on 10 February 2003
This is apparently a long-lost Lee Perry album which was recorded at Perry's Black Ark studio in 1977. It has an authentic looking cover, with the sort of artwork you might expect to see on an Upsetter release from this period, and allegedly features a band that includes the Barrett brothers, Junior Murvin, Winston Wright and Ansell Collins....
It contains some relentlessely heavy dub music, splattered with the kind of wacky sound fx we associate with late-70's Perry, and most of the 14 tracks certainly have the trademark Black Ark sound....
In fact, anyone familiar with Perry's 1970's output will recognise many of the rhythms, as they're versions of well-known Upsetter productions widely available elsewhere, eg track 3 ("Lion") is a version of "Words" by Anthony Sangie Davis, track 4 ("Rasta man") is a version of Watty Burnett's "Open the gate", track 9 ("Money") is a version of Danny Hensworth's "Mr money man" etc....
So what's the problem?
Well....if this really is a genuine Lee Perry album from the Black Ark era, then why doesn't he get a single credit for writing, arranging or producing any of it?
According to the sleevenotes, all the tracks have been written by Desmond Bryan and Aisha Morrison, arranged by Bryan and produced by Morrison.
Well....Aisha Morrison is Lee Perry's ex-wife, who (as well as being an artist and producer in her own right) happens to possess a substantial collection of Perry's recordings, and I suppose you can't blame her for releasing some of them to make a few bucks for herself.
"Black ark in dub" is an expanded reissue of an album that originally came out in the early 1980's and is one of a huge number of unauthorised Perry releases on the market (and not the only one that Morrison is responsible for). Although it does contain some bona fide Upsetter selections (alongside tracks which have little or no involvement from Perry), he clearly had nothing to do with it's release and just as clearly isn't going to make any money out of it. Bryan & Morrison's claims to have written all the music are completely false and their "arrangement and production" work amounts to some overdubbing and remixing of previously released material.
How much of the album's overall sound is down to Bryan & Morrison and how much to the Upsetter is debatable. Based on some direct comparisons I'd say it varies from track to track (although the former are definitely responsible for most of the annoying synth noises which are a prominent feature throughout). For example, apart from the presence of some low-key electronic bubbling sounds, there's no real difference between the aforementioned "Rasta man" and Perry's original dub of "Open the gate" (other than the fact that "Rasta man" was obviously edited with a butcher's knife!). But if you listen to track 8 ("Loving") - a version of George Faith's "Guide Line" - and Perry's original dub of this track, the contrast is much starker.
The album does contain some great music, but why buy it when there are plenty of authentic Perry releases out there? Give the Upsetter his due and stay clear of bogus product bearing his name....
on 12 July 2004
Very little to say about this album, which isn't a "Scratch"- endorsed release (look closely at the the sleeve notes).
Apart from the first two tracks (and I am convinced that the titles are mixed up), it is a tedious affair. Really boring tracks that sound like stoned jams. It is one of the examples of cash-ins on Lee Perry that should be avoided.
Try the website that lists the dodgy releases, as this is one of them. I actaully bought it (now sold) before my quality control ability developed.