A Message From Rudy - The Trojan Records Sound

"One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain." - Bob Marley
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For this edition of the Ear Candy Update, we're taking a little trip to the West Indies, Jamaica to be specific. We had long considered the idea of dedicating a show to a record label's unique sound. We considered the Chess label out of Chicago, home to a trailblazing blues sound. We also considered Stax/Volt out of Memphis as a way to pay respects due to those gritty soulful tunes. Of course, there is the Motown label out of Detroit, a label that's become nearly synonymous with the city itself. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of Motown. That said, we settled on showcasing Trojan Records, a cornerstone, indeed a monument, to reggae and all its subgenres through the years. If you enjoy this trip half as much as we enjoyed making it, it will have been a triumph.

A glossary of terms:
Bluebeat - Early ska records are also known as Bluebeat in some quarters, particularly in the U.K. That's because many of those early singles were originally released on the Blue Beat record label, including such seminal platters as Prince Buster's "Madness." Over the years, ska became the preferred term, but bluebeat was still championed by many fans of the music.
Dancehall - Dancehall developed in the '80s as "ragamuffin," a hybrid style featuring a DJ or "sing-jay" half-singing, half-rapping with often bawdy ("slack") themes. The musical structure is rooted in reggae though the rhythms, played by drum machines, are considerably faster. By the '90s, dancehall crossover was common, with many gangsta-rappers incorporating dancehall rhythms and its rapid-fire toasting. Major dancehall figures include Yellowman and Shabba Ranks.
Dub - Dub derives its name from the practice of dubbing instrumental, rhythm-oriented versions of reggae songs onto the B-sides of 45 rpm singles, which evolved into a legitimate and accepted style of its own as those re-recordings became forums for engineers to experiment with the possibilities of their mixing consoles.
Rocksteady - Rocksteady was a style of popular music that developed out of ska in the 1960s. In its simplest terms, rocksteady is half-speed ska with the trombone replaced by piano and prominent bass. The lyrics are more socially and politically conscious, and there is a greater focus on harmonies.
Roots Reggae - A cross between American rock and ska/rock steady, Roots Reggae is typified by strong vocals and devoutly rasta lyrics; it is perhaps the most easily accessible form of reggae, and the most successful globally. Roots reggae emerged during the early 1970s, immediately following the development of rocksteady.
Ska - Ska marked the true beginning of Jamaican popular music, coming to prominence during the early and mid-'60s right around the time the island was granted its independence. Ska ensembles were generally a blend of electric instrumentation and horns most popular in jazz (saxophone, trumpet, trombone).

Track listing:
Train to Skaville - The Ethiopians
Guns of Navarone - The Skatalites
Israelites - Desmond Dekker & The Aces
Wonderful World, Beautiful People - Jimmy Cliff
Liguidator - Harry J Allstars
Love of the Common People - Nicky Thomas
Young, Gifted and Black - Bob & Marcia
Monkey Man - Toots & The Maytals
Double Barrel - Dave & Ansel Collins
Let Your Yeah Be Yeah - The Pioneers
Small Axe - Bob Marley & The Wailers
Ire Feelings (Skanga) - Rupie Edwards
Help Me Make It Through the Night - John Holt
Hurt So Good - Susan Cadogan
Sweet Sensation - The Melodians

If you have any suggestions, bitches, gripes, complaints or praise, email the Duke right here: Dukewilbury@yahoo.com

Click on the album cover to view the artist's website.


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