate catalog numbers with ‘JRS’ prefix and brown/yellow design.

Zero to 180 adds this observation:

Plenty of producers showcased on this imprint besides Duke Reid:  JJ Johnson, Harry J, Joe Gibbs, Lynford Anderson, Hot Rod, Winston Lowe, Clancy Eccles,  George ‘Clive’ Tennors, Byron Lee, Bart Sanfilipo, Herman Chin-Loy, Sir Collins, Maurice ‘Blacka Morwell’ Wellington, Rupie Edwards, Lloyd Charmers, Bruce Anthony, Alvin ‘GG’ Ranglin, Lee Perry, Keith Hudson, Pat Rhoden, Glen Brown, Neville Willoughby, Phil Pratt, Lloyd Daley, Sonia Pottinger, Vincent ‘Randy’ Chin, Hugh Madden, Dennis Bovell, Gussie Clarke, Bunny Lee, and Whistling Willie, among others.

  • Duke on Discogs
  • Duke on 45Cat
  • Lesserknown gems on Duke — a playlist:
One Dollar of Music          JJ All Stars                      1968
Happy Time                   Herbie Carter                     1968
Smashville                   The Boys                          1968
Cuss Cuss                    Lloyd Robinson                    1968
Penny Reel + Soul Tonic      Whistling Willie                  1968
Reggae Dance                 Owen Gray                         1969
Soul Pipe + Overproof        King Cannon                       1969
Personality                  Tommy McCook & the Supersonics    1969
Home Without You             The Beltones                      1969
Freedom Sound                The Afrotones                     1969
Suffering Stink              Band of Mercy and Salvation       1969
The Bold One                 Boris Gardiner                    1969
What Am I to Do              The Techniques                    1969
5 to 5                       Lloyd Charmers                    1969
Come See About Me            Soul Stirrers                     1969
Hear Ya                      Scorchers                         1969
Live Life                    The Vibrators                     1969
Glad You're Living           Stranger Cole                     1969
Never Gonna Give You Up      The Royals                        1969
John Public                  The Dynamites                     1969
I Don't Care                 Clancy & the Dynamites            1969
Mother Hen                   Harmonisers                       1969
Seven Lonely Days            Owen Gray                         1969
Last Laugh                   Lloyd Chalmers                    1969
Come Look Here               Silvertones                       1969
Dream Baby                   Anonymously Yours                 1969
Soul Serenade/Bond in Bliss  Byron Lee & the Dragonaires       1969
Black Panther                Sir Collins & Black Diamonds      1969
It's Love                    The Dials                         1969
Pair of Wings                Sir Collins & the Earthquakes     1969
Simmering                    The Earthquakes                   1969
You Were to Be               The Gladiators                    1969
Lick a Pop                   Hot Rod All Stars                 1970
Where Were You When the ...  The Techniques                    1970
Neck Tie                     Winston Wright & JJ All Stars     1970
Poppy Cock                   Winston Wright & JJ All Stars     1970
This World and Me            Carl Dawkins                      1970
Paint Your Wagon + Organ Man The Setters                       1970
Cayso [poss Calypso?] Reggae Hot Rod All Stars                 1970
Drink Milk                   John Holt                         1970
It's a Shame                 Al T. Joe                         1970
Poppy Show + Pop a Top (# 2) Andy Capp                         1970
Funkey Reggae                Dave Barker                       1970
I Love You My Baby           The Supersonics' [Versatiles]     1970
The Rooster                  Tommy McCook & the Supersonics    1970
Walk Through This World      Phyllis Dillon                    1970
Open Jaw = Mix 1 + Mix 2     Tommy McCook & the Supersonics    1970
Key to the City              Tommy McCook & the Supersonics    1970
Give It to Me                Dorothy Reid                      1970
Feel Alright                 Pyramids                          1970
Wreck It Up + Dynamic Groove Good Guys                         1970
Happiness + Latissimo        Good Guys                         1970
Hard on Me                   Tommy Cowan & Jamaicans           1970
Going in Circles             Bobby Blue                        1970
Colour Him Father            Lloyd Charmers                    1970
You Can't Wine               Kingstonians                      1970
Bee Sting                    Rupie Edwards All Stars           1970
Cashbox                      Byron Lee & the Dragonaires       1970
Cloud Burst                  Hippy Boys                        1970
Message from a Black Man     Lloyd Charmers                    1970
Get Together                 Carl Dawkins                      1970
Installment Plan             Family Man                        1970
Come Along + Try to Be Happy Clarendonians                     1970
Coolie Man                   The Cambodians                    1970
Love I Tender                Hugh Roy                          1970
Donkey Sank                  Delroy & The Tennors              1971
To the Fields                Herman                            1971
Rim Bim Bam + Version        The Ethiopians                    1971
Judgement Rock               The Tillermen                     1971
Poop-a-Poom                  Byron Lee & the Dragonaires       1971
Silhouette + That Did It     Winston Wright                    1971
Babylon a Fall               Maytones                          1971
Put it Good                  The Bleechers                     1971
Bend Down                    Ernie Smith                       1971
What Are You Doing Sunday    The Sensations                    1971
Reggae Fields + Aquarius 2   Augustus Pablo                    1971
Mixing                       The Cables w/ In Crowd Band       1971
Lion's Den + Version         Kingstonians w/ JJ All Stars      1971
Last Call + Hot Call         Sir Harry / Organ D               1972
Only Love Can Make You Smile Gaby & The Cables                 1972
Mighty Melodians Pt. 1 & 2   The Melodians                     1972
The Sky's the Limit          Dennis Alcapone                   1972
Rebel Train                  Djago                             1972
Soup + Version               JJ All Stars                      1972
Apples to Apples             Sir Harry                         1972
Live it Up                   U Roy Jr                          1972
Baby Don't Do It             Dennis Brown                      1972
What About the Half/Version  Dennis Brown                      1972
Wheel and Tun Me + Hey Mama  Whistling Willie                  1972
Boat to Progress             Richard & Glen                    1972
I Forgot to Be Your Lover    Denzil Dennis                     1972
Last Dance + Be the One      The Heptones                      1972
Reggae Limbo                 Keith Hudson All Stars            1972
Satan Side + Evil Spirit     Keith Hudson / Don D. Jr.         1972
Wedding March                Roy Bailey                        1972
Vision                       Al T. Joe                         1972
In My Bed + Headquarters     Chenley Duffus / Dillinger        1973
Rastaman Going Back Home     Flowers and Alvin                 1973
Barble Dove Skank            Little Youth                      1973
Africa Wants Us All/Version  Allan King                        1973
Wipe Them Out + Go Back Home Matumbi                           1973
Murmuring + Version          The Millions                      1973
Higher the Mountain          Hugh Roy & Errol Dunkley          1973
Shotgun Wedding + Dream Girl Cornell Campbell                  1973
Heading for the Mountain     Cornell Campbell                  1973
Black Birds Singing + Always Roslyn Sweat & The Paragons       1973
Love Is a Treasure           Lizzy                             1973
Beef Sticker + Ten Command's Fud and Del / Prince Heron        1973

