"...Let's Start Getting Happy Now…Yeah Yeah Yeah…"
The 20-page detailed booklet has an essay on the band, the album's history and the scene surrounding it by LAURENCE CANE-HONEYSETT co-author of the superb book "Young, Gifted & Black - The Story Of Trojan Records" (see separate review).
Front and rear cover are reproduced on the front and back pages in colour, there's pictures of those lovely and rare UK 7" labels that get collectors weak at the knees, unique foreign picture sleeves, industry adverts, a complete singles and album discography from 1969 to 1971 - and even interviews with the band's principal songwriters MONTY NEYSMITH and ROY ELLIS. Both discs reflect the original Trojan label design and there's a collage of photos of the band reproduced beneath the two see-through trays - all of it very nicely done. (It's also not a BOX SET as Amazon says - it's a DELUXE EDITION 2CD set in the now familiar plastic wrap for the series with a four-way foldout digipak beneath.)
The tapes have been mastered by TIM DEBNEY at Fluid Mastering and the sound quality is similar to the "Tighten Up" DELUXE EDITION in August of 2008 - a mixed bag of the fantastic and the cruddy. This is not audiophile territory - it's reggae music - recorded on a shoestring and all the more gritty and wonderful for it. Having heard this LP on battered vinyl for years, I found most tracks a revelation.
Musically, this is party time. The chugging brass and Ska groove of "Phoenix City" is utterly irresistible and you can just `hear' the roots of THE SPECIALS in "Try My Best".
The extras are cleverly chosen too - not only are they very rare 7"s (many making their CD debut) - they're anthems of the time for that scene. Almost all of the singles have the same set up - a sung A-side with an instrumental on the B - both of which are killer. The cover version of the Joe Meek/Tornados 1962 classic "Telstar" on the back of "Feel Alright" is a typically cool example. At 46 tracks, I'll be dipping into this for years.
Summing up - coupled with the 2CD set of "Tighten Up Volume 1" from August of this year (see separate review), someone in Universal is making damn good choices! It's so good to see great Reggae and Ska get the DELUXE EDITION treatment it has always deserved. A highly recommended purchase and a voyage of musical discovery you'll not regret taking.
PS: the title of this review is the spoken intro to the classic floorfiller "Skinhead Moonstomp"
This review is part of my SOUNDS GOOD Music Book Series. One of those titles is 1960s and 1970s VOLUME 2 - ROCK and POP, FOLK ROCK and PUNK, NEW WAVE and REGGAE - an E-Book with over 200 entries and 2000 e-Pages - purchase on Amazon and search any artist or song (click the link below). Huge amounts of info taken directly from the discs (no cut and paste crap).