This outstanding two-disc box set compiles some of reggae revolutionary Lee "Scratch" Perry's very first albums under one cover. Early-1970s recordings AFRICA'S BLOOD, RHYTHM SHOWER, and DOUBLE SEVEN (a compilation of Perry-produced singles featuring instrumentals and tracks with vocalists I Roy, U Roy, and David Isaacs) are all represented here. Although less overtly experimental than Perry's later '70s work (he would push toward generating an increasingly dense, effects-filled sound), these releases are still a revelation.
The tracks from AFRICA'S BLOOD and RHYTHM SHOWER are heavily steeped in American-influenced R&B and the chugging rocksteady of late-'60s Jamaica. Still, they bear traces of Perry's emerging dub experiments, with dramatically slowed tempos and washes of reverb, echo, and shuddering sound effects. Most of the tracks are instrumentals played by Perry's killer house band, the Upsetters, who mine an insistent, laid-back island groove. The DOUBLE SEVEN cuts feature guest toasters, some synthesizer-heavy jams, and even a cover of the Sam & Dave hit "Soul Man." This was the beginning of Perry's ascendancy to the top of the reggae recording game, and contains the seeds of all that was to come.