Duke Reid:  According to Discogs —

Duke Reid, a subsidiary of Trojan Records, was a UK reggae label active from 1970 until 1972, issuing Duke Reid / Treasure Isle Productions exclusively. 

  • Duke Reid on Discogs
  • Duke Reid on 45Cat
  • Lesserknown gems on Duke Reid — a playlist:
What Does It Take to Win    Alton Ellis                        1970
Reggae Meringue             Tommy McCook                       1970
The Village                 Tommy McCook                       1970
Write Her a Letter          John Holt                          1970
Sugar Pantie + Ballafire    Tommy McCook & the Supersonics     1970
Dynamite                    Tommy McCook Quintet               1970
Hide and Seek               Winston Wright                     1970
Soldier Man                 Tommy McCook                       1970
This Is Me + Skavoovie      Dorothy Reid                       1970
Big Boy and Teacher         Hugh Roy                           1970
Ay Ay Ay                    Nora Dean                          1970
Say Me Say + I Want It      Justin Hines                       1970
You've Made Me Very Happy   Alton Ellis                        1970
The Ball                    Earl Lindo                         1970
Rock Away                   Tommy McCook Quintet               1970
Nehru                       Tommy McCook                       1970
Super Soul                  Tommy McCook                       1971
Wailing                     Tommy McCook                       1971
True True + On the Beach    Hugh Roy w/ The Supersonics        1971
Do It Right                 Hugh Roy                           1971
Rock to the Beat            Dennis Alcapone                    1972
Jimmy Brown                 Ken Parker                         1972
Hurt + Version              Duke Reid All Stars                1972
Guess I This Riddle/Version Eddie Ford                         1973
You're the One I Love       Dorothy Russell                    1973

Dynamic:  Says the book —

This Trojan subsidiary dealt with releases from Byron Lee‘s Dynamic Studio (formerly WIRL, or West Indies Records Limited) and spanned some 55 releases between 1970 and 1972.  Aside from Lee’s productions, Dynamic also put out material from a variety of other producers recording at Dynamic at the time, most notably Syd Bucknor, Lee Perry, Bunny Lee, and Tommy Cowan. 

Adds Zero to 180:

Other producers include Max Romeo, Barry Biggs, S. Francisco, J. Franscique, Eric Donaldson, Neville Willoughby, Neville Hinds, Comic Strip, Winston Wallace, Jimmy Sinclair, C. Wilks, and Geoffrey Chung, among others.

  • Dynamic on Discogs
  • Dynamic on 45Cat
  • Lesserknown gems on Dynamic — a playlist:
Out of Time                    Henry III w/ Hubcap & Wheels   1970
Come Dance                     The Viceroys                   1970
Commanding Wife                The Boris Gardiner Happening   1970
Hitching a Ride + Version      Al T. Joe                      1971
Saucy Hor(n)                   Roland Al(ph)onso              1971
Thinking of You + Each Teach   Blues Busters                  1971
My Sweet Lord                  Byron Lee & the Dragonaires    1971
Love Uprising + My Love For U  The Jamaicans                  1971
Hallelujah + Trying to Reach   Ken Boothe                     1971
Never Gonna Give You Up + Dub  The West Indians               1971
Way Back Home                  Byron Lee & the Dragonaires    1971
Forgive Me                     Jo Spencer                     1971
Mary + Version                 The Jamaicans                  1971
You Don't Know                 The Dingles                    1971
Rich Man Poor Man              The Cables                     1971
Sir Charmers Special           Eric Donaldson                 1971
Buggy and Horse                Roland Alphonso & Denzil Laing 1971
Ripe Cherry + Version          Dennis Alcapone                1971
Bam-Sa-Bo + Version            Winston Heywood & the Hombres  1971
Just Can't (Happen This Way)   Eric Donaldson                 1971
Carry That Weight              Dobby Dobson                   1971
Alcapone Guns Don't Bark       Dennis Alcapone                1971
Just a Dream + Send Me Loving  Slim Smith                     1972
Oh What a Price + Prisoners    Al T. Joe                      1972
I'm Indebted to You            Eric Donaldson                 1972
Pharaoh Hiding                 Junior Byles                   1972
Hail to Power                  The Upsetters                  1972
Geraldine                      Tommy (Cowan)                  1972
Man No Dead                    KC White                       1972
Go Johnny Go                   Dennis Alcapone                1972
Come Together + Version        Hopeton Lewis (& Upsetters)    1972
Everybody Needs Help + Version Derrick Morgan                 1972
Miserable Woman                Eric Donaldson                 1972
Kenyata + Version              Joe White                      1972
Stop the War + Version         Winston Heywood & the Hombres  1972
Are You Sure + Version         The Jamaicans                  1972
Throw Away Your Gun            Busty Brown & the Warners      1972
We Love Jamaica                Max Romeo                      1972
Blue Boot + Version            Eric Donaldson                 1972
Festival Wise + Part 2         U Roy                          1972
(Last Night) Didn't Get Sleep  Chris Leon                     1972
Peace in Jamaica + Version     Shenley Duffus & Soul Avengers 1972
Little Did You Know            Eric Donaldson                 1972
Talk About Love                Adina Edwards                  1972
Life the Highest + Recarnate   Tesfa McDonald                 1972
Sunshine Love                  The Jamaicans                  1972
Seek and You'll Find + Version Winston Heywood & the Hombres  1972

