Trojan Records
Trojan Ska Box Set



by Freakofsaturn USER (2 Reviews)
March 25th, 2006 | 4 replies

Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Hello Everyone. This is not only my first review ever, but the first thing i've ever done on this website. so forgive me if this sucks a bit

Anyways, according to the ska cd review section, ska was invented by the specials and madness, and then the third band ever to play it wasnt for another 10 years or so when operation ivy magically rediscovered it. However ska was actually invented in the late 50s in Jamaica and was the first type of Jamaican popular music.

Im sorry if i come off sounding like a knowitall smartass, because im definetly not. Ii just thought someone should review some first-wave Jamaican ska, which without first wave, streetlight manifesto or reel big fish would not exist. (actually they would exist but they would suck). So here it is: a collection of 50 of the greatest Jamaican Ska songs:

Before I begin the track review, let me first give a basic overview. As opposed to the skapunk and skacore of modern music, the ska on this collection is alot more jazzy, in the horns, the basslines, and mostly the instrumentals. All of the instrumentals follow the same pattern as pretty much all jazz instrumentals, a catchy horn lick, followed by a solo or 2, horn lick, more solos, horn lick, more solos. However, the instrumentals on this album are still generally very good.

now to the individual songs:


1. I'm in the mood for ska by Lord Tanamo

A cover of an old jazz song (at least my grandmother knows this song), and a great way to start it all off. one of my favorites.
overall rating 4.5/5

2. Next Door Neighbour by Owen & Leon Silveras

Pretty much a generic ska song, not to say that it's bad, because it's far form it, theres just not really anything individual about it. Except maybe that me and my neighbor sing it alot. That doesn't stop it from being a 4/5

3. Watermelon Man by The Baba Brooks Band

Anyone whos ever played in any jazz band, whether it be in high school or just for fun, has played the original of this song, by Herbie Hancock. And theyre pretty much the same song, except one has a ska beat to it. 3/5

4. Get Up Edina by Desmond Dekker

DESMOND DEKKER!!!!!! Sorry if i sound like a fanboy, but when it comes to old school ska/rocksteady nobody does it better. And this song is no exception, my favorite song on disc one and maybe even on the whole collection. 5/5

5. Silver Dollar by Tommy McCook & the Skatalites

The irony of this track being credited to tommy mccook AND the skatalites is that Tommy McCook was the saxaphonist for the skatalites. But for the song, its basically a typical instrumental. WARNING: this song WILL get stuck in your head overall 3.5/5

6. Doctor Dick by Lee Perry & the Soulettes

A pretty good song, you can pretty much guess what its about. Its a good song, until the background singers (im guessing theyre the soulettes) come in at the end. That kinda brings it down a bit. overall rating 3.5/5

7. When I Call Your Name by Stranger & Patsy

One of the many duets, and also one of the better ones. Both of the singers are very talented and can sing very well. A very good love song that you and your girlfriend/boyfriend can sing together. 3/5

8. Blackberry Brandy by Roland Alphonso

Another ex-skatalite and another instrumental. In general, I think that Roland Alphonso writes the best instrumentals on this collection. 4/5

9. Jezebel by Lloyd and Glen

This is what a repetitive song sounds like. very repetitive. of the 2 songs about "jezebel" on this album, by far the weaker track 1/5

10. Baby, I Love You by Carl Dawkins

The worst song on disc 1 is followed by one of the best on the entire album. A great song. Another one you sing to the girl/guy you're falling for. Absolutely Beautiful. Sure to make them fall for you. 5/5

11. Happy Go Lucky Girl by The Paragons

Believe it or not, Trojan records cheated. This is not a ska song, it is actually a rocksteady song, as indicated by the slower tempo and vocal harmonizing beneath the mango tree. When I first heard this song I hated it, now I can stand it, but still dont like it that much. 2/5

12. No Raise No Praise by Derrick Morgan

Another pretty generic song. While Derrick Morgan is one of the more famous early ska artists, neither of his songs on here impressed me much. The only thing to say about this song is that it occasionally will get stuck in your head.

