Trojan at 50
Talk about Reggae and Ska music, and it’s inevitable that shortly into you conversation you will undoubtedly mention Island Records and the iconic Trojan Record brands.
Well this year, Trojan Records have reached half a century, and to celebrate The 2-Tone Village have created a tribute to the label at their Ball Hill site. And former Specials man Neville Staple and his wife and band-mate Christine were on hand to do the honours. Neville himself has quite rightly appeared on the label, and you can bet most record collections boast at least one Trojan record.
It’s easy to be a bit frivolous when we talk about our record collections, the ones you play and the ones that got away, you know the ones: those sitting sadly in the wrong tatty sleeve with more scratches than a Grandmaster Flash album.
This label was very different and most owners of a Trojan record would treat it with as much care and attention as they gave their eighteen eyelet Doc Marten boots. Each beautifully labelled record heralded a reggae or Ska delight, this label was one skinheads and suedeheads alike could trust.
We can all remember buying our first Trojan compilation LP, especially ‘Tighten Up 2′ and that naughty cover.
We eagerly put it on our music centres and skanked to the delight of chart classics of The Pioneers’ ‘Long Shot Kick The Bucket’ and The Upsetters’ ‘Return To Django’.
From that moment onwards, those songs and so many more of them would be indelibly stamped in our DNA. Even now, the goose bumps appear when these songs are played.
I don’t mean to get on my high horse here but this brand had cultural importance. After all it gave us teenagers an insight into the Jamaican way of life.
We would dream of being Rude Boys in Shanty town, sunnier climbs and a rhythms on every street. Rhythms like Israelites – Desmond Dekker & The Aces, Double Barrel – Dave & Ansel Collins, Monkey Man – The Maytals, Red Red Wine – Tony Tribe, Skinhead Moonstomp – Symarip, Everything I Own – Ken Boothe, Moon River – Greyhound and Hurt so Good – Susan Cadogan.
Every one was a memory. Many a cover version-to-be, but all were classics. So here’s to another glorious 50 years.
On Saturday, the Coventry Music Museum presents something a little different – a Sounding Off Q&A session that will feature a non-local subject.
Joni Void is Jean Cousin, a young outsider artist originally from Lille, France, now based in Montreal Canada. Jean creates unique cinematic electronic music, inspired by the work of Delia Derbyshire.
Jean visited the museum last year, and the idea of this unique talent playing in Coventry was mutually agreed.
It made sense that he would play his set at The Tin Music & Arts at the Canal Basin, but in the day come to the museum to talk about his musical compositions, his world of samples and ‘found sound’ and also talk about his career to date.
Both events are proudly part of the Birmingham, Solihull and Sandwell Jazz Festival.
On the night at The Tin, Joni Void will take the gig-goers into a time-bending psychedelic dreamscape.
Catch the Sounding off at Music Museum at noon on Saturday July 28, and his live set later at The Tin at 8pm also on July 28, £5 in advance and £7 on the door.