The well is finally dry, and this will be the last one of these. But six parts seemed like bad luck, so I decided to say this one is both 6 and 7, and who’s going to stop me? Bwahahaha!
Knowledge with Magic Lee “Scratch” Perry
Double Six U. Roy & the Upsetters
I’ve always gotten confused between I-Roy and U-Roy. Apparently U-Roy (Ewart Beckford) was the original, while I-Roy (Roy Samuel Reid) came along later and adopted a similar name and style. It’s a little bit of a Sonny Boy Williamson situation, though at least I-Roy had the decency to use a different initial, and both had long and successful careers.
Buckshot Dub (Pt. 1) The Rupie Edwards All Stars
Rupie Edwards, I’m told, is still alive and well and living in London. He’s into gospel now.
Much Smarter The Meditations
One hopes that the multiple grammatical errors in the chorus of this song are intentional and done with ironic intent. If so, a tip of the hat is in order.
Derrick Pop-the-Top Derrick Morgan
The title of this song is often written as “Top-the-Pop,” but since the voice at the beginning sounds like it’s saying “pop” then “top,” I’m going to go with that.
Clint Eastwood The Upsetters
I like this song but it is a bit unfair to Lee Van Cleef, an interesting cat who made good money pretending to lose showdowns to Clint Eastwood. In real life I suspect LVC was tougher.
Intensified ’68 Desmond Dekker & the Aces
This song won the Popular Song Competition at the Jamaica Independence Festival in 1968. Other winners have included:
1966: “Bam Bam” — The Maytals
1967: “Ba Ba Boom” — The Jamaicans
1969: “Sweet and Dandy” — The Maytals
1970: “Boom Shacka Lacka” — Hopeton Lewis
1971: “Cherry Oh Baby” — Eric Donaldson
1972: “Pomps and Pride” — Toots & the Maytals
1973: “Get in the Line” — Morvin Brooks
1974: “Play de Music” — Tinga Stewart
1975: “Hooray Festival” — Roman Stewart
1976: “Dance This Ya Festival” — Freddie McKay
Nebachudnezzer The Upsetters
“Nebuchadnezzar II, meaning ‘Nabu, watch over my heir’ (Biblical Hebrew: נְבוּכַדְנֶאצַּר Nəḇūḵaḏneʾṣṣar), also spelled Nebuchadrezzar II, was the second king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, ruling from the death of his father Nabopolassar in 605 BC to his own death in 562 BC…. The Babylonian captivity initiated by Nebuchadnezzar came to an end with the fall of Babylon to the Achaemenid king Cyrus the Great in 539 BC. Within a year of their liberation, the captured Jews returned to their homeland. Their liberation did little to erase the memory of five decades of imprisonment and oppression. Instead, Jewish literary accounts ensured that accounts of the hardship endured by the Jews, as well as the monarch responsible for it, would be remembered for all time.” —Wikipedia
Time (Version) Easy Star All-Stars
”As many others pointed out, this is a great song to listen to with a bong.” —YouTube commenter “LU VC”
Revelation Time Leo Graham & the Upsetters
It never fails: Just when I think there are no more Lee Perry treasures to unearth, I come across something new. This one is from a compilation called The Return of Sound System Scratch: More Lee Perry Dub Plate Mixes & Rarities: 1973 to 1979, which came out in 2011 but was not on my radar until this year. There’s some amazing stuff on there.
The Time Has Come Slim Smith
“this guy was a true friend of mine i will never for get when i used to check him when we use to sit on a corner of north street and spanishtown road and he sing us this song to me it was his last r.i.p my friend.” —YouTube commenter Norman Martin
Standing on the Hill Chenley Duffus
“It’s surprising how many of Jamaica’s biggest names from the ’60s have been so ignored by the archivists, and thus remain little known off the island. Shenley Duffus1is a prime example — with a long string of popular singles to his name but no album to cement his fame, he’s been relegated to a smattering of compilations, even as he continued to draw crowds back home right up to his death in 2002.” —Jo-Ann Greene, Allmusic
The Tide Is High The Paragons
The backing vocals of “Standing on the Hill” reminded me of something. I don’t think this is what I was thinking of, but it sounds pretty good here anyway.
Fisherman The Congos
“18. And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 19. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.” —Book of Matthew
Them Belly Full (But We Hungry) Bob Marley & the Wailers
The gist of this song is clear enough, but some of the lyrics remain opaque to me 35 years or so after I first heard them. Genius.com translates one line as “A yut a yook but yood nah nuff.” Which may be what the words actually are, but helps me not at all.
