A totally unique release
Mick Sleeper, Oct 01, 2007
Wayne Jobson has led an interesting life. Born in Jamaica, his extended family have played crucial "behind the scene" roles in Jamaican music: his cousin Dickie Jobson formed Island Records with Chris Blackwell and his cousin Diane Jobson was Bob Marley's lawyer for many years. Encouraged by Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, young Wayne took a few small steps into the music business. He formed the bands Little Madness and Native, recording a handful of songs that have remained obscure and mostly unreleased. In 1977, Jobson found himself at the Black Ark studio where Lee Perry's flamboyant command of the mixing board made a strong impression. Jobson nervously told Perry that he had some songs to sing, and Perry immediately took a shine to him. The result was six melancholy songs that were never released. On the one hand, this is puzzling given the strength of the material. On the other hand, Jobson's abstract lyrics and Perry's sullen arrangements ensured that these songs would never be hits. For an average reggae fan, Rockstone is going to be too dark and brooding; for serious Lee Perry fans, it's a revelation. Reminiscent of the equally austere Ras Michael recordings that resulted in Love Thy Neighbour, these are austere songs of sadness that smoulder and sizzle with the trademark Black Ark sound. A totally unique release.
jackie, Oct 11, 2007
Absolutely amazing!!! - many thanks to pressure sounds for releasing this gem...
peace & love
It's a deep experience
Prof B, Oct 18, 2007
It has been an interesting few months for Upsetter fanatics, intent on picking up minor and lost classics from the Black Ark period -- First Makasound dug up the commendable Slickers record ( John Martyn also cut versions to some of the songs interestingly enough ), and now Pressure Sounds have re released the intriguing Native "Rock stone" album.
If you want something unusual, fresh, a serious departure from "roots by numbers" , this eerie album will fascinate -- it is spacious, psychotropic and hallucinatory, with deep lyrical metaphor, all musical conventions set free by the classic Gnostic Black Ark treatment.
Native had the following to say about the period with Scratch -- "One night in August 1977 Boris Gardiner took me on a trip to see Lee 'Scratch' Perry at his Black Ark Studio....The Black Ark was like a medieval space station with Scratch at the controls voicing the U.K. artist Robert Palmer. I watched in amazement as Scratch drove the mixing board ( and )extracted his mystical sound. ( All Lee Perry had was a ) little four track machine -- so you can be sure that it was the MAN and not the machine that was creating the magic here!"
The opener, "Rockstone" has a deep garage psyche vocal melody. A cyclical cymbal sound reminiscent of "A Love Supreme" gives the tune space to breathe, lifting the composition higher than the claustrophobic lyrics' preoccupations, centring as they do around tales of prisons,cloisters,loneliness,seclusion,sun beaten arid places and persecution.
"Black Tracks Version" sounds very similar to dark and wintry mid 70's inner city UK dub -- Think echoes of Mackabee's UK production, "Nation Fiddler" on the Congo's label.
"In a Strange Land" opens with an Elvin Jones style cymbal shimmer, before plunging into a narrative of bleak alienation and isolation in a composition that has echoes of a Byrds melody -- perhaps the free spirited, anarchistic "Wasn't Born to Follow."
"Late September in May" is full on psychotropic mournful and rainy psychedelia, with edges of PIL's "Metal Box" period.
"King Solomon's Mines" is Fela Kuti in collision with Krautrockers Magma and Holger Czukay, with a dash of Cymande's "The Message" and "Bra."
"In the Land of Make Believe" is Black Ark's take on serious Prog Rock freakiness, with a cosmic lyric, bringing to mind an overcast day in Ladbroke Grove circa mid 70's .
The whole album just gets weirder and weirder -- "Meet Mr Nobody", with its loneliness and sense of urban separation reminds the listener of a nightmarish take on Turgenev's "Diary of a Superfluous Man" -- take in the lyrics, which are pure Kafka and Gogol's "diary of a Madman"
"Well, Mr nobody -- do you think you've been convicted in this trial ( with ) faceless names in every file. Look at all the people, with their names and their careers -- saved from all the poverty -- yet hounded by its fears. "
The version to the tune closes the album with pure psyche roots garage rock oblivion, Black Ark style.
Native's music is indispensable, deeply weird, heady music.If you are a roots purist, with a conventional, strictly orthodox mind -- it may not interest.
But if you are willing to check out uncharted, even Gnostic territories, it's a deep experience.
SKOTPENGELLY, Nov 08, 2007
Fabulous recordings. Melancholy,hopeful, spirited, intimate, avant garde, fresh, punk. I am an afficiando of Jamaican music and reggae in general, yet i had never heard of this arist. When i saw the cover i actually created an imaginary artist, the first white dread, a guy calling himself Native who went down to Jamaica to record with Lee Perry! The truth, which i found out upon getting this treasure of a c.d package home, is WAY, WAY more interesting.
Native - Rockstone
Rankin' John, Jan 06, 2008
Wayne Jobson – born in Jamaica, studied in England, and latterly influential as a DJ in the United States – cut several significant tracks in the late 70s under the band name of Native. This new collection of hitherto unreleased tracks includes some long sought-after recordings from Lee Perry’s Black Ark studio and they now appear as part of Pressure Sounds’ apparent mission to ensure the world has access to some of the unwritten pages of reggae. The sound here is roots and rock band, not dancehall, with the immediate feel of a live performance: well-produced rather than overly-produced. Vocals throughout have a melodic and strangely English sound, the mood is sombre and doomy, the instrumentation is sharp and clear. The album opens with Rockstone, a slow, chanting introduction. It’s then straight into Black Tracks, followed by its Version, heavy on percussion and with a driving bass holding it together. There are some unexpected songs in here. The characteristically rather miserable Late September in May, if shorn of its reggae rhythm, could almost be a mournful middle of the road ballad (and a very good one). It gives way to an excellent Version, strong on distortion and bass. King Solomon’s Mines is a synthesised Eastern bass-driven instrumental, while Piano Country is a strange piano-led instrumental with sharp skanking guitar up front. The penultimate track –Meet Mr Nobody – leads nicely into one of the best Versions around, the backing track transformed into a wall of bass and echo, sounding like something forged deep in Dr Satan’s Echo Chamber itself. An odd but brilliant collection. CD release (UK) 27th September 2007.
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