Lee "Scratch" Perry

Revolution Dub

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In terms of value for money, this 30-minute collection isn't exactly world-class. But in terms of musical quality, you couldn't do much better -- it's just about as good an encapsulation of the art of super-producer Lee "Scratch" Perry and his studio band, the Upsetters, as you'll find. Originally issued in the mid '70s on the Creole label (and reissued at least twice since, on Crocodisc and Lagoon), this album finds Perry at the peak of his somewhat creepy powers, taking such classic songs as Junior Byles' "The Long Way" and Ricky & Bunny's "Bush Weed Corn Trash" and subjecting them to the deconstructionist rigors of dub -- the sound careening wildly between the left and right channels, bass and drums dropping out suddenly, leaving only guitar and snippets of sung vocals, while Perry adds his own apocalyptic imprecations and off-the-wall witticisms on top. What makes these tracks so powerful is the juxtaposition of Perry's insane production approach with the Upsetters' utterly rock-solid grooves, grooves which not even the chief Upsetter himself can dislodge. Essential.

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