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:

“One quite out-of-the-ordinary singer arrived at Trojan’s door one day in 1970.  Rob [Bell]:

‘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.’

In fact, one single – ‘Denver‘ – was released on the pop-slanted B&C label, and was one of the great vocalist’s last records before alcoholism killed him prematurely in 1972.”

UK release — label says 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, Bunny Lee, Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith, Harry J, Eric Donaldson, and Linval Thompson.

  • 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
That's 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 Lights 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 (Pt. 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
The 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 So 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

 

“Festival Rock”: History Lesson

Jamaican DJ Dillinger toasts each of the winners to date of the Independence Festival Song Competition in “Festival Rock,” his entry for the 8th annual event in 1973:

“Festival Rock”      Dillinger     1973

1966:  The Maytals with “Bam Bam
1967:  The Jamaicans with “Ba Ba Boom
1968:  Desmond Dekker & The Aces with “Music Like Dirt
1969:  The Maytals with “Sweet and Dandy
1970:  Hopeton Lewis with “Boom Shaka Laka
1971:  Eric Donaldson with “Cherry Oh Baby
1972:  Toots & the Maytals with “Pomps and Pride

Musical misspelling:  “Dellinger”

LeeScratchPerry produced the original recording – Max Romeo‘s “Ginal Ship” – that would serve as the backing track (sans vocals) for “Festival Rock.”

And yet, oddly, most of the references to “Festival Rock” that I see online and in print declare Max Romeo to be the producer — how can this be?

In Jamaica, “Festival Rock” would be issued on a white/blank label release as the B-side of “Cocky Bully” — both considered “DJ” cuts of the “Ginal Ship” single originally released on Lee Perry’s Upsetter label in 1971.

Which song emerged victorious in the 1973 Independence Festival Song Competition, you ask?   Envelope, please:

Did you know?  There are other Zero to 180 stories tagged as Musical Roll Calls

⇐              ⇑              ⇒

Bonus Bass Bonanza!
Did Paul McCartney Hand the Hofner Torch … to Robbie Shakespeare?

According to Vivien Goldman‘s riveting historical examination of the recording of the Exodus album in London, where Bob Marley and his crew were, literally, on the run following the 1976 assassination attempt at Marley’s compound on 56 Hope Road in Kingston:

Fams [i.e., AstonFamily ManBarrett] finally got his own instrument when one of his main clients, a jovial producer called BunnyStrikerLee, brought a short-necked, violin-shaped Hofner bass back from the U.K.  He’d purchased it from one Lee Gopthal, boss of the reggae label Trojan, who’d bought it from the Beatles‘ manager, Brian Epstein. So the previous owner of the bass on which Fams played those catchy Upsetters instrumental hits that both mods and skinheads partied to in England, such as “The Return of Django,” was once Paul McCartney[!]

The Upsetters at Randy’s in Kingston circa 1969/70
Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett (bass); Carlton ‘Carly’ Barrett (drums); Alva ‘Reggie’ Lewis (guitar) Glen Adams (organ)

Even more astonishingly, Goldman drops this revelation later in the book when she recounts the historic (and electrically charged) One Love Peace Concert of 1978:

Lunging across the stage, Tosh’s bass player, Robbie Shakespeare, brandished his instrument like a lance—the very same little Hofner that Paul McCartney used to play.  Shakespeare’s mentor, Family Man, had passed it on to his protege.

But wait – Paul McCartney himself displayed his famous Hofner “Beatle bass” in the June 15, 1989 edition of Rolling Stone.  Perhaps Paul owned more than one Hofner?

Reggae’s “Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida”

The Rocksteady Kid — Zero to 180’s radio alter ago — once had the good fortune to experience the frantic exhilaration of spinning classic Jamaican pop of the three-minute variety on the University of Maryland’s student radio station.  I very quickly learned you can’t be complacent when the tunes are coming so fast and furious:  stop to think for very long, and you just might miss your cue for the next track.

Things got even nuttier when the late, great Charlie Coleman (on Eastern Shore’s WKHS) allowed me to program a couple all-truck-driving radio shows in which a goodly number of the tunes were of the two-minute variety.   We were playing with fire each time we tried to carry on a conversation, and sure enough, one time we ended up playing one Moby Grape song too many.

