Saturday, December 15, 2007

Lee Perry & the Upsetters- (1976)- " Super Ape "

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Despite clocking in at a whopping 4 feet eleven inches, Lee Scratch Perry looms head and shoulders over reggae’s history, much like the gorilla on the cover of this album. Not only is Perry regarded as having taken roots dub to new depths, many people (likely including Perry) would assert that he invented it himself. Noted both as an engineer and producer, it was at his Black Ark studios that Bob Marley recorded some of his earliest tracks (which Perry then sold to Trojan Records, allegedly pocketing the cash and effectively derailing his relationship with Marley). Always flamboyant (his attires suggests Sun Ra’s Salvation Army stylee), Perry presided over the Upsetters, a number of whom would come to greater notoriety as Wailers. The Upsetters had performed on Max Romeo’s earlier success, War Ina Babylon (also on Hip-O Select), and Perry, who seemed to inhabit the studio 24/7, felt it was time to unleash his studio band as a performing unit in its own right. Comprised of a half-dozen-strong percussion session, a horn section of similar size, and several vocalists including Prince Jazzbo and Perry himself, the Upsetters took a dark and swampy turn on this album. The congas and bass hold down the bottom end with an almost ominous interplay, and the vocals swirl in and out in a tropical fever state. When they put the album’s motto on the front cover, proclaiming “Dub It Up Blacker Than Dread,” they weren’t fooling. As it states in the opening verse of Zion’s Blood,” I and I shall never fade away.” By making albums such as Super Ape, Lee Perry guaranteed it.


1- Zion Blood
2- Croaking Lizard
3- Black Vest
4- Underground Root
5- Curly Dub
6- Dread Lion
7- Three In One
8- Patience Dub
9- Dub Along
10- Super Ape