'YOUNG GIFTED AND BLACK - THE HISTORY OF TROJAN RECORDS'
Michael de Koningh
Michael de Koningh
Between its formation in 1968 and the demise of reggae in the public consciousness by 1975, (prior to Marley's assault on the white rock bastions), Trojan led the way.
It had competitors, but no one moved units and created a brand in the marketplace like Trojan Records.
Trojan had the know-how, or maybe just the luck, to be in the right place at the right time, and with the right staff and musicians behind it, to capture the moment.
It rose on the ripple of the skinhead youth culture of the late 1960's and maintained a presence after their collective demise with a final swan song of major chart hits from Ken Boothe and John Holt. in 1974.
It championed a minority music initially imported for the West Indian population swelling London, Birmingham, Bristol and many other major cities across the land, and carried it far from home and in to the bedrooms of many a teenage record buyer.
But almost more importantly, Trojan Records created a fertile ground for UK based Jamaicans to create their own brand of reggae music.
That's not to decry the input of Jamaica, from one of whose top producers the company took its very name, Duke Reid 'The Trojan'
Lee Perry, Scratch The Upsetter, established his own label within the Trojan confines and poured out his patent brand of idiosyncratic reggae to an appreciative public.
Trojan Records picked up Bob Marley and the Wailers way before anyone outside of the reggae community had ever heard of them, and released some of their finest compositions. Work so fine that Bob was to revisit it many times through out his tragically short career.
Trojan Records championed the new sound of the DeeJay rapper phenomenon from the formative work of U Roy over sublime Duke Reid Rocksteady, to the harsh warnings of the prophetic Big Youth and I Roy as the Rasta 70's moved in.
The last twenty years have seen the rise of what's commonly called 'revive music', otherwise known as a retrospective scene playing the reggae of yesteryear.
Without doubt Trojan Records, thanks to employing some of the most knowledgeable connoisseurs of the music, have gained an enormous market share in this growth area, and under the guidance of their new owners are plumbing the real dark depths of their massive back catalogue.
So this book is the history of Trojan Records, not a history of Jamaican music, although of course, the two are tightly intertwined.
It is the story of a name which passed through different hands.
Trojan Records created a legacy of music which grew at a rapid rate through out the latter part of the sixties and early in to the new decade. A history quite often laughed at as it appeared on the street, but now revered and desired by thousands of collectors and appreciators the world over.
They created one of the richest and most varied collections of the Jamaican musical art-form, utilising both the guys across the Atlantic and those trying to make their mark this side of the sea
This book is a testament to all those artists and their endeavours, but is also dedicated to the veritable host of backroom creators from producers to chart compilers.
They were all part of one great whole, a creating process that came under the banner called Trojan Records.
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