War ina Babylon Max Romeo
“Like the epochal Police & Thieves by Junior Murvin, which also originated at Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s Black Ark Studio and thus shares with this album Perry’s trademark dark, swampy ambience, War ina Babylon is something of a mountain on the reggae landscape. But what makes it so remarkable is not just the consistently high quality of the music — indeed, by 1976 one had come to expect nothing but the finest and heaviest grooves from Perry and his studio band, the Upsetters — rather, it’s the fact that Max Romeo had proved to be such a convincing singer of cultural (or ‘conscious’) reggae after several years of raking it in as a purveyor of the most abject slackness. (His ‘Wet Dream’ had been a huge hit in England several years earlier, and had been followed by such other delicacies as ‘Wine Her Goosie’ and ‘Pussy Watch Man.’) But there’s no denying the authority of his admonishing voice here, and the title track (which describes the violent mood during Jamaica’s 1972 general election) has remained a standard for decades.” —Rick Anderson, Allmusic
It’s a Jam in the Street John Holt
King of Kings Version The Upsetters
“King of Kings” can also refer to:
–A 1928 film by Cecil B. DeMille
–A 1961 film by Nicholas Ray
–A 1963 song by Jimmy Cliff
–A 2006 Motorhead song
–Henrik Larsson, a former professional footballer most noted for his time at Celtic F. C.
–An Irish Thoroughbred racehorse and sire
Buckshot Dub (Pt. 2) The Rupie Edwards All Stars
I’m guessing that this is an earlier version of “Double Six,” before the synthesizer arrived on the scene. I like them both.
Frozen Dub Augustus Pablo
If you search for “Frozen Dub” you’ll find that the movie Frozen has been dubbed into 43 languages including Malay, Slovenian, Thai, and Ukrainian. Truly do many things come to pass.
Dub Plate Pressure (excerpt) Lee Perry
“What a racket!” says Charlie Howard on YouTube. And he’s right — even by Lee Perry standards this is a messy, rambunctious, over-the-top production. For this reason I cut it a little short; but if you want to experience it in all its excessive glory:
Two Sevens Clash Culture
“Singer Joseph Hill said ‘Two Sevens Clash,’ Culture’s most influential record, was based on a prediction by Marcus Garvey, who said there would be chaos on 7 July 1977, when the ‘sevens’ met…. The liner notes of the album read: ‘One day Joseph Hill had a vision, while riding a bus, of 1977 as a year of judgment – when two sevens clash – when past injustices would be avenged. Lyrics and melodies came into his head as he rode and thus was born the song “Two Sevens Clash” which became a massive hit in reggae circles both in Jamaica and abroad. The prophecies noted by the lyrics so profoundly captured the imagination of the people that on July 7, 1977 — the day when sevens fully clashed (seventh day, seventh month, seventy-seventh year) a hush descended on Kingston; many people did not go outdoors, shops closed, an air of foreboding and expectation filled the city.’” —Wikipedia
Dreadlocks in Moonlight Lee Perry
“Perry wrote [‘Dreadlocks in Moonlight’] and originally intended Bob Marley to voice it. He cut a quick vocal which was meant to act as a guide for Marley, but Island boss Chris Blackwell was so taken with Scratch’s version, he offered to release it as a single as soon as he heard it. After Blackwell heard the song, he decided to stay at the Black Ark while Scratch finished mixing it instead of carrying on to a planned meeting with Bob Marley at his home. Blackwell’s decision possibly saved his life. For the night that ‘Dreadlocks in Moonlight’ was recorded – December 3, 1976 – was the night that gunmen made an attempt on Marley’s life by attacking his house at 56 Hope Road.” —Upsetter.net
Steppin’ Out of Babylon Marcia Griffiths
“Yes! She is the Empress and nothing less. The Reggae Matriarch who never fails to spark. In the recording studio or live on stage, she appeals to one and all, soothes any age. An I-Three harmony with the legendary Bob Marley and the Wailers, the indelible, universal reggae music ambassadors And trail blazers. For over 20 years, without fear, of being The reigning Queen on the reggae scene. The shocking, ‘Electric Boogie’ star of the world. A Jamaican girl, a musical pearl. The Honorable, Marcia L. Griffiths O.D.” —Marciagriffiths.net
Blow Away the Wicked (reprise)
You’ve probably forgotten by now, but this is where we came in. This thread has gone on a lot longer than I intended, but I can’t say I haven’t enjoyed it.
I Was Appointed Junior Murvin
“It wasn’t my work, I’m just an instrument working for the master computer X-I-X. It wasn’t I who create the sound, I was just the engineer. I’m the music dolly — it’s the music who do it.” —Lee “Scratch” Perry