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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 24 August 2010
This compilation on the revived TROJAN imprint might seem to be the "same old, same old" on first glance especially if you look at the price and think, "How much quality can there be at that price?". Well, I'm pleased to report this is probably the best Scratch compilation since Arkology over 10-years ago, it's really that good. You have to wonder when Trojan/Universal know what they've got on their hands when they dispense a gem like this for what is literally pennies, however I for one am not complaining. The music itself is a mix of the familiar and obscure and some stuff that's been unavailable for many years. No matter what the provenance of the music what really counts is how it sounds and they've done a bang up job and making this sound extraordinarily good even for the ultra-rare stuff which has obviously been mastered from vinyl sources (I suspect sound restoration technology has been applied to 'clean up' the sound so as to remove 'pops' and 'clicks' and the like but not 'hiss' so the original character of the music remains, a very nice respectful job basically). The compilation is almost a "best-of-the-best" taking the premium tracks from the [excellent] Pressure Sound releases "Voodooism" (eg.'Better Future' by Errol Walker) and "Produced and Directed by The Upsetter" (eg. 'Guideline' by George Faith) and "Divine Madness" (eg. 'Stand Up' by Eric Donaldson). Even better it has revived tracks from the seminal TROJAN compilations "Build The Ark" and "Open The Gate" which have been deleted for at least 10-years. Most of these tracks in the original compilations had very rough 'vinyl' sound which has been miraculously spruced up (most noticeably on the absolutely brilliant 'Travelling' by Debra Keese and 'Mr Money Man' by Danny Hensworth, two of Scratch's best ever productions). About two thirds of "Build the Ark" is here (minus the dubs) with almost all the rest on the concurrent, and similarly brilliant, TROJAN compilation "Stand and Give Praise" (another must buy), less of "Open the Gate" is here but they've picked the primo tracks such as 'Misty Babylon' by The Heptones so not much that is essential from that set is missing. There are also tracks I've never heard (or heard of!) before such as the version of 'Be Thankful' by Bunny Clarke and in the main they are worthwhile. The packaging is nicely done, no sign of 'cost saving' even here with good cover-art, a reasonable set of liner notes and full track credits. When all said and done for any reggae fan this set is a must twice over, let us hope TROJAN come out with more stuff of this quality in the coming months and years.
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on 20 September 2010
An essential purchase for anyone at all into reggae and Lee Perry. Old favourites along with some real rarities - I've been listening to roots reggae since the early 80s, but there are still some tracks on this I've never heard before. Not every track's a winner, as is usuallly the case with compilations, but this has a pretty high strike rate. There's a vast amount of Scratch material out there - quite a lot of it substandard - but this is the real deal.
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on 28 December 2010
I've already got about 50 Lee Perry CDs but this is one of the best, a great selection of stuff, much of which doesn't seem to be available elsewhere. You can't go wrong for a fiver.
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on 20 December 2010
Anyone with a remote interest in Lee Perry or reggae history needs to buy this album.Some good reviews already that sum this set up nicely.For the price this is really excellent value.PS It also contains Curly Locks wich must be one of the best Perry (if not reggae) rhythmns ever!
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on 14 August 2012
This album is fantastic value and features a huge variety of styles encompassing all the many strings to Lee 'Scratch' Perry's bow, from the hazy otherworldly pop of Susan Cadogan to full-on dread roots. At this price no reggae, roots or dub fan should be without it.

I don't have the more expensive 'Arkology' collection but I would advise picking this up for cheaper and then moving onto the many great individual albums that Scratch has created - the Super Apes, War Inna Babylon, Kung Fu Dub, Police and Thieves, Blackboard Jungle Dub, Heart Of The Congos, Right Time, the list goes on! If you don't need that sort of a stepping stone (i.e. if you're already a Scratch fan) then the sound quality here is excellent so it's well worth picking up as a concise encapsulation of Perry's brilliance. It would also be a perfect way to introduce a friend to the maverick genius of Lee 'Scratch' Perry.
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on 31 January 2012
Really good overview of the Black Ark roots reggae productions of Lee Perry.Some lesser knowns which really shine.Hard to believe that one bloke did all of these.Very good reggae with invention.
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on 25 November 2012
Lee Perry's best moments as producer in the Black Ark era.I prefer disk 1,but well worth the money overall. Why no Congo's?
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on 8 December 2010
Like a lot of Perry compilations this has several tracks you'll probably want to skip, but that will still leave with you an album's worth of good stuff. I've got a fair amount of Lee Perry compilations and almost all of that good stuff is things I don't have elsewhere.
Good mastering quality.
For the price a must have for Perry fans if you are missing most of these tracks. Not the best compilation if this is your first Perry purchase though.
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on 29 September 2010
Just thought I'd better let people know that the version of Stand up by Eric Donaldson is NOT the Upsetter version - don't know what version it is, but it's rubbish compared to the Black Ark version - get it together Trojan!
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on 24 July 2014
If you love reggae you will love this album from one of the original and best producers, diverse selection from lovers to dub a must for any decent collection
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