story of the Gladiators is in many ways a
mini-version of the story of Reggae Music
and it starts with the name: nobody really
knows the man who came up with the idea.
It was back in the 1960's, when founder
Albert Griffiths was talking with someone
who had just seen the movie "Ben Hur"
and suggested the name
"Gladiators" to him.
The Gladiators started recording as a
vocal trio, recorded the classic "Hello
Carol" for Coxsone Dodd's equally
classic Studio One, became a duo, turned
into a trio again, and has now been a
full-blown band for well over a decade.
The original Gladiators were not just
singers, but also skillful musicians who
would on a regular basis tour and record for
a number of producers and singers. Yabby You
used the musical skills of the Gladiators
for his "Jah Vengeance" album.
U-Roy would ride their riddims very well on
Jah Son Of Africa, the list goes on and on.
The group would also be on the forefront
of the first major Reggae wave that would
hit the UK, back in the 1970's. Labels like
Island and Virgin would show more than a
superficial interest for Jamaican Music
resulting in some superb releases for the
Trenchtown Mix-Up was the result of the
Gladiators signing for Virgin's Reggae
Frontline label. The label was known for
releasing a harder kind of Reggae that would
do very well with the upcoming Punk crowd in
Originally released in 1978, the CD
re-issue sounds only a little bit better
than the original vinyl. This is some great
Cutting edge riddim guitars, Sly and
Robbie playing some killer drum and bass,
and hey, there's even a little DUB mixing
The album contains a number of re-makes
of tracks they did for Studio One (the
classic Hello Carol) as well as material
that was then new. Additionally, there's a
couple of Marley covers on the album too.
Great compositions, well worked-out and
full of deep spiritual lyrics: Trenchtown
Mix-Up has it all.
This is the kind of music that is food
for thought as well as nurture of the soul.
The kind of music that stays with you. The
kind of music that can be reviewed almost 30
years after it's original release and still