Tighten Up: The Story of Trojan Records – Part 1: A Tale of Two Islands

DukeReid-SoundsystemThis BBC documentary tells the story of Trojan Records, the cult UK-based Jamaican music label. Dubbed the Motown of reggae, it was widely responsible for bringing to Britain the Jamaican sound.

In the 50s, Jamaica was dancing to the sound of mento, a folk music style that could be heard everywhere across the island through the numerous sound systems. But it’s when mento morphed into the speedier upbeat tempo ska that Jamaican music started to get traction in the UK, embraced by Jamaican immigrants’ sound systems and record shops, but also for the first time by the white youth through the mod subculture.

By the mid 60s, ska had slowed down into the more musical and less macho style rocksteady, accelerating its diffusion in Great Britain through newly created label Trojan Records. But Jamaican music was still fairly obscure to the public when reggae arrived in the late 60s. This new genre was quickly adopted by the original skinheads who identified with the Jamaican rude boy style and Trojan Records went from being a cult underground label to full on charts sensation.

Part 2: Going Mainstream

Listen here:

Tighten Up: The Story of Trojan Records – Part 1: A Tale of Two Islands