Spirit Of 69 – The Boss Reggae Sevens Collection (Trojan TJBOX001)
Single 1 - A. ‘Cuss Cuss’ – Lloyd Robinson
B. ‘Lavender Blue’ – Lloyd Robinson
Single 2 – A. ‘Dulcemania’ – Drumbago & The Dynamites
B. ‘Chinaman’ – Clancy Eccles
Single 3 – A. ‘Just Another Lonely Night’ – Derrick Harriott
B. ‘Been So Long/You Lied To Your Daddy’ – Derrick Harriott
Single 4 – A. ‘Freedom Sound’ – Lloyd Charmers
B. ‘Easy Sounds’ – The Jay Boys
Single 5 – A. ‘Ali Baba’ – John Holt
B. ‘I’m Your Man’ – John Holt
Single 6 – A. ‘Everybody Bawling’ – Vin Gordon
B. ‘Come Look Here’ – The Gold Tones
Single 7 – A. ‘If This World Were Mine’ – Tyrone Evans
B. ‘You Done Me Wrong’ – Tyrone Evans
Single 8 – A. ‘Apollo 11’ - The Hippy Boys
B. ‘Love Love Everyday’ – The Pioneers
Following in the fine tradition of the Trojan/Universal boxed sets, ‘Haunted House’ (2006), ‘Lucky Sevens’ (2011) and ‘Pieces of Eight’ (2012) comes this eagerly anticipated Trojan/BMG set, ‘Spirit of 69’. Marketed through the Pledge Music website, and limited to 1000 copies, the set has proved to be well worth the wait and effectively sold out on release. Missing an opportunity to order a set through Pledge I was instead fortunate enough to secure one of the few that became available on the open market.
With a greater standard of care and attention to detail this release it is clearly superior to those that preceded it. Housed in a sturdy box and replica period sleeves the records are pressed in heavyweight vinyl appropriate for such a substantial product. The attention to detail extends not only to the facsimile label reproduction, but also the inclusion of a card insert with notes by Michael de Koningh, which place the music in its proper context, and further underlines the care lavished on this set.
The records themselves are an eclectic mix of classics and popular tracks, drawn from Trojan’s (and their subsidiary labels) 1969 catalogue. The stand-out classics for me are Lloyd Robinson’s ‘Cuss Cuss’ (recorded at Studio One though produced by Harry Johnson), Drumbago’s ‘Dulcemania’ and John Holt’s perennial ‘Ali Baba’. There are also rarer outings, though hardly less worthwhile, for Derrick Harriott and Tyrone Evens, leavened with some very decent instrumentals. Even the inclusion of one or two slightly quirkier B-sides does not alter the fact most have stood the passage of time remarkably well and still retain much of their original energy and freshness.
Surprisingly perhaps, there is no digital download included, which seemed to be the fashion a while ago. Demand for this release is such that further issues of this product would be welcome or a CD release for those who missed out on the initial package. However, given the acclaim for this project, it is to be hoped that we will not have to wait another four years before the next Trojan/BMG singles release.