Trojan Records release The Skatalites’ and The Maytals’ The Essential Artist Collection albums —the first two installments from a brand new series of artist-focused compilation albums showcasing some of the very best talent from the label’s esteemed roster. Championing their stellar catalogues, the series highlights the most important ska and reggae tracks from the most influential artists and vocal/instrumental groups with each title available in double colour vinyl, double CD and digital formats.
As the sound of ska exploded upon Jamaica’s musical landscape in the early 60s, the driving dynamic sound was championed by a group frequently credited as the originators of ska and the greatest ensemble of musicians ever to have performed and recorded on the island – The Skatalites. Formed in 1964, the group comprised of legendary saxophonist Tommy McCook, trombonist Don Drummond, tenor saxman Roland Alphonso, drumming supremo Lloyd Knibb and keyboard prodigy Jackie Mittoo. The powerhouse instrumental combo dominated the island’s music industry for 18 glorious months, and this new collection includes the very best of their work including ska anthems such as One Eyed Giant, Alley Cat and Music Is My Occupation – produced by famed Treasure Isle Records boss, Arthur ‘Duke’ Reid.
Led by the dynamic Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert, The Maytals are highly regarded as one of the greatest singing trios in the history of Jamaican music, scoring hit after hit on the island’s charts during an incredible career spanning six decades. This new collection brings together the very best of their work, including their rock steady and early recordings for Leslie Kong’s revered Beverley’s Records during the late Sixties and early Seventies; a period that spawned ground-breaking work such as ’54 46 Was My Number’, ‘Monkey Man’ and ‘Do the Reggay’, to name but a few. It also includes numerous classics such as ‘Sweet And Dandy’, ‘Pressure Drop’ and ‘Night And Day’, demonstrating just why the unforgettable music of The Maytals will continue to be loved for many years to come.
The Essential Artist Collection series will continue throughout 2023 with more legendary artists announced in due course.