13. Carry Go Bring Come by Justin Hinds & the Dominoes

One of the most famous* ska songs ever recorded, and a pretty good song too. nothing much to say about this song. 3/5

14. Blessings of Love by Alton Ellis and the Flames

Another rocksteady song. another annoying song. Aso, this is the first of a handful of songs that deal with rude boys or "rudies. 1/5

15. I Don't Need Your Love by Chuck & Dobby

Once again, Trojan recovers and brings one of the best songs on the album. Great vocals, cool horn riff, even a rare guitar solo. and a good one too. 5/5

16. Congo War by Lord Brynner

I've officially decided that anyone with the name "lord" is worth listeneing to. and this is no exception. A pretty cool, while somewhat generic, song about Africa. Even features a cool /or annoying african vocal part (i dont really know what to call it) at the very end. 3.5/5

17. Don D Lion by Don Drummond

Another generic instrumental. A clever name though. I think the name might be the best part of the song. 2.5/5


1. Rough & Tough by Stranger Cole

I'm pretty sure this is the same Stranger that sings on track 7 of disc 1. Generic, yet good opener. 3/5

2. Free Man by The Etiopians

ew. its the ethiopians. Yet i will say that while i cannot STAND the ethiopians, I do like this song. its pretty catchy. 3.5/5

3. Strongman Sampson by Eric Morris

This is a very quirky song, yet insanely catchy. Its the song that will get stuck in your head and drive you CRAZY. Lyrically its about biblical men such as Samson and Soloman who got their power taken by women. Its pretty much anti-feminist. Yet im a guy so i like it 4/5

4. Duck Soup by Drumbago's Orchestra

Generic instrumental. though not bad 3/5

5. Wrong Embryo by The Rulers

I will never forget the first time hearing this song. I remember listening and going "holy ***. this is a clash song" Anyone know the song "wrong 'em boyo" off of london calling" yup. same song. except the clash totally own the rulers by far. I cant even listen to this song. Except it does have a cool piano intro. This version 1.5/5 the clash version 5/5

6. Sudden Destruction by Johnny "Dizzy" Moore

Another instrumental, though its probably the best on disc 2. 4/5

7. What Can I Say by The Tartans

Finally, we get an example of rocksteady done right. Another song about the rude boys going to jail and the singer is wondering what he can say to help them out. 4/5

8. I'm So In Love With You by the Techniques

another love duet, yet dont sing this to your girlfriend. basically the first minute is the girl repeating the same line over and over while the guy improvs (or sounds like it). Then they realize how boring it is. TRUMPET SOLO. last minute the same as the first minute. The guys voice on here reminds me of the old blues singer Rober Johnson. normally- 1.5/5 lovesick- 3.5/5

9. 007 (Shanty Town) by Desmond Dekker

Desmond Dekker is BACK. Most people should know this song, and if you dont go listen. another "rudie" song. May be annoying at first but it completely grows on you. This also begins a streak of high quality that continues through the next 5 songs. 3.5/5

10. Want Me Cock by Owen & Leon Silveras

If I could understand the words to this song, I would tell you theyre very dirty. But you cant tell. This doesnt stop this song from being one of my favorite and also the fastest song on the album. 4/5

11. Iron Bar by Lord Tanamo

I forgot to mention this on the first Lord Tanamo song, but Lord Tanamo is the greatest ska singer youve never heard of. While history has long forgotten him, he still makes some of the best old school ska and further investigation of him in strongly encouraged. they have his greatest hits on Now for the actual song, not much to say, a pretty generic, slower song with a repetitive but catchy chorus. 4/5

12. Miss Jamaica by Jimmy Cliff

Yes, that is the same Jimmy Cliff that sang "The Harder They Come" and "Sitting in Limbo," but you could not tell from this song. Much like Bob Marleys early recordings are very different form his later stuff, this is very different from "I Can See Clearly Now," but it is still just as good if not better. I sang this to a jamaican girl at my shcool once. She got mad and called me rascist. whatever.4/5

13. Jezebel by Owen Gray

This is the ska equivalent of a 12 bar blues. The repetitiveness of the lyrics, the chord progression, and even the horn riff sound like a traditional American 12 bar blues. Yet Im a blues fan so its all good. Definetly the stronger of the 2 "jezebel" tracks. 4/5

14. Phoenix City by Roland Alphonso

As I said previously, Roland Alphonso wins the award for the best instrumentals. Not much to say, except this track is sicktight. Sadly, this is probably the last great song in the streak of great songs. 4/5

15. One- Eyed Giant by Baba Brooks Band

hey, have you seen the one eyed giant"
instrumental 3/5

16. Rub and Squeeze by Lee perry

Lee perry wins the "slackness" award on this album, with yet another song about sex. except this one is much more straightforward.but not as good. 2/5

17. Let George Do It by Don Drummond

The decline at the end of disc 2 is only continued further by this song. While its not a BAD song, its just plain boring. Its an instrumental but instead of using a cool catchy riff, its just a trombone solo followed by a saxophone solo. award for worst instrumental. 1/5


1. Over The River by Justin Hinds & The Dominoes

The intro lick (which sounds very similar to the wailers' "Simmer Down") starts this disc off with a bang and another block of great songs is about to begin. good opener 3.5/5

