Wednesday, November 27, 2013


A thundering 16 tracks produced by Lee Perry that takes us through the key period of his output at the Black Ark. Many of the tracks come from a single master tape. The remaining tracks are from dub plates. As re-issues go this is pretty remarkable. Maverick Productions that showcase Perry at his most imaginative.

1976 was the third year in the short life of the Black Ark studio. It also marked more than a decade since Lee ‘King’ Perry started in the business as a vocalist and it proved to be a defining year for the man’s music.

Scratch’s deal with Island Records meant that three albums and a dozen singles received the marketing and promotion from the coolest label in the mainstream UK & US markets. Scratch’s Black Ark studio enabled him to continually pursue developing his production signatures. The studio was now generating a unique sound with its bouncing bass, atmospheric and textured mix and its cultural currents. Perry himself was in creative overdrive – in his search for ‘that’ sound. Everything else, from paying bills to family life, slipped into the background as he drove himself and his musicians ever forward.

His studio built vision was delivered on vinyl & acetate, not live. Now, some 37 years later, Roaring Lion delivers unknown tunes and mixes from that crucial year. With a dozen tracks straight off a single master tape our set offers a unique snap-shot of Perry’s creative vibrations as Producer, and re-mixer, to the rising cultural religion of Rasta. The Black Ark was peaking in the red as he revved himself to full throttle and created his finest ever work. Scratch was the fizzing, joking ringmaster – whose studio buzzed with a positive vibe of creation and roared with the voices of the new kings of Kingston. By now Perry was ‘anointing’ master tapes with great clouds of weed smoke. There’s a trio of tracks from Jah Lion – the nom de guerre that Scratch gave the erstwhile Jah Lloyd, when he was recording at the Ark.

They are built from a lexicon that defined the era. ‘Generation from Creation’ uses the obscure Hombres ‘Africa’ to DJ over whilst ‘Truth and Rights’ finds Jah Lion chatting over Winston Heywood & the Hombres anti capitalist ‘Backbiting’.

This sets’ title track sets the tone with its open lines: ‘When the Lion Roar the weak heart tremble!’ It’s quintessential Black Ark with its bouncing bass and Augustus Pablo’s melodica lines drifting over the top. LION! And if you listen carefully you can hear Perry reminding Jah Lion of the next line. The Fantels ‘Stand & Look’ is a first issue of the track and its dub as Perry recorded and mixed it. A strange UK issue, with different mixes and running times, surfaced a while later but this is the real deal. ‘Speak the truth & speak it ever’ cries the Fantels as they seek witnesses to what’s happening on the streets: ‘Babylon kill a Rastaman & don’t even know the reason why!’

Roaring Lion is built around a 50 minute celebration of Perry’s developing production style, and cultural vision, as the Black Ark reached its pinnacle of creation.

Culled from Dub plates and rare vinyl offer a handful of tasty morsels for Scratch-a-holics! Junior Byles revoiced ‘Beat Down Babylon’ as a political tune in support of Michael Manley, who actively courted the rising Rasta following: a piece of social history. ‘Upsetting Walk’ is another mix of the classic Skylarking rhythm that only appeared on plate circa 1974. ‘Loco Negril’ is a bizarre combination of a tame Althea & Donna tune and Scratch’s mixing. He cranked it through his desk toward the end of the Black Ark’s life: it’s chock full of signature moves and effects. Extraordinary. Cut in 1975 ‘Natural Mystic’ is the original dubplate mix, of what became one of Bob Marley’s most iconic tunes when re-recorded for Island. Originally cut for Jah Wise’s ‘Tippertone’ Sound, it’s Bob with the Upsetters and Scratch at the controls. Later Perry added harmonies from the Meditations: this latter mix was used for the tracks first ever vinyl issue, posthumously, in 1981. (when it was mastered at the wrong speed and also used the flat studio take!)

Sixteen tracks most of which have never been released before. Alternative mixes of some of his better-known dubs make Roaring Lion possibly the strongest Lee Perry album we have ever released on Pressure Sounds. Excellent packaging on the CD and a double vinyl musical extravaganza!!!

01. Truths And Rights – Jah Lion & The Upsetters (previously unreleased)
02. Upsetters Shuffle – The Upsetters (unreleased Dub plate mix)
03. Roaring Lion – Jah Lion & The Upsetters (previously unreleased)
04. Pride – Augustus Pablo & The Upsetters (previously unreleased)
05. Loco Negril – Althea & Donna
06. Big Gal Sally – The Upsetters (unreleased mix)
07. Generation From Creation – Jah Lion & The Upsetters (previously unreleased)
08. Big Boy Wally – The Upsetters (unreleased mix)
09. Beat Down Comrade Man – Junior Byles & The Upsetters (previously unreleased Dub plate)
10. Stand And Look – The Fantels (unreleased mix)
11. Rocky Road Dub – The Upsetters (previously unreleased)
12. Natural Mystic – Bob & The Upsetters (unreleased original Upsetter Dub plate Mix)
13. Anasawa Dub – The Upsetters (unreleased mix)
14. Dub Dyon – The Upsetters (unreleased mix)
15. Emotional Dub – The Upsetters (unreleased mix)

16. Dub Stand – The Upsetters (unreleased mix)


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