Posts from 16th October 2004

Oct 04

Trojan Box Sets

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 462 views

I have 34 of these box sets now, so I thought I’d offer some guidance to anyone thinking they look tempting (especially at the £7 prices on offer at HMV and Fopp, for instance) but unsure where to dip their toe in. Pretty much all of the ones I have are really good, honestly (Nyahbinghi is the hardest work), but here’s a quick top ten:

10. X-Rated: all the outrageously sexual old stuff – titles like ‘Play With Your Pussy’ and ‘Cock Stiff And Hard’ are clear enough indications. The music maintains the usual high standard – it’s not just novelty appeal.
9. Instrumentals: I’m a lover of vocals really, but there were loads of tremendous reggae instrumental groups, and this is a strong selection.
8. Reggae Sisters: Sweet poppy and soulful reggae. Arguably no classics, but immensely appealing throughout.
7. Roots: my favourite kind of reggae, though it’s not Trojan’s great strength, so this is personal bias really.
6. Dub: clear enough – lots of really great vintage dub reggae, with Lee Perry, King Tubby, Niney et al. (There’s a whole Lee Perry set too, but you know if you like him, so I’ve left that out.)
5. DJ: if you like toasting, U/I Roy, Scotty, Big Youth and so on, this is fantastic.
4. Jamaican Hits: what it says, chronologicalish from 1960 to ’73, from Derrick Morgan’s great ‘Fat Man’ to Dennis Brown, taking in loads of peaks along the way.
3. Producer Series: 50 tracks divided between Niney, Lee Perry, Clancy Eccles, Alvin Ranglin, Harry J and Joe Gibbs. What more could you want?
2. Originals: full of classics, including the peerless ‘Many Rivers To Cross’, plus ’007′, ‘Liquidator’, ‘Guns Of Navarone’, the Wailers, U Roy and so on. Great. More tracks here that everyone knows than on any other set.
1. Ska: This old stuff is where Trojan is at its very best, playing to its real strengths when it was THE Jamaican label, and this is a fabulous set, jammed with wonderful, life-enhancing material. (There is a volume 2, but it’s less strong.)


Do You SeePost a comment • 478 views

Reading about Johnny Vaughan’s morning escapades made me think about the radio horrors I experience at night driving home from work, namely ‘Late Night Love’. Now most ‘local’ radio stations aren’t local (a rant saved for another time I feel), but owned by some company which spew out the same stuff in all parts of the country with subtle differences, a ‘Coventry’ overlaid on a ‘Plymouth’ spoken over a ‘Nottingham’. Because of this, Graham Torrington aka the ‘doctor of love’ (apparently, but does he have a PhD?) appears to exist everywhere in the entire country at the same time, trying to resolve people’s tangled love lives. And the problems, like the problems in every problem page, in every agony aunt’s column throughout the land, are the same, week in and week out.

The problems and dedications are inane enough, but the thing, the only thing that stops me always turning over to John Peel, is Graham’s attitude to it all. He hates these people, and hates giving the same advice out, advice which is usually as inane as the questions – ‘Janine, it’s clear your marriage is falling apart. I’m going to put Whitney Houston on for you, because I’m sure there’s someone out there who will always love you’. There is anger and frustration there, simmering under the barely disguised patronisation. I await the day when he finally snaps.