Lee "Scratch" Perry & the Upsetters

The Upsetter Box

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This Upsetter Box bundles together three Upsetters' albums -- 1971's Africa's Blood, 1973's Rhythm Shower, and the following year's Double Seven, all compiled by Lee "Scratch" Perry for Trojan Records. Africa's Blood was arguably the weakest of the trio, with 11 less than inspirational instrumentals, alongside a fine vocal number from the Hurricanes and a pair of sizzling DJ cuts from Dave Barker and Winston Price, the latter soon to be better known as Dr. Alimantado. Although the instrumentals do feature some fine organ and harmonica work, most fans expected more adventurous material from The Upsetter. They'd receive it on Rhythm Shower, a far more innovative set which included a trio of DJ cuts, as well as seven instrumentals, most of which were remixed, cut up, and dubbed down. However, it was Double Seven that was undeniably the most accomplished of these three albums. Including a quartet of excellent DJ cuts -- a pair each from U-Roy and I-Roy, a double dose of singer David Isaacs, with Perry himself tackling Sam & Dave's "Soul Man" in appropriately funky fashion, the rest of the set comprises splendid instrumentals. "Kentucky Skank" is the most inspired, "Cold Weather" the funniest, while the Moog drenched "Long Sentence" and "Iron Side" both take reggae into the space age. Perry was laying the foundation for all he would accomplish during the roots era, making this set is a fascinating look back at a crucial period before The Upsetter took the final leap and opened his own legendary Black Ark studio.