Dynamic 100 Series [1976-1979]
Play All Night                 The Dynamites                  1976
Dragon Dance + Obeah Wedding   Mighty Sparrow                 1976
Rasta Pickney + Version        The Eagles                     1976
Roots Food                     Ansel Scandal                  1976
Discipline                     Prophets                       1976
Keep on Riding + Am I Crying   Eric Donaldson                 1976
Bag-a-Wire + Version           Carl Dobson + Maurice Lindsey  1976
I Am Going to a Place          Hubert and Len                 1976
Hang the Front Door Key + V    Neville                        1976
Hold It Daddy                  Ridley Cohen                   1976
Way You Do the Things You Do   Eric Donaldson                 1976
Let's Live Together            Hubert Lobban                  1976
Six Million Dollar Man         Byron Lee & the Dragonaires    1976
Keep on Doing It               Blues Busters                  1976
Breaking Up                    Faith                          1976
Truth Has Come Again           Jacob Miller                   1977
More Love + The Price          Eric Donaldson                 1977
St. Jago De La Vega            The Slickers                   1977
Sweet Jamaica + Version        Eric Donaldson                 1977
Beggy Beggy Licky Licky + V    The Prophets                   1977
J.A.M.A.I.C.A. + Dub           The Cables                     1977
A Fifth of Beethoven           Byron Lee & the Dragonaires    1977
Kunta Kinte the Dread          Jah Ruby                       1977
Let It Happen Now              Junior Thompson                1977
I've Caught You                The Rifles                     1977
Time Has Come + Dub            The Slickers                   1977
Land of My Birth               Eric Donaldson                 1978
You Just Can't Hide + Pt. II   Morvin Brooks                  1978
Look What You've Done          Eric Donaldson                 1978
What's Your Sign Girl          Barry Biggs                    1979

Explosion:  According to Discogs —

British reggae label started in 1969 and released about 90 vinyl 7″ singles until it’s end in 1974.

Zero to 180 adds this note:

A multitude of producers spinning the dials on these 45 tracks:  ,Lloyd Charmers, Derrick Harriott, Alvin ‘GG’ Ranglin, Rupie Edwards, Keith Hudson, Laurel Aitken, Nat Cole, Harry Mudie, Neville Willoughby, La-Fud-Del, Herman Chin-Loy, Sir JJ, Vincent Chin, Lloyd Daley, Lloyd’s Radio & TV, Bunny Lee, Pat Rhoden, Federal, Bush, Sonny Roberts, Lee Perry, Harry J, Duke Reid, and Randy’s, et al.

  • Explosion on Discogs
  • Explosion on 45Cat
  • Lesserknown gems on Explosion — a playlist:
Zylon                          Lloyd Charmers                 1969
Dr. Who Pt. 1 & 2              Dr. Who                        1969
Barefoot Brigade + Slippery    Winston Wright & Crystalites   1969
Bag-a-Wire                     The Crystalites                1969
The Emperor                    The Crystalites                1969
Cecilia                        Blues Busters                  1970
Love at First Sight            Rupie Edwards                  1970
Vengeance                      The Hippy Boys                 1970
Another Festival + Happy Time  The Maytones                   1970
Ready Talk + Something About U Lloyd Charmers                 1970
Ring the Bell                  Trevor and Keith               1970
Whisper a Little Prayer       'Hugh Roy' (Audley Rollins)     1970
Rain a Fall (Kum Ba Yah)      'Hugh Roy' (Merlene Webber)     1970
All Kinds of Everything        Wayne Howard                   1970
Goody Goody + Lemi Li          Rudy Mills                     1970
Tighten Up Your Gird + Sky     Keith and Tex                  1970
She's Gone + Old Old Song      Tinga and Ernie                1970
The Bad (Ver. 1)               The Crystalites                1970
Flight 404                     Winston Wright                 1970
Funny Man                      The Maytones                   1970
Sentimental Reason             The Maytones                   1970
This Kind of Life              The Maytones                   1970
Funny Girl                     Winston Wright                 1970
Higher Than the Highest Mt.    Monty Morris                   1970
Musical Shot                   G.G. All Stars                 1970
Funky Monkey Pt. 1 & 2         Dice the Boss                  1970
Real Colley                    Dice and Cummie                1970
Gold on Your Dress            'G.G. All Stars' (The Slickers) 1970
In the Summertime              Billy Jack (Winston Groovy)    1970
Apollo Moon Rock               Nat Cole                       1970
African Melody + Serious       G.G. All Stars                 1970
Too Late                       Joel Marvin                    1970
Ten Steps to Soul              Jo Jo Bennett/Mudie All Stars  1970
Ganga Plane + Deep River       G.G. All Stars                 1970
Big Five                       The Charmers                   1970
Full Moon                      Rupie Edwards                  1970
Sweet Back + Music Talk        The Charmers                   1970
Blue Moon                      Guts McGeorge                  1970
Revelation Version + Marka    'Hugh Roy' (Dennis Alcapone)    1970
California Dreaming            Hugh Roberts                   1970
Starvation                     The Ethiopians                 1971
I Love Jamaica                 Neville Willoughby             1971
Life Is Rough                  Shout                          1971
Make It Great                  Carl Dawkins                   1971
Delivered                      Neville Hinds                  1971
Musical Shower                 Tony Bins                      1971
Ever Strong                    Tony & the Charmers            1971
Born to Lose                   Joy & Lloyd                    1971
Never Fall in Love + Jet 747   Glen Adams                     1971
Uganda                         Herman (Chin-Loy)              1971
I Feel Good + Version          Carl Dawkins                   1971
Raindrops                      Keith w/ Impact All-Stars      1971
Going in Circles               Lloyd Charmers                 1971
Reggae in Wonderland           Lloyd Charmers                 1971
Girl                           Ken Lazarus                    1971
Bounce Me Johnny + Version     The Slickers                   1972
Repatriation Version           Hugh Roy Jr.                   1972
Samba Gal                      England Cook                   1972
Don't Do Wrong                 Carl Dawkins                   1972
Long Long Road + Version       Milton Hamilton & the Classics 1972
Killer Passing Through         The Swans                      1972
Memories of Love               The Orbitones                  1972
Forward Up + Version           The Stingers                   1972
Brown Girl/Half Way Tree Rock  The Maytones/Shorty Perry      1972
Doctor Seaton                  The Aggrovators                1972
Sprinkle Water + Howdy & Tenky Shorty Perry/Flowers & Alvin   1972
Let Me Down Easy + Version     Derrick Harriott               1972
Chirpy, Chirpy, Cheep, Cheep   The Jay Boys                   1972
Stand Up and Fight             Slim Smith                     1973
Weather Report + Version       The Tennors                    1973
I'll Never Find Another You    Jimmy London                   1973
My Island                      Paulette Williams              1973
Sonia                          Paris Connection               1973
Nose for Trouble               Winston Groovy                 1973
Single Girl                    Barbara Thompson               1974
Every Rasta Is a Star          Johnny Clarke                  1974
The Man Who Sold the World     Wally Brothers                 1974

