If you asked any random guy on the street what the word Trojan meant to them, it’s a sad fact that, more likely than not, the first thing that would alight in his enfeebled mind would be an image of him amateurishly jamming something onto his unspeakable parts prior to engaging in, as Johnny Rotten put it, “2 minutes and fifty-two seconds of squelching noises.”
However, there are those select few -- amongst whose numbers I am sure I can count you, dear reader -- to which the word has an infinitely more dignified and noble musical correlation, which of course would be what would leap into our pristine and beautiful minds: Trojan Records! Only, like, just about the most ace record label that ever existed and probably ever will!
Set up by Chris Blackwell in the late ‘60s, the label existed to spread the formerly hidden sounds of Jamaica out to the enlightened masses (and to plenty of skinheads as well). Lee Perry, Desmond Dekker, Bob Marley, U-Roy, and Prince Far I are just a few of the geniuses of the form that have appeared at one time or another on the label. And without these dudes, there’d probably be no hip-hop , no drum and bass, no dubstep, no grime, and consequently, no fun to be had at all, anywhere, ever.
Taking that into account, it’s only fair that we at least pay cursory attention to the fact that this year is Trojan’s 40th birthday. And they want us to celebrate with them, not through the traditional method of getting wasted, shouting at people and pissing in the corner of their basement, but through the entirely more urbane medium of buying compilation CDs they’ve recently put out or are releasing in the near future.
Radiohead nerdlings will already be aware of Jonny Greenwood Is the Controller (TMT Review), which was released a few months back. They’re looking to further arouse the student stoner market with the upcoming release of Furry Selection, Luxury Cuts Of Trojan Chosen By A Super Furry Animal, the Animal in question being bassist Guto Pryce. The Orb are also doing a double mix CD later in the summer, which’ll include new Mad Professor material.
You’ll even be able to pick up a special compilation from a certain monoculture-craving coffee chain in August. There are no release dates available for any of these albums, but maybe for the coffee compilation you’d like to ask your barista precisely when the record is out. I’m sure they’d be happy to help.
More interestingly, the undisputed maniac Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry himself is pulling together a compilation culled from the like sixty-thousand billion tracks he’s been involved with. Personally, I hope he includes "Check Him Out" by The Bleechers, an early Upsetter B-side which (as well as being a rad tune) was also a blatant advertisement for Scratch’s recently opened record shop in Kingston -- going as far as including detailed directions -- “If you want to know the spot/ Just take a walk down Orange Street/ Turn Charles Street/ Then look for the Upsetter shop/ Where music’s sweet”. Such shameless selp promotion, but at least we can be grateful the directions weren’t to his local Starbucks.