The Trojan brand/catalogue has moved around a fair bit over the years and each time it moves it takes some time before it becomes clear what direction the new owners will be going with the music. The latest overseers are BMG and it looks like they will be going for artist anthologies and classic LP’s with bonus tracks. Nothing particularly surprising or groundbreaking about this strategy but the low prices and the fact that even some of the common stuff hasn’t been consistently available to buy for some time means it’s welcome all the same.
Ken Boothe – Everything I Own: the Lloyd Charmers Sessions 1971-1976.
This draws together five separate Ken Boothe LP’s and presents them in their entirety; Booth Unlimited, Lets Get It On, Black Gold And Green (actually a compilation so only the tracks that weren’t on other LP’s are featured), Blood Brothers and Everything I Own, plus eight bonus tracks. The accompanying CD booklet is very good with Harry Wise(!) giving a nice overview of Boothe’s career with lots of illustrations of labels, LP sleeves and assorted memorabilia.
John Holt – 4,000 Volts Of Holt: The Classic Albums Collection.
Four mid 70’s Holt LP’s that sold by the bucket load on Trojan first time round: The Further You Look, 1,000 Volts Of Holt, Dusty Roads and 2,000 Volts Of Holt. There are some lovely tunes here but I’d defy anyone to listen to both CD’s, 48 tracks in total, in one sitting. Sleeve notes are by Tony Rounce who traces Holt’s career at the time of these albums, included again are lots of LP sleeve and press cutting illustrations.
The original Monkey Business compilation was released in 1980 and aimed squarely at the skinhead market. This double CD collection takes the original LP’s 20 tracks and adds 36 bonuses. There are no particular surprises here with the likes of Dave & Ansel Collins, the Upsetters, The Kingstonians and The Maytals providing an undeniably classic sound track. The booklet notes by Toast trace the emergence of the skinhead youth cult and it’s revival at the time the original LP came out. Complete with multiple illustrations of LP sleeves, 7″ labels, period photo’s and adverts, even if you’ve read it all before it sure looks good.
Various – The Best Of Lloyd Charmers
Collecting the Charmers In Session and Best Of Lloyd Charmers LP’s. Both of these were originally issued in 1973 and featured tracks from that year alongside releases dating back to the start of that decade (which must have sounded pretty dated). Alongside the two LP’s we get the by now obligatory 18 bonus tracks. There is a real mix here with some fine sounds from a four year period that demonstrates, if nothing else, just how exciting and dynamic the music was in this short period. The enigmatic Harry Wise does the honours on the sleeve notes and again provides an excellent overview of his subject, an excellent selection of illustrations are again present and correct.