Various Artists - Young, Gifted & Black


Set 11 2011, 22:41

I have picked a representative example of the compilations that Trojan frequently issues to show off their back catalogue. They also do box sets. I remember buying several about a dozen years ago when I was teaching myself Jamaican Creole. I was having to learn because I was smitten but my beloved was 'fresh off the boat' and we needed to communicate. (I married her about a year later and are still together...a bit of luck and it could be happily ever after).

The distinctive logo shows a Greek warrior's helmet in silhouette. But the connection with the legendary Turkish city in Homer's Iliad is remote. At the time the label was formed, the Jamaican sound systems used to be mounted in vans so they could tour the island. One such sound system was operated by Duke Reid from a Trojan Van. The record label was in turn, named after the sound system.

Trojan was a sister label to Island. Both labels existed to introduce Jamaican music to the British market. Island developed new artists, starting with Millie and culminating with Bob Marley (cf my journal Bob Marley & the Wailers - Live!). Trojan on the other hand brought the music of established Jamaican artists to British ears.

The label was fairly successful; it had many UK hits and made a significant contribution to finding an international audience for Jamaican rhythms. It is surprising to me how many of these tunes invoke childhood memories; car journeys with the radio on or watching TV in the living room and Top of the Pops. :)


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