Gayfeet:  According to Discogs —

UK counterpart to Sonia Pottinger‘s Jamaican imprint Gay Feet [2 words]

  • Gayfeet on Discogs
  • Gayfeet on 45Cat
  • All 12 single releases in the UK on Gayfeet:
Fatty + Landlord               Bim & Bam                      1969
Don't Work Out + Ki-Salaboca   Joe White/Baba Brooks          1969
Get to Phoenix + Lover Boy     Lou Sparks/Roland Alphonso     1969
Little Donkey + Hope and Joy   Lou and Maxine/Lou Sparkes     1970
Jennifer + Slipping            Junior Soul                    1970
You're Not My Kind + Version   Naomi w/ The Gaytones          1970
We Will Make Love + Sticker    Lou Sparkes/Roland & Gaytones  1970
Medicine Doctor + Facts o Life Big Youth                      1973
Emergency Call + Version       Judy Mowatt   [prod. S Crooks] 1973
You Make Me Cry + Version      Winston Jones                  1973
Baby Just Cares + Me No Horn   Cornell Campbell [prod. B Lee] 1973
Hard Feeling + Regular Style   Hugh Roy     [prod. A Ranglin] 1973

 

Rolling Stones Soundalike LPs

In the inevitable Beatles vs. Stones (straw man) debate, I intensely resent having to pick sides, since the very idea of one without the other is laughable at best.  Nevertheless, this lifelong Beatles fan takes a certain fiendish thrill in devoting an entire blog post to those albums in which non-Stones groups play nothing but Rolling Stones tunes.

Kicking off this Stones-ploitation trend, appropriately enough, is their manager and svengali, Andrew Loog Oldham, who would arrange “polite” instrumental versions of early Stones songs for 1965’s The Rolling Stones Songbook under the name Andrew Oldham Orchestra. The Verve, you may recall, sampled the album’s final cut – “The Last Time” – for use in the dramatic opening strains of their huge 1997 hit “Bitter Sweet Symphony” but would not get to enjoy any of the royalties generated (sales, Nike ads, sporting event performances) due to the hardball tactics of the composition’s holder of copyright, ABKCO’s Allen Klein — as this exclusive excerpt from Fred Goodman’s new biography makes clear.

Rolling Stone imposter-Andrew Oldham OrchJoe Pass – as noted early in this blog’s existence – would release his seminal survey of mid-60s Stones, Stones Jazz, the following year in 1966.  But a couple of other notable ‘Stones-centric’ albums would hit the marketplace that same year:  (a) Baroque ‘n’ Stones by The New Renaissance Society and (b) A Tribute to The Rolling Stones by The Pupils.

BAROQUE ‘N’ STONES:  hanna-Barbera Records  +  THE PUPILS:  Tribute to the Rolling Stones

Rolling Stone imposter-a1Rolling Stone imposter-b1

How fascinating to discover that ‘The Pupils’ were, in actual fact, cult “mod” band The Eyes, whose 1966 (UK-only) EP sells for hundreds of pounds/dollars at auction (and would include their cheeky retort to The Who — “My Degeneration“).

“19th Nervous Breakdown”     The Pupils/The Eyes     1966

Four years hence,The Winstons would record their unabashed tribute to the Rolling Stones, notable primarily for its provocative “jail bait” cover, while two years later, The Collection would issue the only album of their career — a musical salute to the Stones, naturally — with a similarly risque front cover image.

     The Winstons     1970                                   The Collection     1972

Rolling Stone imposter-c1Rolling Stone imposter-d1

1972 would also bear witness to one more cash-in effort, Rolling Stones Vol. 2 (unclear whether Vol. 1 was ever issued), by the confusingly-possessive Monkey’s Pop Group, whose only known LP was issued on French label, Les Tréteaux.Rolling Stone imposter-dd11973 would bring five (count ’em) Rolling Stone tribute albums, including —

(1) a pair of delightfully kitschy covers from the “group” Rockery:Rolling Stone imposter-e1Rolling Stone imposter-ee1

(2) the one and only recording from The HotShockers released on German label, Auditon:Rolling Stone imposter-g1(3) the stylish and slyly misleading cover for Rockin’ Stones Party from France’s (not Jamaica’s) Fabulous Five:Rolling Stone imposter-f1(4) Million Copy Hits Made Famous by the Rolling Stones by The Flash (Starring Denny Jones):

magnification not included

Rolling Stone imposter-i1(5) a tribute album by a group of Dutch musicians who departed at recording’s end with such frenzied haste, history never had a chance to record their identity:Rolling Stone imposter-h1By the 1980s, unfortunately, it was clear that Stones-ploitation’s Golden Age had passed.  Flash would issue Keep on Rolling in 1981 – impressively on CBS imprint, Epic – while that same year would see the release of Rolling Hits’ one and only album, Rolling Hits Medley, incredibly on major labels (Mercury, Polydor, Philips) in at least 10 countries, including Peru.

