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Sunday 26 February 2023

Half An Hour Of Lee Scratch Perry

I had the idea of a Lee Scratch Perry mix a long time ago but then baulked- where to start??? In the end I just went with my gut. Part of me then thought, having selected Soul Fire as the starting point, 'how on earth do you follow that?', but when I relaxed into it and just let it flow, it seemed much easier. There's an embarrassment of riches with Lee and I was tempted to include some post- classic roots/ dub 70s material- his song with the Beastie Boys, a Terence Trent D'arby remix or his stuff with The Orb- but decided eventually that was a mix for another Sunday. After finishing this mix I looked back through my folders and files and found hundreds of tracks and songs that could appear on it but by that point I decided to leave it alone. As it is, this is Lee Scratch Perry, The Upsetter, straight out of the Black Ark, for your Sunday morning. 

Half An Hour Of Lee Scratch Perry

  • Soul Fire
  • I Am The Upsetter
  • Roast Fish And Corn Bread
  • People Funny Boy
  • Disco Devil
  • Cloak And Dagger
  • Throw Some Water In
  • Scratch Walking
  • River Stone
Soul Fire, Throw Some Water In and Roast Fish And Corn Bread are all from Lee's 1978 album Roast Fish Collie Bread And Corn Bread, his first solo album to feature his vocals, recorded at his Black Ark studio, Kingston, Jamaica. Soul Fire is absurdly good, so far from home, so rich in sound and so righteous, as Perry sings, Soul fire! And we ain't got now water...'. Lee's unorthodox approach to production and instrumentation is typified nowhere more than the use of a cow mooing in Roast Fish And Corn Bread. Still startling. 

I Am The Upsetter was a single in 1968, recorded with legendary producer Joe Gibbs.

People Funny Boy was a 1969 single, an attack on Gibbs with whom Perry split the previous year. The crying baby, heard as Perry walked past a church was to catch the vibration of the people. People Funny Boy's fast chuggy beat and distinctly Jamaican sound was a game changer on the island, sending the sound systems and producers down an entirely new path. 

Disco Devil is a dubbed out version of the song he produced for Max Romeo in 1976, Chase the Devil, with the famous 'put on me iron shirt' line. 

Cloak And Dagger was recorded with Tommy McCook and The Upsetters in 1973, recorded on his TEAC four track at Black Ark. 

Scratch Walking was recorded with The Upsetters, dating from the Return Of The Super Ape album in 1978 and the last album he recorded with The Upsetters before he shut down Black Ark, is wonky instrumental reggae from another world. 

River Stone is the B-side dub of River, a Perry produced track by the group Zap Pow. In the mid- 90s Pressure Sounds released an album called Voodooism, thirteen Perry productions with their dubs on two sides of vinyl. Blew my mind then and still does now. 


Jake Sniper said...

Your right, after the glory that is Soul Fire and considering the amount of excellent LSP material. If you do make another mix, may I suggest something from Time Boom X De Devil Dead and From My Secret Laboratory. I discovered LSP through On U-Sound.

Swiss Adam said...

Thanks Jake.