Charlie Coleman & The Dieselbilly Kid @ WKHS     December, 2004

hp photosmart 720I can only imagine, therefore, the considerable ease of being a disc jockey in the 1970s when “Album-Oriented Rock” was the dominant format and short, sharp songs were the exception to the rule.  Stories are legend of DJs putting the needle on such long-winded tracks as Grand Funk Railroad’s “I’m Your Captain” (ten minutes), Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile” (sixteen minutes), or that hoary cliche “Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida” (seventeen minutes) so they could then disappear from the control room for vast stretches of time to do whatever.

One of the Rocksteady Kid’s favorite memories – and proudest radio moments – was when he had to cut the radio show short unexpectedly in order to allow the station to broadcast that night’s University of Maryland basketball game.  Thus, with nearly twenty minutes to fill, the Kid made an executive decision to play one final track as a swansong.  And it’s a doozy:

Lee Perry     “Free Up the Prisoners”     1978

I’m a little surprised that, with LeeScratchPerry‘s world renown as an “audio alchemist” of the First Order, only one audio clip exists on YouTube (with a paltry 1,248 “views,” no less).

Dave Katz has this to say about this epic track in his biography, People Funny Boy:  The Genius of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry:

“Also noteworthy [from 1978] was ‘Free Up the Prisoners‘ – a vocal magnum opus from Perry himself cut on a peculiar ‘Disco Prisoner’ 12-inch single at 33 RPM.  Issued on his new Conquering Lion of Judah label with a beautiful picture sleeve, ‘Free Up the Prisoners’ was nearly 13 minutes of Perry listing the reasons why those in captivity should be freed over a relaxed and rolling re-cut of [Clancy Eccles‘] ‘Feel the Rhythm‘; two versions of the single were issued in quick succession, the second made notably different through its inclusion of a prominent piano riff.  As the song progressed, a crescendo of sound effects emerged, with sine waves and electric seesaw sounds gradually overpowering the mix; the sobering B-side, ‘Chase Them,’ spoke of non-Rasta elements such as income tax and birth control that needed to be chased away.”

Lee Perry Disco 45Jo-Ann Greene’s review of the song on AllMusic is also worth a peek.

Carl Dobson & the Liberals: Lefty Reggae

In the interest of fair and balanced coverage (given yesterday’s item about 60s soul group The Conservatives), today’s piece features an unshamedly left-leaning outfit — Jamaica’s Carl Dobson & the Liberals on their (1976?) single, “Whopin Mama”:

“Whopin Mama” + Dub     Carl Dobson & the Liberals     1976

Great production from legendary reggae team – Joe Gibbs and his trusty engineer, Errol T. (The Mighty Two) – with the dub B-side surgically attached in this special YouTube mix.

Carl Dobson would also release a couple of singles backed by the “Mighty Liberals” around this same time.

This “wicked” 45 sold at an online auction in 2010 for $26.

Carl Dobson 45Prior to this recording, Dobson would also put out a couple of discs with the esteemed Morwells (Maurice Wellington & Eric “Bingy Bunny” Lamont) in 1974 & 1975.

UPDATE = 9/19/17

Message from Maurice Lindsay, founding member of The Liberals:

“One of my songs is listed on this site, the 1976 hit reggae song – titled; Wooping Mama, by Carl Dobson & the Liberals, my name is Maurice Lindsay and I am the founder and a member of The Liberals.  I am also, the co-author and producer of this song which was distributed on the Joe Gibbs label.  I now live in Massachusetts, USA and Carl Dobson lives in Ontario, Canada.  We have lost touch with each other, if anyone knows how I can reach Carl Dobson please let me know.  My first recording with Carl Dobson was in 1975 and it was our first hit single called “Bag A Wire” by Morris Lindsey and Carl Dobson on the Dynamic Sound Label, where the miss-spelled my name as on the label as Morris Lindsey instead of Maurice Lindsay.”

“Rock Steady Rodeo”: Saddle Up, Mon

1996 saw the independent release of the debut album by a group of renegade Canadian musicians – The Reggae Cowboys – who, in a supreme leap of faith, dared to fuse Jamaican reggae rhythms with, well, cowboy music and imagery.

