Posts Tagged ‘Trojan Records’

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Machine Gun Reggae

March 1, 2014

One of the more fascinating cultural exchanges of 20th century’s popular culture was the huge impact Italian-made spaghetti westerns of the 1960′s – aimed for the European and US markets – had on Jamaican music. It took them a while to reach the Jamaican shores – on average it seemed like a three year delay – but once there there is no overstating the influence this new wave of cinema had on the musicians and producers.

Pretty much every title and character you can think of seemed to have at least one song written in their honor (to be quickly recorded and shipped off to the UK where the kids bought the 7″ records by the tons), with Lee van Cleef ranking highest, and Franco Nero‘s coffin-dragging Django coming in at close second – actually generating a Top Five hit for The Upsetters!

I assembled a couple of personal faves off of YouTube for you to peruse – some having pretty damn cool fan videos. Check out Trojan Records‘ 2004 compilation album The Big Gundown for more goodies.

Sir Lord Comic Django Shoot First

The Upsetters Return of Django

King Stitt Lee van Cleef

Lee Perry Clint Eastwood

Ramon & The Crystalites Undertaker’s Burial

Roy Richards Death Rides a Horse

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Lloyd Charmers Dead at 74

December 28, 2012

Oh man, this is some sad sad news that was just made official on Trojan Records‘ page on Facebook: Legendary Jamaican musician and producer Lloyd Charmers passed away in London yesterday from a heart attack. He was 74 years old. Friend Winston ‘Merritone’ Blake paid tribute to him earlier today in The Jamaican Observer saying “He is the last of the dynamic producers who brought diversity and quality to our music.”

Growing up on the rough streets of Trench Town in Kingston, Jamaica Lloyd began his musical career in the 1960s and moved on to producing music under the Splash insignia in the 1970s. His musical output is massive to say the least and his unique style of producing could be heard on records by artists such as Ken Boothe, The Gaylads and Byron Lee and the Dragonaires – as well as on his own reggae classics such as Dollars and Bonds and the x-rated (!!!) Birth Control, that was later on “borrowed” by UK outfit The Specials for their Too Much Too Young. Read more here and more tunes below.

R.I.P. Lloyd.

UPDATE: Trojan Records just posted more information and a nice bio on their website. Check it out here.

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(More) Sounds of X-Mas!

December 20, 2012

Well sorry ’bout the break (been busy mixing an EP), but here’s a little more Yuletide croonings for your pleasure: The great Happy Christmas (The Christmas Song) by killer Jamaican reggae outfit Toots and The Maytals. Now, from my understanding reggae and ska was never that big in the US, but in the UK during the late 60s it was huge. Local label Trojan Records issued slews upon slews of 7″ singles and managed to release some chart topping hits, including Tony Tribe‘s Red Red Wine (you might remember UB40‘s hit version), The UpsettersReturn of Django and The Pioneers‘ classic Long Shot Kick de Bucket (good luck trying to decipher the lyrics on that one!). Even though they issued some of Bob Marley‘s earliest work the label itself failed launching themselves in the USA – with a company name like that go figure.

Anyway, lead vocalist FredToots’ Hibbert (he later on went solo) had a great voice that parallelled those of classic American R&B/Soul performers like Otis Redding or Wilson Pickett. Always delivering with soul and passion, a lot of the group’s tracks became classics like the prison-themed 54-46 (Was My Number) (most sampled bassline so far) and Pressure Drop famously covered by The Clash. Oddly enough his Funky Kingston later on appeared as the opening theme for reality tv-show Miami Ink. Mixing reggae with early 70s US funk it kicks mucho butt. Check it out:

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