The latest in the DJ Andy Smith Document compilation series is a departure from previous releases as he plunders the vaults of Trojan Records.
Now there’s some folks that aren’t too keen on his compilations saying that they don’t do him credit as the might fine DJ that he is. On the other side of the coin, in recent years, Trojan are probably best known for their series of 3 CD sets that tend to be a little bloated. So the Smith/Trojan link up is a match made in reggae heaven as he brings us his ‘best of’ mixtape to a single CD packed with quality tunes covering 40 years of reggae music.
Even though he’s not included some well-worn classics, Andy Smith‘s crate digging is as finely tuned as ever over the 31 ‘samples’. The first half of the CD concentrates on early Ska/Rock Steady. If there are any youngsters who still haven’t discovered the roots of The Specials/Madness etc, this is a great introduction for all budding rude boys.
This takes me back to two-tone suits and pork pie hats. Whilst that was a long time ago, this CD proves there’s always something new to find. The ‘Unknown Instrumental’ by one of the founders of reggae sound systems, Duke Ried that shows how much he was influenced by US jazz/R&B in the early days at the time of his notorious battles with Sir Coxsone Dodd.
In this section, we get One Deck Pete’s favourite, King Stitt and the brilliant (but troubled) founding member of The Skatalites, Don Drummond.
He’s picked a couple of the best of rock steady in Phylis Dillon and Hopeton Lewis but the CD really warms up after the classic ‘Ali Baba’ and ‘I Trim The Barber’. Having the dubs of U-Roy, Johnny Clark and the ‘Cool Ruler’ is inspired. Particularly ‘Blood Dunza’ (in a Misty In Roots type way) and bits of the previously out, limited edition 7″ double AA, ‘Cuss Cuss / Soul Scorcher’ which was one of my favourites a couple of years ago.
I’m a sucker for a reggae compilations and when it’s got a good a sleeve like this one, I can’t resist. Even the ‘DJ’ style announcements work well, except for the interruption to the ultimate song of hope, ‘Better Must Come’? But that’d be my only little gripe.
I didn’t think the Document formula worked on his Northern Soul version but this is much better. Respect selecta Andy Smith; rewind.
This release follows Radio 2′s new series ‘Tighten Up – The Story of Trojan Records’ (Saturday, 9.00pm, 24th June). James Hales two-part look at the label with Don Letts. The programme was recorded after the sad death of Desmond Dekker who was one of the giants of Rock Steady/Reggae Pop best known for his hits ’007 Shanty Town’, ‘You Can Get It If You Really Want It’ and ‘The Israelites’.
Radio 2: TIGHTEN UP: THE STORY OF TROJAN RECORDS (1/2) Saturdays, from 24th June. 21:00-22:00
This two part documentary looks at the history of Trojan Records – also known as reggae’s Motown. www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/documentaries
By co-incidence, litterally fell onto Too Hot www.myspace.com/toohotska on Saturday (24th June) and what a great time we had. Try a medley selection of their album HERE.
Reviewed: DJ Andy Smith – Presents Trojan Document (Trojan) Cat. No. TJZCD317 Release Date: 26th June, 2006.
1. Laurel Aitken – Hey Bartender
2. Derrick Morgan – Blazing Fire
3. Duke Reids All Stars – Unknown Instrumental
4. Justin Hinds – Carry Go Bring Come
5. Don Drummand – Don D Lion
6. King Stitt – Fire Corner
7. Desmond Dekker – Get Up Edina
8. Untouchables – Tighten Up
9. Upsetters – A Live Injection
10. Jamaicians – Ba Ba Boom
11. Phyllis Dillon – Don’t Stay Away
12. Hopeton Lewis – Take It Easy
13. Alton Ellis – Rock Steady
14. Delroy Wilson – Better Must Come
15. Gregory Isaacs – John Public
16. Gregory Isaacs – Public Eyes (dub)
17. John Holt – Ali Baba
18. King Tubby – I Trim The Barber
19. Stranger Cole – Bangarang
20. U-Roy – Tom Drunk
21. U-Roy – True True
22. Johnny Clarke – Blood Dunza
23. Johnny Clarke – Blood Dunza (dub)
24. King Tubby – Channel One Feel It
25. Techniques All Stars – Stalag 17
26. Linval Thompson – Nigrea African Dub
27. Lloyd Robinson – Cuss Cuss
28. Karl Bryan & Harry J All Stars – Soul Scorcher
29. Sugar Minnott – Inna Dance Hall Style
30. Johnny Osborne – Rewind
31. Ranking Joe – Dreadlocks Time