RED, GOLD, GREEN & BLUE marks the eagerly anticipated first release from Trojan Jamaica, the new record label co-founded by musician-producers Zak Starkey and Sharna "Sshh" Liguz. The landmark collection is a stunning array of iconic artists performing classic blues, R&B, and early rock 'n' roll songs that first inspired the reggae revolution. 'Man of the World' was preceded by a series of track releases, including Mykal Rose's stellar "I Put A Spell On You" (originally performed by Screamin' Jay Hawkins) and an exclusive Rob Jevons remix of Bo Diddley's "Gunslinger," performed by reggae legend Big Youth, both of which are available now for streaming and download. In addition, the official "I Put A Spell On You" companion visual -- featuring a sizzling solo from Jamaican guitar great Ernest Ranglin - is streaming now HERE following its exclusive premiere via Rolling Stone; the official "Gunslinger (Rob Jevons Remix)" video is streaming HERE following its debut via LargeUp.
Trojan Jamaica arrives with a mandate to explore Jamaica's diverse musical legacy, from its African roots to the endless inspiration of classic and contemporary American soul, R&B, and blues. With that goal in mind, RED, GOLD, GREEN & BLUE sees such groundbreaking stars as Toots & The Maytals, Big Youth, Mykal Rose, Freddie McGregor, Phylea Carley, Kiddus I, Andrew Tosh, Robbie Shakespeare and Sshh, taking on definitive songs by Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf, Robert Johnson, Peter Green, and Johnny & Shuggie Otis. Backing throughout the 13-track LP comes from a truly extraordinary line-up of legendary musicians, including Starkey (guitar), Sly Dunbar (drum), Robbie Shakespeare (bass), Tony Chin (guitar), Cyril Neville (drums), Michael Rendall (keyboards, organ), and Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace (drums, organ).
"It feels like we are at a pivotal moment in time with regards to the global relevance of roots rock & reggae", says Sshh. "I give thanks every day to the island, its people and the culture that we have been given the opportunity to share it with the world."
The story of Trojan Jamaica began in 2016 when Starkey - known for his superlative work as drummer in The Who, Oasis, and countless others - and Australian-born artist/producer Sharna "Sshh" Liguz united as SSHH, teaming up to reinvent the seminal song "Get Up Stand Up" (Bob Marley and Wailers' co-founder, Peter Tosh) performing alongside Eddie Vedder and Carlton "Santa" Davis, George "Fully" Fullwood, and Tony Chin of the pioneering reggae backing outfit known as Soul Syndicate. A video of the performance made its way to Jamaican entrepreneur Kingsley Cooper who immediately invited Starkey and Sshh to perform at the November 2016 opening of the long awaited Peter Tosh Museum in Kingston. Another invitation followed in 2017, inspiring the duo to begin work on what would soon become Trojan Jamaica.
"We felt so warmly welcomed and at home in the musical community that we stayed and recorded all the music that has become Trojan Jamaica," says Starkey. "We're committed to presenting local artists together with international musicians who, like us, have been inspired by roots culture."
Starkey and Sshh were aided in their mission by GRAMMY® Award-winning rhythm section Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, both of whom make indelible contributions throughout RED, GOLD, GREEN & BLUE. An array of genre-spanning session superstars were enlisted, including drummer Cyril Neville (The Meters, The Neville Brothers), guitarist Tony Chin (of the famed Soul Syndicate session outfit), and keyboardist Michael Rendell (The Orb, Pink Floyd). With Youth behind the board, Starkey and Sshh lead this extraordinary band through all new performances of archetypal American music which deeply inspired the reggae revolution but whose influence on Jamaican music and culture is often forgotten.
"I find both reggae music and American blues to be similar with a different approach," Starkey told Jamaica Observer last year. "Very cleverly, Jamaican music is 'up' music with a serious message. US blues has a very similar message in the words but the music can be harder or more 'down', but both rock just as hard."