V/A - Monkey Business (Trojan Records)

From start to finish, this is a album to cater to skinheads. Even more so it seems than the Skinhead Revolt album, also reviewed on this site. Thats not to say that the songs are bad, because they are definitly not bad, but this album was kind of a poorly thrown together compilation put out during the Two-Tone's hayday to cash in on the ska explosion of 1980 in the UK. I don't wan't it to seem like I'm complaining though because the fine thing about this album is that just about every song on this record is a tried and tested classic from the early reggae era in Jamaican music, and it's great to have them all on one disc.

The record starts with a group called the Untouchables singing a song called "Tighten Up". The song is the first of quite a few Lee Perry produced tracks on the album and starts the record off to a good start. This song is known mostly for being the record that gave the title to the early reggae compilation series albums, the Tighten Up series which has even better tracks than this. Lee Perry's Upsetters appear here on three tracks, first with the classic "Return of Django" and then with "Dollar In The Teeth" and a record that should be credited to Dave and the Upsetters as its featuring Dave Barker doing his DJ thing over an instrumental track of his vocal song "Shocks Of Mighty". I'm not too much of a fan of "Dollar In The Teeth", its a good song but I think "Live Injection" or "Night Doctor" would have been better choices for a comp of this nature.

From Lee Perry productions we move on logically to Clancy Eccles productions. His first contribution tot his record is his vocal cut to "Fatty Fatty" which is a well known song. But in my opinion, the great thing about his productions are his two other tracks on this album featuring early DJ King Stitt. His first cus is the classic "Fire Corner" over Clancy's "Shu Be Du" rhythm. The song is great and became even bigger than the vocal side it's versioned from. Stitt's other track is "Herbsman Shuffle" which also features engineer Lynford "Andy Capp" Anderson who was most known for his "Pop-A-Top" records. "Herbsman" is a great taste of early DJ works though and over a rhythm like "Phantom", it's hard to go wrong.

The Maytals ("54-46", "Monkey Man"), Desmond Dekker ("007") and the Pioneers ("Long Shot Kick De Bucket") show off Leslie Kings classic pop inspired reggae sound which he was known for(and made a lot of money with). Not much needs to be said about these songs though as everyone is a well known classic.

Other top tracks on the record are "Elizabethian Reggae" which is an instrumental track by future Black Ark era bassist for the Upsetters Boris Gardner as well as "Young Gifted and Black" by Bob (andy) and Marcia (Griffiths). You also can't lose with the instumentals "Double Barrel" and "Monkey Spanner", both by Dave and Ansel Collins, and also "Liquidator" by Harry J. All-Stars, all three of which are skinhead classics.

The only song I don't like at all on this album is "Barbwire" by Nora Dean which uses the rhythm track from the Techniques rocksteady hit "You Don't Care" which is a great rhythm. Unfortunantly Nora Dean dosent give a very good performance on this track in my opinion. All in all though this is a good album with plenty of great tracks on one record.

  1. The Untouchables - Tighten Up
  2. Clancy Eccles - Fatty Fatty
  3. The Maytals - 54-46 Was My Number
  4. Desmond Dekker - 007 (Shanty Town)
  5. Harry J. All-Stars - Liquidator
  6. King Stitt - Fire Corner
  7. Dave and Ansel Collins - Double Barrel
  8. Lloydie & The Lowbites - Birth Control
  9. King Stitt - Herbsman Shuffle
  10. Boris Gardner - Elizabethan Reggae
  11. The Upsetters - Return Of Django
  12. Dave and Ansel Collins - Monkey Spanner
  13. Bob and Marcia - Young Gifted and Black
  14. The Pioneers - Long Shot Kick De Bucket
  15. The Maytals - Monkey Man
  16. The Upsetters - Dollar In Teeth
  17. Nora Dean - Barbwire
  18. The Upsetters - Shocks Of Mighty
  19. The Soulmates - Them A Laugh And A KiKi
  20. Eric Donaldson - Cherry Oh! Baby

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