Van Halen’s “Hang ’em High” as kick-off track

Reggae Cowboys debut LPAs reported in this February 17, 1996 Billboard piece, “Reggae Cowboys Corral Audience“:

“Bird Bellony, leader of The Reggae Cowboys, figures that executives at multinational labels based in Canada might not be too impressed with his five-member group or reggae/country/blues-flavored debut album, Tell the Truth.

With an 1850s photograph of African-American roper and bronco-rider, Nat Love (a.k.a., ‘Deadeye Dick’) on the cover, the album features songs about black gunfighters and cowboys of the Old West.  The album was independently released Nov. 24, 1995 on the band’s Tumbleweed Records.

‘We chose not to look for a deal with a major Canadian record company, because black music, particularly reggae, is dead in Canada,’ says Bellamy, who goes by the name Stone Ranger in the group.

Reggae in Canada has not evolved much from the late ’60s and early ’70s, when such acts as Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley & the Wailers, Toots & the Maytals, Burning Spear and Third World were widely popular, while such Canadian-based acts as Jackie Mittoo, Joe Isaacs, Ishan People, Ernie Smith’s Roots Revival, Leroy Sibbles, Carlene Davis, Faybiene Miranda, and Messenjah struggled to find an audience.”

Two years later, country duo, The Bellamy Brothers, would title their album – coincidentally or not – Reggae Cowboys.  Musical thievery?  It is possible we will never know the answer.

The Reggae Cowboys would produce a video for the tuneful title track behind 1999’s Rock Steady Radio – an album of Bill Bellony originals (save for Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”):

“Rock Steady Rodeo” — The Reggae Cowboys — 1996

According to Discogs.com, this song – the album’s kick-off track – would be (wryly) retitled “Reggae Rodeo” on the track listing itself.  Is it possible this title change hampered the public’s ability to locate the band’s second studio effort?  Another musical mystery that may never be solved.

The Reggae Cowboys would round up one last collection of songs – 2003’s Stone Ranger – before riding off into the sunset.

Sonia Pottinger: Jamaica’s First Female Record Producer

Trailblazing, by definition, can be a lonely enterprise – but someone has to move civilization forward.  Therefore, hats off to Jamaica’s first woman music producer, Sonia Pottinger, who managed to navigate a path through a field that is still overwhelmingly dominated by men and left future generations a legacy of classic recordings.

“Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl” – one of the few photos of Sonia Pottinger

Sonia Eloise PottingerUpon her passing, Howard Campbell in the November 7, 2010 edition of The Gleaner would pronounce her “Jamaica’s most successful women producer” although, curiously, neglect to point out she was the first.  Campbell would also write:

“Born in St Thomas, Pottinger was introduced to the music business by her husband L.O. Pottinger, an engineer who had relative success as a producer in the mid-1960s.  She went on her own during that period, scoring a massive hit with ‘Every Night‘, a ballad by singer Joe White.  Pottinger had considerable success in the late 1960s with her Tip Top, High Note and Gay Feet labels. She produced Errol Dunkley’s debut album, Presenting Errol Dunkley, and hit songs by vocal groups like The Melodians (‘Swing and Dine’), The Gaylads (‘Hard to Confess’) and ‘Guns Fever’ by The Silvertones.”

I was also intrigued to learn that, as Campbell notes, Pottinger bought the catalogue and operations of the esteemed Treasure Isle label after the passing of its founder/owner, Duke Reid (but only after first doing battle in Jamaica’s Supreme Court with Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd, as well as Duke Reid’s son and Edward ‘Bunny’ Lee’; sadly, she would die the very next year after winning her case).   Incredibly, this same publication – just 16 months later – would publish a piece entitled, “Women Who Shaped Jamaican Music” … and fail to even mention her!  Is my indignation righteous enough?  Today’s piece, consequently, is my attempt to bring about some measure of pop music social justice.