Rolling Stone imposter-k1Rolling Stone imposter-j1

I was perhaps five when I encountered my first soundalike cash-in album in the form of a Beatle knockoff group, The Liverpools (as previously recounted), and then again not long after when I got suckered by one of those TV ads for 18 Golden Hits of 1971, as rendered by The Sound Effects (though it is possible I fell for the previous year’s 18 Golden Hits of 1970, which does not even bear the name of the artist-for-hire).

Golden Hits of 1971UDiscoverMusic, similarly, writes of a curious and confounding time “when cut-price soundalike recordings ruled the British charts” — 45 years ago, to be precise, when there was a brief change in the chart eligibility rules, and before you knew it, Top of the Pops 18 was dislodging The Moody Blues’ Every Good Boy Deserves Favour from the #1 spot!

Baroque & Stones-x

Van Morrison’s 1969 Pop Reggae

All these years I’ve naively assumed “I Shall Sing” to be a Judy Mowatt early reggae original (and 1974 Jamaican chart-topper, according to this Los Angeles Times piece from 1986).  And yet that same Times piece makes clear, Judy Mowatt was taking her musical inspiration from Miriam Makeba (not Art Garfunkel), as “I Shall Sing” turns out to have come from the pen of Van Morrison, who first recorded it November 11, 1969 for his Moondance album – but ultimately binned it!

Van Morrison sheet musicOn October 8, 2013, Mojo would make a rather big to-do over the premeire of this Caribbean-flavoured “never-before-released” track:

“I Shall Sing” (take 7)     Van Morrison     1969

Check out the fresh arrangement, especially the offbeat intro that kicks off the version sung by Judy Mowatt:

“I Shall Sing”     Judy Mowatt     197

Miriam Makeba’s Warner Brothers single was originally selected by Billboard for its Top 60 Pop Spotlight (i.e., predicted to reach the Top 60 of the Hot 100 Chart) in its July 4, 1970 edition:

“This happy Van Morrison swinger serves as potent material for the top stylist.  Her most commercial outing in some time this could prove an out and out smash.”

Van Morrison - Miriam Makeba 45-aMowatt’s version may have topped the Jamaican charts in 1974, but her recording had originally been released in 1971 using at least two music aliases — Julian (in Jamaica) and Jean and the Gaytones (in the UK) — as well as her own name.  Imagine this music blogger’s delight in discovering “Musical Fight” by The Crashers to be the flip side of the Jean and the Gaytones 45 released by Trojan!

Van Morrison - Judy Mowatt 45-a1971 would also be the year France Gall would give the song the Schlager treatment for the German market.

Toots and the Maytals, meanwhile, would arrange a stellar roots reggae version for 1976’s Reggae Got Soul album, while Marcia Griffiths would revive “I Shall Sing” in 1993 in a modern roots style.

Art Garfunkel would have the most success with “I Shall Sing” in the States (#38 Pop) in 1973 — Billboard would select Garfunkel’s 45 as one of the “Top Single Picks” for the week of December 15, 1973 and have these words of praise:

“A zesty tune from Art’s current album brings us a happy picture with a Caribbean flavor.  This is hand clapping, joyous music with Garfunkel’s dueting with himself and lots of infectious music behind his saga of always singing as a way of staying happy.”

Van Morrison - Art Garfunkel 45-a

Lee Hazlewood vs. Don Nix: ’73

I discovered another musical coincidence recently — two albums with similarly-constructed titles released the same year by two hip and influential songwriter-producer-arrangers:  Poet, Fool or Bum by Lee Hazlewood -vs.- Hobos, Heroes & Street Corner Clowns by Don Nix, both from 1973.

Lee Hazlewood LP-1Don Nix LP

On his one and only album for Capitol, Hazlewood surprisingly (or not) turns over production reins to Jimmy Bowen (vinyl copies would later fetch decent money).   Hazlewood would then find himself ejected from the cover of the UK edition of Poet, Fool or Bum – could it have been the prospect of having to market Hazlewood without his trademark mustache?  Hazlewood and Tim Buckley, it bears noting, would be the first among many artists to record “Martha” off the debut album by Tom Waits.

UK cover

Lee Hazlewood LP-2In 1973, Capitol would issue a pair of singles:  “Nancy and Me” b/w “Kari” in May, followed by a promo 45 in November of “Feathers” b/w “The Performer“:  an especially powerful B-side — “a stark and somewhat autobiographical picture of a singer who’s sick of the game”  as writes Michael Erlewine in All Music Guide to Country:

“The Performer”     Lee Hazlewood     1973

Stax, meanwhile, would issue two singles from Hoboes, Heroes and Street Corner Clowns — “Black Cat Moan” b/w “The Train Don’t Stop Here No More” (released in 1973 in the US, UK & Germany), followed by “She’s a Friend of Mine” b/w “When I Lay My Burden Down” in October.  I’m only sorry Stax didn’t put more promotional heft into the latter 45, which would have sounded great on the radio in 1973, especially when the strings kick in at the chorus:

“She’s a Friend of Mine”     Don Nix     1973

How fascinating to discover that “Black Cat Moan” would be the lead-off song for the famous John Peel broadcast of May 29, 1973 on which he played side one of Tubular Bells by a then unknown Mike Oldfield on tiny indie label, Virgin Records – a radio first (and “the show that launched the Branson empire!“)

 Pretend it’s the B-side “The Performer”        Written, performed & produced by Don Nix