2. If I Didn't Love You by Eric Morris

This song sounds nothing like "strongman sampson" and if not for the track labeling, you could not tell they were the same person. While "strongman" was a quirky little jingle about how women are the root of all evil, this is a beautiful love song. Another one to sing to your girl/boyfriend. 4/5

3. The Tide is High by The Paragons

HA! And you thought this was Blondie. And that only girls could sing this song. actually ill admit that this song is alot like "wrong embryo" that the cover is better. But unlike "wrong embryo" the original is amazing as well. and completely deserving of a 5/5

4. Guns of Navarone by The Skatalites

The Skatalites, the Elvis of ska music. And they live up their title with a simple, yet insanely catchy instrumental that will get stuck in your head for days. I even had the girl who sits next to me in math hit me for singing this song too much.

5. Blazing Fire by Derrick Morgan

Much like his other song, this is a very generic ska song, though not bad, just nothing sticks out. 2.5/5

6. Doctor Zhivago by Tommy McCook & The Skatalites

instrumental, kinda laid back feel to it. thats it2.5/5

7. Rudie Gets Plenty by The Spanishtonians

And alright song, though personally I cant stand the singers voice, the actual song isnt bad, just the way they sing it. another rudie song. 2/5

8. Train to Skaville by The Ethiopians

THIS is why i hate the ethiopians. Most people have probably heard this song, because it is quite famous*, and I have no clue why. Its basically the epitome of everything I hate about ska/reggae. Extremely high falsettos, annoyingly repetitive lyrics, and those hig falsettos. Though it does have a cool horn lick at the beginning. Just for that it gets a 0.5/5

9. Open The Door by Clive and Naomi

My dad knows who these guys are, but I have no clue. And he's even white, so they must be famous. But basically this sounds like it could be a showtune and I wouldnt be surprised if its a cover of a broadway musical or something. Good song 3/5

10. Musical Storeroom by Frank Anderson

My vote for second best instrumental on the album. really cool horn part. like really cool. 4/5

11. Blam Blam Fever by The Valentines

A really good rocksteady song written about rude boys and "the gun fever." While it was orignally writeen about rudies, it can still be applied to the gangstas and rednecks of modern days. great song 4/5

12. Sammy No Dead by Clacy Eccles

My vote for 2nd most annoying song behind trian to skaville. While skaville is just plain idiotic, this is more quirky in the same vein of "strongman sampson," except too quirky, maybe if im in a goofy mood ill listen to it. Good song to piss your parents off. 1.5/5

13. Storm Warning by Lyn Taitt & The Comets

generic instrumental, for some reason i like the instrumentals on disc 3 the best. I dunno why. 2.5/5

14. Girl I've Got a Date by Alton Ellis and The Flames

Alton Ellis makes up for his previous song with this one, considered by some to be the first rocksteady song ever (the other one being "rock steady" by the same man). Not quite sure what its about, but hes singing to a girl. 4/5

15. The Third Man Theme by Granville Williams Orchestra

HERE IT IS. The greatest instrumental on the entire 3 discs and 50 songs. And i must say, it is a tight one. Naturally they had to put it as the second to last song but still. its great. the only instrumental to get 5/5

16. Denham Town by George Winston

By now I'm getting tired of those damn rude boys, but this isnt a bad song. Personally I think they should have made the third man theme the last song to go out with a bang, but this is pretty good. 2.5/5

*When I say famous im talking within ska and reggae circles ONLY

Recommended songs to download (if you can find them)
-I'm in the mood for ska
-Get Up Edina
-Baby I love you
-I dont need your love
-Miss Jamaica
-Phoenix City
-The Tide is high
-Musical Storeroom
-Third Man Theme

overall rating 4/5- great but not AMAZING


user ratings (3)

Comments:Add a Comment 
March 26th 2006


Your review was pretty good

March 26th 2006


Plath said it best. The review was a little excessive. You just can't fit some 50 odd tracks in a track by track. You did pretty good for a start, though. Also, try to leave the reader's future viewpoint of the band completely up to them. The you will love this album/trash this album deal can come to be unnecessary for a lot of readers here. What if you enjoy The Slackers and Hepcat, and also listen to Rancid and Leftover Crack?
It's all up to the reader, after he's done with your description of the album, that is. All in all, it was a good start, but there are things to improve.

March 26th 2006


Yeah, Plath nailed this one. I'm actually glad you reviewed this because I own a few Trojan Box Sets but I don't have this one. Tommy McCook is amazing.

March 26th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

What I meant by the last part is if you like nothing but ska like leftover crack because actually I'm a big fan of the voodoo glow skulls and still love this. I should probably take it out.

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