Sonia Pottinger, who would go on to receive Jamaica’s Order of Distinction

Sonia PottingerAs pointed out in yesterday’s piece, Sonia Pottinger issued two singles by pioneering reggae vibraphonist, Lennie Hibbert.  Additionally, Pottinger would be among the first of the producers in Prince Buster’s wake to incorporate the traditional and deep Nyabinghi hand drum rhythms into rocksteady and reggae music, as evidenced on Patsy Todd’s uniquely Jamaican interpretation of Miriam Makeba‘s big hit, “Pata Pata” (with backing by Count Ossie’s mighty band) – both versions released in 1967:

“Pata Pata Rocksteady”     Patsy Todd with the Count Ossie Band     1967

Every Culture album that bears the Pottinger production mark is top-notch and a must-own.  Other crucial Pottinger productions worthy of your time include this short list:

“Ital Vibes”: Vibraphonic Reggae

Reggae is another realm of popular music where the vibraphone so rarely makes a foray.  As a result, Jamaican vibraphonist, Lennie Hibbert, pretty much has the field all to himself, as the intersection of reggae and the vibes essentially begins and ends with this one soul. Hibbert’s theme song – if one were to exist – would most definitely be “Village Soul,” easily his best known composition, but 1974’s tuneful instrumental “Ital Vibes” is another great starting point for vibraphone-infused reggae:

“Ital Vibes” – Lennie Hibbert – Produced by Harry Mudie

The bulk of Hibbert’s early work appears to be with Coxsone Dodd’s Studio One label, where he recorded as part of Coxsone’s house band, The Sound Dimension, and also released a few singles under his own name.

Hibbert did appear, however on at least two Nyabinghi-inflected singles recorded at the studio of pioneering female producer, Sonia Pottinger:  “The Retreat Song” (with Millicent ‘Patsy’ Todd) and “Pure Soul” (with Count Ossie & Lyn Taitt), both from 1968.

Hibbert would record two long-playing releases as a solo artist on Studio One – 1969’s Creation and 1971’s More Creation – before moving on to Harry Mudie’s label in the early to mid 1970s where he recorded a handful of 45s.

rear cover – 1969 Studio One LP, Creation

Lennie Hibbert

Hibbert’s biography on AllMusic points out that in 1976 the vibraphonist would be awarded the Order of Distinction for his contribution to Jamaican music, as well as his work as an educator at Kingston’s legendary Alpha Boys School, training ground for an extraordinary number of Jamaica’s top musicians and where a hall would be named in honor of Hibbert, who passed in 1984.

Lennie Hibbert photoLennie Hibbert enthusiasts may want to seek out his exceptionally rare debut album, Moon-Light Party at the Myrtle Bank Hotel, although be prepared to pay through the nose: one copy sold in 2006 for $760.  Be advised, however, this is actually a studio album and not a live recording as the title would seem to suggest.

“Bankrobber”: Punk Roots Reggae, 2004

Great live performance of Mikey Dread at Glastonbury in 2004 where, in his tribute to The Clash’s Joe Strummer, he slyly mixes up the tempo about halfway through, as he veers playfully from torporific one-drop skank to ska at the drop of a hat:

Here’s a link to video footage of The Clash playing live with Mikey Dread on the band’s ‘Sixteen Tons’ tour — “Bankrobber” performed as the first song of their encore, no doubt from the three-camera shoot of the band’s concert at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, New Jersey on March 8, 1980.

“Bankrobber” enjoyed release as an A-side (backed with “Rockers Galore”) after first being issued as a B-side (“Train in Vain” – London Calling‘s ‘hidden’ track that ended up being The Clash’s first top 40 hit) — although some markets, such as Germany, Netherlands, France & Australia, got to enjoy all three tracks on a “maxi” 45 released in those nations.

Clash Meets Mikey Dread

“Nosey Joe”: Where Version Meets Dub

[Note:  Third in a triptych of pieces about songs named Joe]

Technically, this near-instrumental is what’s known as “version” (as opposed to dub’s full-on, all-out adventurousness), though fortunately, this mix is enlivened by light dub treatments that follow the playful spoken word opening:

[Pssst: Click the triangle to play “Nosey Joe Version” by Bongo Herman & Faye Bennett.]

“Nosey Joe Version” is from the mixing console and recording studio of Niney the Observer, a.k.a., Winston Holness (née George Boswell), who replaced Lee “Scratch” Perry at Joe Gibbs’ studio in 1968 after Perry famously (and angrily) left to form his own musical enterprise.  Niney, a protege of Perry, would eventually end up collaborating with “Scratch” on 2001’s Station Underground Report.

