John Holt & Ken Boothe are out 5th May, Desmond Dekker, and Marcia Griffiths are out on June 2nd.
Today, Trojan Records announce the second set of releases from their new The Essential Artist Collection – a brand new series of artist-focused compilation albums showcasing some of the very best talents from the label’s esteemed roster. Collections from John Holt and Ken Boothe will be released on the 5th of May, followed by Desmond Dekker and Marcia Griffiths on the 2nd of June. Championing their stellar catalogs, 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-color vinyl, double CD and digital formats.
After fronting popular Jamaican vocal trio the Paragons on a succession of best-selling rock steady singles during the late Sixties, John Holt went on to become one of Jamaica’s most popular solo performers, scoring a series of reggae hits for many of the island’s leading record producers. His international breakthrough came in 1974 with the hugely popular 1000 Volts of Holt album, which fused raw reggae rhythms with sophisticated orchestral arrangements. The highlight of the long-player was a reworking of Kris Kristoffersson’s country hit, Help Me Make It Through The Night, which the following year became a global hit, with the single peaking at Number 6 in the UK charts. Over the years that followed, Holt remained a giant of the reggae scene with further best sellers and numerous sell-out shows around the world. The very best of his solo work has been brought together on this Essential Artist compilation.
Arguably the most gifted Jamaican performer of his generation, Ken Boothe is today widely regarded as a living legend, having recorded innumerable ska, rock steady and reggae classics over a period spanning some 60 years. After making his recording debut in 1962, Ken enjoyed a hugely successful career in Jamaica before achieving international stardom in 1974 with his chart-topping interpretation of Everything I Own and the top 10 follow-ups, Crying Over You. Both of these hugely popular tracks feature on this collection, amongst many other groundbreaking Boothe triumphs.
Before Bob Marley’s rise to pre-eminence, the title of the world’s leading reggae performer rested firmly with another young singer from Kingston: Jamaica’s Desmond Dekker. Between 1967 and 1970, Desmond enjoyed a succession of international hit singles, breaking new ground with singles such as 007, the first Jamaican-produced single to break into the UK top twenty, and Israelites, the first reggae single to reach the Number One spot in Britain and to breach the US chart. Further, triumphs followed thereafter, with major chart hits including It Mek, Pickney Gal, You Can Get It If You Really Want, and Sing A Little Song, all of which cemented his place in history as Jamaica’s first global superstar. This Essential Artist Collection set pays due respect to the original King of Reggae and superbly demonstrates the immense talent that set Desmond Dekker apart from his peers during the Golden Age of Jamaican music.
Arguably the greatest female singer in the history of Jamaican music, Marcia Griffiths first made her mark on the Jamaican music scene with a number of popular singles during the late Sixties, before finding international fame in 1970 alongside her long-term friend and sometime collaborator, Bob Andy. Bob & Marcia’s uplifting reggae version of Nina Simone’s inspiring song (To Be) Young, Gifted & Black hit number 5 in the UK pop chart, with the single proving to be the first of two British chartbusters, with their exuberant interpretation of Pied Piper just missing out on a Top 10 placing the following year. Soon after, Marcia became a member of Bob Marley’s famed backing group, the I-Threes, while also continuing to enjoy solo success with numerous Jamaican hits for a variety of record producers throughout the remainder of the Seventies and well beyond.
These new Essential Artist Collections follow recent releases from icons The Skatalites and The Maytals, featuring only the best hits from their esteemed, much-loved catalogs.