Tuesday, 24 March 2009

“Tighten Up Volume 2: Deluxe Edition” by VARIOUS ARTISTS (March 2009 Universal/Sanctuary/Trojan CD Set of Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

This review and hundreds more like it can also be found in my 
SOUNDS GOOD Music Book: 1960s and 1970s MUSIC Volume 2 
- Exceptional CD Remasters 
It contains over 210 in-depth reviews (a whopping 2400+ e-Pages) 
And is available to buy/download at Amazon at the following link...

"...No Matter What The People Say…These Sounds Lead The Day…"

Complete with their risqué sleeves – the iconic "Tighten Up" series of vinyl albums on Trojan Records began in Britain in January 1969 and ended 8 volumes later in early 1973 when sales simply fizzled out. Warmly remembered to this day as fantastic party music - these budget-priced LP compilations introduced wonderfully evocative Jamaican Reggae and Ska to British youngsters ravenous for it. Available in every Woolworths up and down the land - these cheap and cheerful compilations were bought up in truckloads. Time to celebrate the nation in irritation and let the h-action begin…

UK Released 16 March 2009 - "Tighten Up Volume 2: Deluxe Edition" by VARIOUS ARTISTS on Universal/Sanctuary/Trojan 1797062 (Barcode 02517970625) is a 2CD set that massively expands the original budget LP. So here are the Long Shots Kicking De Buckets and the Reggae In Your Jeggae (if you know what I'm saying)…

Disc 1 (66:47 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 12 make up the album “Tighten Up Volume 2” issued on Trojan Records TTL 7 in November 1969. Like Volume 1 from January 1969, the 2nd in the series was made up of the label’s hottest singles from the preceding months  – they’re listed below…

1. Long Shot Kick De Bucket – THE PIONEERS - Trojan 672 [A] (August 1969)
2. John Jones – RUDY MILLS - Big Shot BI 509 [A] (January 1969)
3. Fire Corner – KING STITT - Duke DU 30 [A] (June 1969) [lyrics are the title of this review]
4. Wreck A Buddy – THE SOUL SISTERS - Amalgamated AMG-839 [A] (May 1969)
5. Reggae In Your Jeggae – DANDY - Downtown DT-410 [A] (February 1969)
6. Fatty Fatty – CLANCY ECCLES - Trojan TR-658 [A] (May 1969)
7. Return Of Django – THE UPSETTERS - Upsetter US-301 [A] (May 1969)
8. Sufferer – THE KINGSTONIANS - Big Shot BI-508 [A] (January 1969)
9. Moonlight Lover – JOYA LANDIS - Trojan TR-641 [A] (January 1969)
10. Come Into My Parlour – THE BLEECHERS - Upsetter US-314 [A] (July 1969)
11. Them A Laugh And A Kiki – THE SOULMATES - Amalgamated AMG-836 [A] (March 1969)
12. Live Injection – THE UPSETTERS - Upsetter US-313 [A] (August 1969)

13. Jumping The Gun – RICO & THE RUDIES
14. A Place Called Happiness – RUDY MILLS
15. John Public – THE DYNAMITES
17. Reggae Shuffle – THE DREAMERS
18. Last Call (Aka Tribute To Drumbaka) – THE DYNAMITES
19. Dollar In My Teeth – THE UPSETTERS
20. Kiss A Finger – THE KINGSTONIANS
21. Love You True – JOY LANDIS
22. Dry Your Tears – THE MELLOTONES
23. The Hippys Are Here – THE HIPPY BOYS
24. Everything For Fun – THE BLEECHERS
The bonus tracks 13 to 24 are the B-sides of 1 to 12 listed above

Disc 2 (67:13 minutes):
Entitled “The Alternatives!” - Tracks 1 to 24 are all singles released on Trojan’s group of labels between January and August 1969…