Lee Hazlewood 45-aDon Nix 45-a

Charles Shaar Murray vs. Barton Lee Hazlewood

Financial Times grimly reported last July that the New Musical Express — the first magazine, in 1952, to publish the pop charts in the UK, and one which once boasted a circulation of 270,000 during its 1970s peak — has now been turned into a freebie publication by its owner, Time Inc. UK (worse:  content is no longer solely devoted to music).  NME, nevertheless, will always have its own distinctive place in Lee Hazlewood history, as noted here:

“In 1952 the NME greeted the arrival of rock and roll with the breezy exclamation: “Guitars are news!”  Two decades later its star writers behaved as though they were rock stars themselves, chief among them Nick Kent, who extended his worship of Keith Richards to contracting a severe heroin addiction.  Reviews toughened up, such as Charles Shaar Murray’s one-word dismissal of a 1974 album called Poet, Fool or Bum by the US singer Lee Hazelwood:  ‘Bum.'”

German 45

Don Nix 45-b

David Allan Coe’s Trucker Tune

David Allan Coe, intriguingly, merits four full paragraphs in Neil A. Hamilton’s history of The 1970s:

“Born in Ohio, Coe spent part of his youth in reform school and, in the 1960s, served time in the Ohio State Penitentiary.  Here was a man to whom the term outlaw meant more than a music rebel.  In 1967, Coe arrived in Nashville, and to gain attention from the country music establishment, he lived in a hearse that was parked in front of the Ryman Auditorium, the home of the Grand Old Opry.  Even though the country traditionalists ignored him, he soon signed a contract with an independent label, Plantation Records, and released an album in 1968.

Coe began to perform in a rhinestone suit and sometimes wore a Lone Ranger mask or covered his face in heavy makeup.  He called himself the Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy.  He hung out with motorcycle gangs and would sometimes begin his concerts by driving a Harley onto the stage with a wrench tucked under his belt before singing.  He dared anyone who thought him less than tough, told reporters that he had killed a man while in the penitentiary, and laced his commentary on stage and in print with expletives.   His long hair and tattooed body completed his outlaw persona.”

Photo courtesy of DavidAllanCoe.com

David Allan Coe - hearseDid Coe’s pal in the penitentiary – the musically macabre, Screaming Jay Hawkins – inspire the use of the hearse?

Produced by Pete Drake

David Allan Coe 45-bTwo 45s from 1973 — “Keep Them Big Wheels Hummin‘” b/w “Memphis in My Blood” and “How High’s the Watergate Martha” b/w “Tricky Dicky the Only Son of Kung Fu” — would be David Allan Coe’s final singles on Plantation before making the big jump to almighty Columbia.

“Keep Them Big Wheels Hummin'”     David Allan Coe     1973

Moon vs. Coe:  Cheek-to-Cheek

In 1977 Plantation would issue one final David Allan Coe album that would successfully out-moon Keith Moon’s solo album two years before:

               Moon’s 1975 LP                                Coe’s ‘Texas Moon’ LP from 1977

Moon LP-aMoon LP-b

Mad Mag’s Multi-Groove Flexi-disc

Remember the Las Vegas Roulette record with the “multi-groove” in which the tonearm stylus randomly selects (at least, in theory) one of 38 separate grooves – one for each slot on the roulette wheel – so as to allow partygoers the ability to play roulette from the comfort of home?   That’s right, you, too, can be the croupier.    *(Link to original piece)

Fabulous Las Vegas Roulette LP-jrIn 1980, Mad Magazine would pull off an even more ambitious vinyl feat:  a “multi-groove” flexi-disc!   45Cat’s 23skidoo rightly emphasizes:

“A random groove record.  A different ending (usually) is heard each time the record is played.  Very rare for a flexi-disc to have this feature.”

“It’s a Super Spectacular Day” [all 8 endings]    Frank Jacobs & Norm Blagman    1980

45Cat lists Mad Magazine flexi-discs from 19611981

I am grateful to have had a neighbor growing up who allowed me to borrow freely from his 1960s collection of Mad Magazines — the best educational supplement a kid could ask for.

Mad Mag-sing along-a+Mad Mag-sing along-b+

Check out the hyper-minimalist animation video that Casey Killingsworth created for the 1980 disco update of Mad’s 1961 belch-rock hit, “It’s a Gas!”

The “Rock Revolution” as seen through the lens of Mad Magazine:  1965-1968

Mad Mag-guitar-a+Mad Mag-beatles 68-a

In 2011, someone would fork over $100 for a vintage copy of Mad’s debut (and only) LP.

     Beatles                            vs.                         Stones, man

Mad Mag-ringo+Mad Mag-jagger+mag

Beatles vs. Stones:  1-0

On February 7, 2014 Mad Magazine would post the following announcement:

“Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival in America!  And in order to thoroughly commemorate, celebrate, salute and pay tribute to this historic event, we present the only time that all four Beatles appeared on our cover [September, 1968 cover above with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi] — which is still one more MAD cover than the Rolling Stones ever had!”

Mad Magazine’s Don Martin gets in on the act

Mad Mag-beatles 65+

Management requires that I insert a plug for Zero to 180‘s Facebook page – like it or else!

Best-Sellers vs. Worst-Sellers

As I was finalizing my recent Bill Doggett piece, I was trying to confirm the “four million” sales figure that is so often attributed (Wikipedia) to his 1956 smash hit, “Honky Tonk” – an extraordinary number for an instrumental, especially in the mid-50s.  Ultimately, I was  impelled to wield the search phrase “best-selling instrumental single” to confirm that number — and see what other truths I might unearth along the way.

Second item in the search results:  Wikipedia’s entry for “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band” that claims this #1 Billboard hit (for two weeks – on the pop chart for a total of nine) is the “biggest-selling instrumental single in the history of recorded music.”  Yes, yes, but how many copies sold?  “Only” two million!  Guinness World Records affirms this achievement.  Sadly, this means that either (1) Guinness is somehow unaware of “Honky Tonk” selling four million copies, or (2) “Honky Tonk” sold fewer copies than is previously thought.

