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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Little Masterpieces and Unknown Gems, 19 Aug 2007
By 
Lozarithm (Wilts, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Reggae collectors have complained at the dominance of the Trojan label in the mainstream record stores, but when the music in the grooves is of this calibre, it seems churlish to criticise, especially when offered at such a reasonable price. These sixties tracks first appeared on labels such as Island, Blue Beat, Rio, Doctor Bird, Treasure Isle and Black Swan, and are gathered here because of their popularity in this country, both at the time and in subsequent revivals. Introduced by West Indians who had settled in areas like Brixton and Notting Hill, Ska and Rock Steady were quickly adopted by the Mods and played in their clubs as the music evolved into Reggae.

Jamaica had an abundance of excellent jazz and dance hall musicians from the forties and fifties who were recruited into the new musical forms, explaining why the playing on bands such as the Skatalites, who feature in various guises on many of the tracks, was of such a high overall standard.

Furthermore there was no shortage of street corner vocal groups and aspiring singers at the studio door. Many classics are here, such as John Holt's Ali Baba, Baba Brooks' Guns Fever, Lee Perry's The Upsetter and the Crystalites' Stranger In Town. Most of it is original material but Rosco Gordon's No More Doggin' turns up (uncredited) as Owen Gray's Running Around; Lee Perry produces the Gaylettes on Brenda Lee's Here Comes That Feeling; Roland Alphonso covers Mongo Santamaria's El Pussy Cat in ska style; the unknown (to me) Syko and the Caribs revive Rufus Thomas' The Dog as Do The Dog (also uncredited, but possibly the source of the Specials' version using the same changed title a few years later) and Laurel Aitken and the Soulmen provide a version of the Mar-Keys' Last Night that arguably surpasses the original.

Some are obscurities which were well worth rescuing from oblivion. The Zodiacs' Renegade (aka Little Renegade), written and produced by Duke Reid, only appeared here as the B-side of Baba Brooks' Duck Soup, and was their only ever appearance on vinyl, but is a minor classic. The proliferation of this music over such a short period in Jamaican history is quite astounding and as little masterpiece follows unknown gem one wonders how this tiny poverty-stricken island could have got it so right so consistently so uniquely
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Little masterpieces and unknown gems, 25 April 2008
By 
Lozarithm (Wilts, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Trojan Mod Reggae Box Set (Audio CD)
Reggae collectors have complained at the dominance of the Trojan label in the mainstream record stores, but when the music in the grooves is of this calibre, it seems churlish to criticise, especially when offered at such a reasonable price.

These sixties tracks first appeared on labels such as Island, Blue Beat, Rio, Doctor Bird, Treasure Isle and Black Swan, and are gathered here because of their popularity in this country, both at the time and in subsequent revivals. Introduced by West Indians who had settled in areas like Brixton and Notting Hill, Ska and Rock Steady were quickly adopted by the Mods and played in their clubs as the music evolved into Reggae. Jamaica had an abundance of excellent jazz and dance hall musicians from the forties and fifties who were recruited into the new musical forms, explaining why the playing on bands such as the Skatalites, who feature in various guises on many of the tracks, was of such a high overall standard. Furthermore there was no shortage of street corner vocal groups and aspiring singers at the studio door.

Many classics are here, such as John Holt's Ali Baba, Baba Brooks' Guns Fever, Lee Perry's The Upsetter and the Crystalites' Stranger In Town. Most of it is original material but Rosco Gordon's No More Doggin' turns up (uncredited) as Owen Gray's Running Around; Lee Perry produces the Gaylettes on Brenda Lee's Here Comes That Feeling; Roland Alphonso covers Mongo Santamaria's El Pussy Cat in ska style; the unknown (to me) Syko and the Caribs revive Rufus Thomas' The Dog as Do The Dog (also uncredited, but possibly the source of the Specials' version using the same changed title a few years later) and Laurel Aitken and the Soulmen provide a version of the Mar-Keys' Last Night that arguably surpasses the original.

Some are obscurities which were well worth rescuing from oblivion. The Zodiacs' Renegade (aka Little Renegade), written and produced by Duke Reid, only appeared here as the B-side of Baba Brooks' Duck Soup, and was their only ever appearance on vinyl, but is a minor classic. The proliferation of this music over such a short period in Jamaican history is quite astounding and as little masterpiece follows unknown gem one wonders how this tiny poverty-stricken island could have got it so right so consistently so uniquely
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Many smooth tunes on tap, 11 May 2004
A very nice selection which brings you right back to the heyday of Wardour Street's Flamingo. The first track, Ali Baba by John Holt, sets the standard high and this collection just keeps it up all the time.
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Trojan Mod Reggae Box Set
Trojan Mod Reggae Box Set by Various Artists (Audio CD - 2002)
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