on 5 November 2001
This excellent and normally very hard to find gem is a must for any fans of reggae/funky music.Under the supervision of mentalist producer and inventor of dub, Lee Scratch Perry (a.k.a Pipecock Jackson) and with the help of Perry's Upsetters group, Romeo made a classic of Jamaican music.The hit, 'War In A Babylon' features but the outanding track is most definitely 'I Chase The Devil'.In this song Romeo sings how he will 'put on an iron shirt and chase the devil outta earth'.This song was sampled heavily by the Prodigy for their breakbeat hit 'Outa Space' and used more recently in a trance dance track; none of them compare to the orignal!!!!The album is worth buying for this track alone but there are still many other great smoking tunes such as 'Norman' and 'Smokey Room'.Buy this album, you will not be dissapointed.
on 11 December 2006
Like lots of Reggae/ Carribean Soul this album really strikes a chord when you are under the influence. The groove is somewhere between Church singer, Soul rebel hornplay and slow reggae drift groove to your average man in the street.
But then you listen to the album as a whole while really relaxed and you actually wonder how an album can be created that is so utterly timeless and even verging on futuristic! I believe this album was one of the first Reggae albums to use a drum machine and it augments the Dub styling and core Religious values along with the knowledge that Max Romeo was a down and dirty dub artist before and after.
The album is centred on inner peace and making things right and I wonder if the album is slightly introspective of the artist, because it is incredibly personable, I felt Max was a friend giving me close knowledge of what he had fought against in life. The man has Rastafari values and it shines through in his communication.
Then you wake up next day, listen again and wonder why it was great last night under the influence.
Can't give favourite songs on this album because it's 60 minutes of atmosphere, not individual highlights.
on 13 April 2012
I recently found myself looking at a feature in retro music magazine Mojo, which detailed their reader's choice of the Top 10 Lee 'Scratch' Perry Albums. Their selections included some of his own vocal and instrumental efforts - Return of Django, Super Ape, and Roast Fish, Collie Weed & Corn Bread. And there were also some of his productions there as well - Beat Down Babylon by Junior Byles, Police & Thieves by Junior Murvin, and Heart of the Congos by The Congos. I don't disagree with any of them. But I was surprised to see no sign of this 9 song collection of roots reggae, which was co-written, produced and engineered by Perry - with Romeo - at his Black Ark studio.
Why? This 1976 release includes the majestic 'I Chase The Devil', which successfully matches the springiest of bass lines to apocalyptic biblical imagery. Its quality is reflected in the fact that it has been sampled and covered by a wide range of artists, including Madness and The Prodigy. There are also some powerful protest songs to be found here as well. The anthemic title track, which speaks of the political turmoil in Jamaica during the 1972 General Election, exemplifies them well. And the sinuous musical rhythms laid out by The Upsetters, on the likes of the languorous 'Smile Out A Style', show Perry's house band at the peak of their powers. Therefore, I can well understand why the website Allmusic has described War Ina Babylon as "Essential to any reggae collection."