Million-seller “Honky Tonk”:  Only question is how many?

Bill Doggett Honky Tonk LPWorth pointing out that even though “Honky Tonk” would ‘only’ peak at #2, the song would nevertheless spend over half the year (29 weeks vs. 9 for “Star Wars” theme) on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.  Take that, George Lucas.

Since Zero to 180 is more interested in profiling under-recognized artists and songs, I decided to shift my search efforts to see what might be of interest within the realm of “worst-selling” record-holders.  Lo and behold, I would quickly discover an amusing news item from this past August that unmasks a music industry model that just might be a bit creaky and unsustainable:  Worst-Selling #1 Album in Sales-Tracking History!

Disney Channel’s Descendents television series – as a result of Billboard altering their formula for identifying a #1 album to allow “on-demand streaming and digital track sales” – hit the top spot … with just 30,000 (!) “pure” album sales as reports Rolling Stone [the exact same link, by the way, as from Zero to 180’s recent Led Zep piece].

One of Decca’s worst sellers

Alan Freeman 4545 Clunker of Note:  Zero to 180 would like to thank 45Cat’s YankeeDisc for pointing out that Alan LeslieFluffFreeman, MBE and 40-year British disc jockey/radio personality, would enjoy the distinction of having recorded one of Decca’s Worst-Ever Sellers (“and is now, predictably, a rarity and collector’s item“):

“Madison Time”      Alan Freeman     1962

Did you know:   Bill Doggett’s biggest seller would enjoy a resurgence in the Billboard Hot 100 Chart in February and March of 1961 for reasons unknown to the government?  As it turns out, this was a more contemporary ‘re-boot’ by King that included vocals.

A Ha Moment:  By the way, I think I just now determined the source of the “4 million” figure, thanks to UK reissue label of note, Ace Records, in the liner notes to their compilation, Honky Tonk!  The King & Federal R&B Instrumentals:

“Still, ‘Honky Tonk’ did enough to earn a gold disc for a million sales (a total of 4 million was mentioned by [King’s Detroit branch manager] Jim Wilson, but who knows).”

Boom!  Bap!   15th Musical Fight!

‘Sticky’: “Guns Fever” Vocalist?

Thanks to Harry Hawks’ biographical portrait of master percussionist (& sometime vocalist) UzziahStickyThompson for Reggae Collector’s Artists Hall of Fame, we learn that (1) ‘Sticky’ gets a shout-out in the intro to Baba Brooks’ “Girls Town Ska” from 1965 [Q: “Hey Sticks, where you going tonight?”  A: “I’m going down by Girls Town”] and (2) Thompson firmly asserts that it is he – not Baba Brooks – who voiced the ’65 ska classic “Guns Fever”!

“Guns Fever”     Uzziah ‘Sticky’ Thompson (?) & Baba Brooks Band     1965

Hawks writes that “[Thompson] recalled, ‘I also did a song for Duke Reid named “Gun Fever”‘… which was credited to the Baba Brooks Band.”

Guns Fever 45“A classical, highly influential deejay who was great at his job before there was ever a job description,” continues Hawks, “he was rarely credited on his releases and the only way the listener knows it’s Cool Sticky is by recognising his exciting, highly individual delivery.”

Uziah Sticky Thompson-cKnockout!  14th piece tagged as a Musical Fight

The Duel: Organ vs. Sax

In the early part of this century, reissue label, Hip-O, put out a comprehensive series of James Brown single releases that were issued from 1956-1981.  Historians & researchers will no doubt be studying these liner notes in decades to come as they try to organize and make sense of the James Brown legacy, particularly given the volume of recordings issued over the course of his lifetime.

One thing I discovered by simply looking at the musician credits:  those bongo drums sound unusual on “Let Yourself Go,” because bongos – believe it or not – were not part of JB’s pioneering percussion sound, generally speaking.  According to the musician credits in this singles series that someone kindly posted on the Discogs website, I only see a handful of recordings (five by my count) between the years 1966-1973 that include the bongos.

Thanks to the missus, I am fortunate to own the 2-volume reference set, The King Labels:  A Discography as compiled by Michel Ruppli.  And yet I am discovering time and again that Ruppli’s discography is not authoritative as I had originally assumed.  Thank goodness, therefore, for the input of other music fanatics and actual participants who were there when history took place.  For example, if I simply relied on Ruppli, I might have continued to labor under the delusion that the Famous Flames backed James Brown on another great single from 1967 when, in fact, it was The Dapps.

James Brown & The Dapps (Les Asch holding horn)

JB & The DappsMy appreciation to Mitch Bowman, thus, for pointing me to James Brown’s “Funky Soul #1″ b/w “The Soul of JB” 45 originally released on King.  Ruppli tells me that the A-side was recorded on August 17, 1967 in Cincinnati but has very scant information about its mate.  Moreover, the B-side is attributed (wrongly) to “James Brown and the Famous Flames” and adds (incorrectly) “probably band without James Brown.”  That’s about it for the historical details – only the year is listed, no musician credits – although Ruppli does add, intriguingly, that another composition of “unknown title” was recorded but remains (to this day?) unissued.

Thanks to P-Funk Portal for affirming Bowman’s assertion that his brother-in-law, Les Asch, and his fellow Dapps were the musicians who backed James Brown on this double A-side instrumental excursion.  Gather around everybody for a musical fight, and hear for yourself as James Brown dukes it out with Les Asch on their respective instruments:

“The Soul of JB”     James Brown & The Dapps     1967

Organ Solo:  James Brown
Tenor Sax Solo:  Les Asch
Guitar:  Eddie Setser & Troy Seals
Bass:  Tim Drummond
Piano:  Tim Hedding
Drums:  William ‘Beau Dollar’ Bowman
Trumpet:  Ron Geisman
Alto Sax:  AlfredPee WeeEllis
Tenor Sax:  Les Asch
Baritone Sax:  David Parkinson
Organ:  James Brown
Producer & Arranger:  James Brown

If I were in the producer’s chair (I see you rolling your eyes), I would have followed James Brown organ solo in the left speaker with Les Asch’s tenor sax solo in the right speaker in order to underscore the dueling aspects of this musical match.  As it stands, both solos erupt from the west.  Note, too, the writing credits that include Gladys Knochelman – would love to know her role in the creative process, as her name appears ever so infrequently in the epic story of James Brown.*

There’s no denying the global impact of the fresh funk created by James Brown and his various support players over the years, much of which was recorded in Cincinnati — note the impact felt as far away as Japan, as this web tribute to JB attests.  Hey, check out some of the prices that Dapps singles command on Ebay.

