From the vaults of the legendary Black Ark studio comes an ultra-rare sampling of Lee Perry-produced masterpieces. Recorded from the mid to late 70's, this collection features previously unreleased gems from some of the "Upsetters" most militant andspiritually motivated artists. Lee Perry is a certifiable genius, and this treasure trove of top shots elevates his already legendary status to new heights. Tracks include: "Ketch Vampire" - Devon Irons, "Full Experience" - Aura Lewis & Full Experience,"Baffling Smoke Signal" - Lee Perry, "Down Here In Babylon" - Brent Dowe, "Natty Take Over" - The Upsetters, "Lizard Stick" - The Upsetters, "Ark Of The Covenant" - The Congos, "Set Up Yourself" - The Upsetter, "Garden Of Life" - Leroy Sibbles, "Feast OfThe Passover" - The Congos, "Reggae Music"- Hugh Blackwood & Dr. Alimantado, "I Was Appointed" - Jr Murvin.
When Lee "Scratch" Perry's Black Ark studios was gutted by fire, it was the Jamaican music equivalent of Sun Studios or Motown being incinerated. What music survived was a decidedly mixed bag; perhaps a fitting metaphor for the mysterious, mercurial--some would say half-mad--Perry himself. The dozen tracks here (almost all previously unreleased) hail from Black Ark's 1976-78 prime, a fertile period when Perry's studio dub mastery was at its zenith--and had already entrenched him as an influential touchstone amongst pop trend makers on both sides of the Atlantic. Powered by a hypnotic, deceptively laid-back rhythm groove (nicely underscored by an extended remix of Devon Irons'"Ketch Vampire"), Perry's spare production incorporates bluesy, studio-processed guitar heroics ("Full Experience") one moment and jazzy horn flourishes the next. The eight-minute plus mega-mix of Hugh Blackwood and Dr. Alimantado's "Reggae Music" explores the farther reaches of Perry's dub treat! ments, while an outtake of Jr Murvin's glorious "I Was Appointed" is set to another infectiously funky Perry electro-rhythm track. An anthology rife with revelations. -Jerry McCulley