Lee Perry

Pressure Sounds * PS19 * 1998

Produced & Directed by the Upsetter

Produced & Directed by the Upsetter

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Information

Lee Perry is one of the very select few... a Producer/Performer whose works carry the unmistakable imprint of the auteur - the clear and instantly recognisable evidence of one man's musical signature. In a long and remarkable career all Lee Perry productions can be recognised aurally, which given the multiplicity of record labels issuing his music without identification, makes researching and collecting a fascinating adventure. In this compilation, as in the previous Pressure Sounds release 'Voodooism', we retrieve some more highly sought after gems from the early to late seventies.

This compilation opens with a tune from King Burnett, later to contribute to the Congos, an easy going skank with the trademark Perry imprint. The version in a suitably mysterious dubwise fashion credits "organist G Adams". The lead instrument is of course, a trombone.

'Zion' by The Flames is one of those songs which slide in and hook the listener with a seemingly effortless groove (The Flames are thought to be an early incarnation of Winston Jarrett and The Righteous Flames). The dub floats along on a tugging bass-line with typical Upsetter style keyboard embellishments.

'Bike No License' by Easton Clarke employs a harder rhythm under a lyric dealing with the perils of bike riding during a night curfew. Again the familiar Upsetter keyboards are to the fore. The dub features a retreating echo so beloved by Lee Perry fans.

The Heptones, in a long and illustrious career, issued some of their finest works under the direction of The Upsetter. Their great classic 'Sufferer's Time' the original Black Art 7" of which has yet to be re-released, stands as one of my all time favourite Perry productions. Here we have a the original Upsetter 45 version of 'Crying Over You' recorded at the same sessions that gave us 'Mr President' and 'I Shall Be Released' with the distinctive horn section which marked that particular group of releases.

The Silvertones, probably best known for their Perry-produced 'Rejoicing Skank', contribute the little known 'Financial Crisis' complete with matching dub version. The rhythm track is an exercise in stark simplicity which still carries the strong imprint of a Lee Perry creation.

Perry gives Winston Heywood and The Hombres their own distinctive sound on 'Backbiting' a plea for an end to violence and war with a superb dub. Taken at a slower tempo than 'Africa' on the 'Voodooism' compilation (Pressure Sounds 009) this is serious Black Ark treasure of the highest rank. The sound changes for the Meditations' 'Houses Of Parliament' a rare 7" on the Black Art label, with a magnificent dub featuring the abrupt vocal shut-off that featured in much of Perry's works at that time. "Serious heavy roots tune" as Nathan The Terrible would say!

George Faith's classic album 'To Be A Lover' is well known to Jamaican enthusiasts here we feature a scarce 33rpm 7" on the Black Art label called 'Guide Line'. 'Scratch' has given the singer a big sound under the vocal complete with strange bubblings, a female chorus, a locomotively heavy backbeat and once again his own unmistakable signature.

Junior Murvin, thanks to the essential 'Police and Thieves' album, is one of the best known artists to emerge from Lee Perry's studio. This is yet another version of the title track which has strangely remained largely unknown. Here the lyrics deal with an escalation of the situation found in the original - now its nuclear weapons we are dealing with - with Junior's beautiful soaring vocals set to a heavyweight rhythm, coupled with a dub known by the unfathomable title of 'Bingo Kid'. His 'False Teachings' (a different version from the one on the 'Police and Thieves' album) is another gem from this highly collectable singer. The dub is delightful.

This has been another excursion into the Black Ark vaults - a voyage into the buried treasure of the man with many names, all of them identified by the revolutionary sounds produced by the man Jesus Rainford Perry - auteur extrodinaire.

Roger Eagle
March 1998

Reviews

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