1. Put Yourself In My Place – DELRO WILSON - High Note HS-011 [A] (January 1969)
2. Cus Cus – LLOYD ROBINSON - Duke 5 [A] (January 1969)
3. Braking Up – ALTON ELLIS with TOMMY McCOOK & THE SUPERSONICS - Trojan TR-642 [A] (February 1969)
4. Biafra – THE CRYSTALITES - Big Shot BI-510 [A] (February 1969)
5. A-Yuh (You Always Hurt Me) – THE UNIQUES - Trojan TR-645 [A] (February 1969)
6. Rocking Sensation – DELANO STEWART - High Note HS-014 [A] (February 1969)
7. Hang 'Em High – RICHARD ACE - Trojan TR-654 [A] (May 1969)
8. Son Of A Preacher Man – THE GAYLETS - Big Shot BI-516 [A] (March 1969)
9. Frying Pan – THE SLICKERS - Blue Cat BS-154 [A] (March 1969)
10. Mama Look Deh – THE REGGAE BOYS - Amalgamated AMG-835 [A] (March 1969)
11. Another Scorcher – JACKIE BERNARD & THE TENNORS - Big Shot BI-517 [A] (April 1969)
12. You’re My Everything – THE TECHNIQUES - Duke DU 22 [A] (May 1969)
13. Night Doctors – THE UPSETTERS - Upsetter US-307 [A] (May 1969)
14. Woman Capture Man – THE ETHOPIANS - Trojan TR-666 [A] (June 1969)
15. On The Move – COUNT MACHUKI & THE DESTROYERS - Amalgamated AMG-842 [A] (June 1969)
16. Everybody Bawlin’ – THE MELODIANS - Trojan TR-660 [A] (June 1969)
17. 2,000 Tons of TNT – THE GG RHYTHM SECTION - Big Shot BS-165 [A] (June 1969)
18. Ali Baba – JOHN HOLT - Trojan TR-661 [A] (June 1969) (mistakenly credited as Island WI-3158)
19. Seven Letters – DERRICK MORGAN - Jackpot JP-700 [A] (July 1969)
20. Dark End Of The Street – PAT KELLY - Jackpot JP-701 [A] (July 1969)
21. Doctor No Go – THE HIPPY BOYS - High Note HS-021 [A] (August 1969)
22. Get On The Right Track – PHYLLIS DILLON & HOPETON LEWIS - Trojan TR-671 [A] (August 1969)
23. Red Ash – KARL BRYAN with TOMMY McCOOK & THE SUPERSONICS - Trojan TR-673 [A] (August 1969)
24. Liquidator – HARRY J ALL STARS - Trojan TR-675 [A] (August 1969)

NICK BOURNE has coordinated the project for Trojan and Universal  - while the hugely detailed 28-page booklet has an essay by LAURENCE CANE-HONEYSETT on the album and the scene surrounding it. The crammed booklet pictures most of the 7" labels featured alongside rare snaps of the singers and bands. LCH penned the truly fantastic book "Young, Gifted & Black - The Story Of Trojan Records" (see separate review) - so his knowledge goes deep - it's literally track-by-track annotation. The 4-foldout-flaps reproduce adverts and press releases from 1969 - the CDs themselves reflect the original vinyl colouring and there's the now trademark DELUXE EDITION outer plastic wrap - all nice touches.

Again the set is mastered by TIM DEBNEY and the results are fabulous one moment, woeful the next. This is 60's Reggae and it was recorded in Auntie Flo's outside loo - so audiophile is not order of the day here. Although I would quickly add that to my ears - the improvement of sound quality is 'immense' all round - far better that the 2002 set that I've been living with these last few years. That alone is worth it for me...

But then there’s also the clever track choices made – I’ve loved hearing the B-sides again – in fact they’re often better than the A. The instrumental “Last Call” (aka “Tribute To Drumbago”) is typical – a fabulous trumpet led Ska shuffle that’s as infectious as a fit of the giggles. Disc 2 is simply a wad more of the same – I’ll be discovering tracks on this for years to come. Love it – love it – love it. Another triumph is this increasingly superb series…

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