Dennis Brown LP

Extra Credit:  Check out the original vocal version via Dennis Brown’s “Wolf & Leopards.”

“Awakening”: Modern Roots Reggae Inna 21st Century

It may be kind of hard to believe now, but at one time in the 1990s and the early part of the new century, the DC area was an important center of activity for roots reggae and other Caribbean sounds.  Georges Collinet, for instance, was broadcasting his internationally distributed radio show Afropop Worldwide out of DC, as Takoma Park played host to the West Indian Record Mart – where staff would spin vinyl records on a bona fide sound system, the way reggae music is meant to be heard but too rarely is here in the States – while Silver Spring served as home base to RAS Records (“Real Authentic Sound”), a respected roots label, founded by Gary “Dr. Dread” Himelfarb, that helped breathe new life into the careers of such storied Jamaican artists as Black Uhuru, Steel Pulse, Israel Vibration, Freddie McGregor, Yellowman, Inner Circle, Don Carlos, and Joseph Hill & Culture among many others.  And, as if by some divine bit of orchestration, these “conquering lions” of reggae could then record at Lion & Fox, a state-of-the-art recording facility just across the Potomac named, incredibly, for a real-life Lion (Hal) and Fox (Jim).

Charging into this robust music scene, playing strictly original songs and helping to bring roots reggae into the Modern Age, was (and is) JohnStone, who braved winter’s wrath in early 2005 to lay down tracks at Lion & Fox for their first full-length release, Eyes Open — which included the uplifting “Awakening”:

Awakening – JohnStone

[Pssst:  Click the triangle above to play “Awakening” by JohnStone.]

Eyes Open - JohnStoneEyes Open Dub - JohnStone

Reflecting DC’s diverse international community, JohnStone brought together players from Jamaica (Andre White), Guyana (Alfred Adams) and Ghana (Chet Nunoo-Quarcoo), as well as the United States (Brendan DeMelle and Joe Mannekin).  Guitarist/vocalist – and NCAA Division III soccer star – Andre White, formed JohnStone precursor, Zion Express, in 1995 with bassist DeMelle (whose brother, Jeff, has played bass with Clinton Fearon & the Boogie Brown Band) and Peyton Tochterman, before moving to DC in 2000 and forming JohnStone with drummer/vocalist, Alfred Adams.  By the time the band went into Lion & Fox to record their first album, Mannekin (keyboards) and Nunoo-Quarcoo (percussion) were also on board – with Ben Crandall joining in on sax.  Eyes Open would also receive a royal remix in the form of a dub version by engineer extraordinaire, Jim Fox.

JohnStone at Voice of America in 2003

JohnStone

[Bottom row]  Adams, Nunoo-Quarcoo & White — [Top row]  Mannekin & DeMelle

 

JohnStone has won several DC Annual Reggae Music Awards, including Song of the Year for 2001 (“Live On”) and 2005 (“Shashamane Land”), as well as Recording of the Year (“Eyes Open Dub”) in 2005 and Best Reggae Band in 2012.  Besides being headliners in their own right, JohnStone have also opened for such legendary reggae artists as Burning Spear, Toots & the Maytals, The Meditations, The Itals, Third World, Sister Carol, and Yellowman.  2007 would see the release of Innocent Children – whose title track was originally conceptualized and written by Adams, horrified by reports of the use of child soldiers in Haiti’s coup d’etat in 2004 – while 2010 would find the band issuing their second all-dub disc, Dub Confidence.

JohnStone’s personnel, anchored by White and Adams, has evolved over the years – Warren Pedersen II now anchors the bottom on bass while Reggie Moore spices up the treble on lead guitar – but their songs and sound are as vital as ever.   Click here to see where you can enjoy upcoming live performances or here to purchase their recordings.

johnstone at rockville town Center – 2010

DSC_0055

Secret Hidden Bonus Track

Andre (who sings lead on “Awakening”) and Alfred share lead vocal duties in JohnStone — here’s another track from Eyes Open – “Never Ever” – that features Alfred’s voice:

Never Ever – JohnStone

[Pssst:  Click the triangle above to play “Never Ever” by JohnStone.]