Don’t believe the hype:  The Dapps are the backing band here

James Brown & Dapps 45-bJames Brown & Dapps 45-a

Biff!  Bam!  Pow!  This is the thirteenth bout tagged as a Musical Fight

*Historical Postscript

Tony Oulahan would subsequently contact Zero to 180 to shed light on this piece’s playful reference to Gladys Knochelman’s artistic contribution to “The Duel”:

“So my grandmother was Syd Nathan’s assistant for most of her time at King records. She also was a copywriter at one point as well. She died close to 20 years ago. She had close relationships with James, his band and many of the other artists at King. She had a couple of engraved jewelry pieces that James gave to her. I wish I could say otherwise, but she had nothing to do with the creative process on the album. And from what I know it wasn’t James directly that gave her the credit. She loaned someone in his group some money and they couldn’t pay her back. They gave her this credit in lieu of payment. It could have been his manager or someone else in the band. I’m almost positive that it wasn’t James himself, I can’t remember exactly who it was.”

“Stomp”: First Recording of a Clavinet?

Someone posted a short list of “clavinet-fueled songs” that, of course, included “Up on Cripple Creek” by The Band.  One commenter quibbled that the song should have been #1 on the list, “not only because it is better but because it was first” – but was it?

The Clavinet is “an electrically amplified clavichord that was manufactured by the Hohner company of Trossingen, West Germany from 1964 to the early 1980s.  Hohner produced seven models over the years, designated I, II, L, C, D6, E7 and Duo.  Its distinctive bright staccato sound has appeared particularly in funk, disco, rock, and reggae songs” (Wiki).

Hohner Clavinet D6

Hohner Clavinet D6

Two other clavinet commenters indignantly asked, “No Terry Adams?”  My point, exactly.  One NRBQ song previously featured on this blog that makes great use of the clavinet – “I Say Gooday Goodnite” – was recorded October 9, 1969 vs. “Up on Cripple Creek,” a Capitol 45 that was released October 17, 1969.  Okay, victor goes to The Band.

But wait:  NRBQ’s first single, “Stomp” had been released April, 25, 1969 – a whopping six months earlier – while even the second single, “C’mon Everybody” (released July 29th) came out almost three months before “Cripple Creek.”  Both songs feature Hohner’s new play toy and had, in fact, been recorded December, 1968.  Check out the driving “Stomp” – particularly the ending, with the clavinet’s percussive punch on the final chord:

Steve Ferguson, original guitarist, wrote both sides of NRBQ’s debut 45

But is that really the earliest use of a clavinet on a popular recording?  I’m a bit skeptical.  Here’s an illuminating quote from the October 5, 2012 edition of The New Statesmen – in a piece entitled “In Praise of the Clavinet:  It’s 40 Years Since Stevie Wonder Showed Off the Otherworldly Range of This Keyboard“:

“In 1964 the first clavinet was produced, based on the venerable clavichord, an instrument with a 400-year pedigree that used blades called “tangents” to strike the strings.  Clavichords were impractically quiet and a clavinet got round this by replacing the tangents with hammers that plunged down on to a string when a key was depressed.  That string was pressed into a metal strip, or “anvil”, which made the string vibrate.  The vibration reached magnetic pickups for a sound that could be fully amplified.

Not only did it produce a magical percussive twang across five octaves of 60 keys, but it was also dynamic, meaning notes could be sustained and pressed with lesser or greater force to vary volume and attack.  The high notes were bright, the middle range punchy yet mellow and low notes had a visceral growl.  Following a few false starts Hohner made the clavinet C in 1968, the keyboard Wonder used during his golden years.  After a left turn with the L – triangular with reverse-colour keys and now as rare as a mountain leopard – in 1971 they introduced the more durable D6, the keyboard hundreds of bands relied on for the next 10 years.”

Stevie Wonder rightly gets credit for his body of work on the clavinet, yet it’s frustrating that another world-class clavinet innovator – Terry Adams – gets nary a mention.  This needs to stop.

That small assemblage of “clavinet-fueled songs” sure could use a companion list of other towering moments in clavinet history — such a list would at least include “Free Ride” by the Edgar Winter Group;  “Me and the Boys” by NRBQ:  “Attractive Girl” by The Termites (rocksteady-era clavinet!); and “White Rum” by Sly & the Revolutionaries.  What other songs merit inclusion on this companion list?

By the way, according to Discogs.com, The Termites’ debut album, Do the Rock Steady, (which includes “Attractive Girl” – see above) was issued in 1967 on Studio One – is this the new record holder for earliest clavinet recording?

Possibly the first clavinet credit on a 45

Stax Clavinet 45Funny to note the existence of Clavinet.com, The Hohner Clavinet and Pianet Resource Homepage – “dedicated to the preservation of the funkiest instrument known to man.”

Clavinet Update:  Zero to 180 would address the clavinet controversy a year later with this item on Don Sebesky and then again 2 days later with this playful Marc Bolan piece [not to mention four more pieces the following year:  Danny Faragher and The Peppermint TrolleyJohn Sebastian and The Lovin’ SpoonfulMichael Brown and The Left Banke — and Paul Beaver].  Special thanks to Jim Kimsey, who offered “Six O’Clock” by (NRBQ fan) John Sebastian & The Lovin’ Spoonful – recorded in 1967 and tied with “Attractive Girl” by The Termites.