RUDEBOY: The Story of Trojan Records

I missed any news of this movie on it’s original release in 2018. It’s available on Sky on demand, so if you’ve got that, give it a spin and let me know if you think it’s any good!

Among the cast of legendary artists featured are Lee ‘Scratch’ PerryToots HibbertKen BootheMarcia GriffithsDave BarkerDandy LivingstoneDerrick MorganBunny Lee, Sly & RobbieLloyd CoxsonePauline Black and Neville Staple they’ve certainly got the right people on board.

Here’s the intro from the film’s website.

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RUDEBOY is a film about the origins and ongoing love affair between Jamaican and British Youth culture. A film that explores the power of music to break down cultural barriers and change lives and the eventual birth of a modern multicultural society – all told through the prism of one the most iconic record labels in history, TROJAN RECORDS. Combining archive footage, freshly shot interviews and drama – RUDEBOY tells the story of Trojan Records by placing it at the heart of a cultural revolution that unfolded in the council estates and shanty towns of the late 60’s and 70’s. The film begins in the 1950’s, as Jamaica is slowly transitioning to its eventual independence in 1962. We meet Duke Reid and his legendary Trojan sound system and explore the social and cultural conditions that give rise to the birth of the rude boy, the emergence of sound-system culture and the rise of the distinctive Jamaican sound ska. In Act 2 we land in Britain in the 60’s and look at the Jamaican immigrants’ experience through the eyes of a young Dandy Livingstone. We meet first generation Windrush immigrant Lee Gopthal and witness the birth of Trojan Records while Enoch Powell is giving his Rivers Of Blood speech. There is a growing market for imported ska and new rock steady sounds that Trojan records tap into. Act 3 tells a story of how working-class youth discover the sounds of ska and rock steady and the most the important subculture in modern British history is born, the Trojan Skinhead. A new sound Reggae emerges. Black and white unite on dancefloors as we build up to the landmark for underground skinhead culture and the ‘Spirit of 69’. From 1969 – 1973 Trojan becomes the most important Jamaican label in the world and is at the peak of its powers. The Tighten Up compilation series, spreads the Trojan word to the masses. The label begins releasing almost everything that is sent in as the volume of output becomes incredible. A new gold rush ensues with producers rushing over from Jamaica selling records to Trojan Desmond Dekker emerges as the first star of the underground scene. ‘Double Barrel’ by Dave and Ansel Collins give Trojan their first number 1 hit single. Ken Boothe inspires the lovers rock sound with Trojans second number 1 ‘Everything I Own’. Pop Reggae is born and Black identity and pride builds around these records as a new confident identity is cemented. But the good times can’t last forever as in 1975 the label over extends itself and folds. But the impact of Trojan records lives on, through the 70’s right up to the present day. Jamaican youth culture has flourished and is everywhere you look – it spawned 2Tone, the Notting Hill Carnival, Sound systems, the seeds of the Hip Hop revolution, club culture. The cultural impact of Trojan records has shaped the world we live in.

Grab the soundtrack

If that sparks your interest, you can grab the soundtrack on Amazon, here.

RIP Prince Buster

This is a Lambretta blog, not a music one. But I’m going to take a moment to acknowledge the sad passing of musical legend Prince Buster.

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37 years ago (!), almost to the day, my life changed. That’s the day Madness performed their first single “The Prince” on Top of The Pops. The song (as was the band’s name) was tribute to someone I’d never heard of… Prince Buster. I knew that this was the group I’s been waiting for. Only a couple of years older than me, but with such a cool, fun, nutty vibe about them… the clothes! The music! Down to Woolies the next day, clutching my 75p, The Prince became my fourth record in my collection. (The others were The Sex Pistols “Silly Thing”, Allies Tartan Army by Andy Cameron, and The Birdy Song  – a gift form my Granny – honestly). The B Side of The Prince was just as good – if not better – a song called Madness – a Prince Buster cover. With The Specials in the charts with a cover of Al Capone, (retitled Gangsters of course) and Madness to soon release One Step Beyond, the influence ‘The Prince’ is undeniable. I was lucky enough to see Prince Buster live on several occasions… including with Madness at Finsbury Park.

I, like a lot of my generation, began to seek out the originals. Prince Buster was a revelation. Songs like One Step Beyond, Al Capone, Rough Rider, Wreck a Pum Pum and Big 5 are classics. The whole ska / mod / skinhead scene was inexorably linked to the world of scooters… so maybe, without Prince Buster – no Madness – no love of scooters – no Lambrettista Blog…

RIP ‘The Prince’ A true innovator, original rude boy and musical legend.

Cantabrian Ska


I’m loving this tune, and video by Cantabrian Reggae band Smooth Beans. (Cantabria, in case you’re Spanish geography is a little rusty, is the area around Santander in the North. I know it, slightly, from family camping holidays near Castro Urdiales, many years ago!). Any way, the Beans appear to have the Ska/Rocksteady / Skinhead Reggae sound down really well… a genre of music that particularly appeals to me. The video is pretty good too, featuring a nice Eibar Lambrettta (or should that be Serveta). I’m not an authority on these Spanish machines, so I’m not sure if the SX/Jet style headlight was ever fitted to a S2 type machine… but hey… the scooter looks pretty damn good, loving the sidecar too!

Smooth Beans on Liquidator Music.

Thanks to The Scooterist blog for the heads up on this.