Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

Ape-ology (Super Ape / Return Of The Super Ape / Roast Fish, Collie Weed & Cornbread)
Lee Perry & The Upsetters
Trojan
2CD
June 30, 2007

Track list
Disc 1 - Scratch The Super Ape
  1. Dread Lion
  2. Zion Blood
  3. Three In One
  4. Curley Dub
  5. Patience Dub
  6. Super Ape
  7. Croaking Lizard
  8. Black Vest
  9. Underground Root
  10. Dub Along
    Roast Fish, Collie Weed & Cornbread
  11. Soul Fire
  12. Throw Some Water In
  13. Evil Tongues
  14. Curly Locks
  15. Ghetto Sidewalk
  16. Favourite Dish
  17. Free Up The Weed
  18. Big Neck Police
  19. Yu Squeeze My Panhandle
  20. Roast Fish & Cornbread
Disc 2 - Return Of The Super Ape
  1. Dyon-Anasaw
  2. Return Of The Super Ape
  3. Tell Me Something Good
  4. Bird In Hand
  5. Crab Years
  6. Jah Jah Ah Natty Dread
  7. Psyche & Trim
  8. The Lion
  9. Huzza A Hana
  10. High Rankin Sammy
  11. Clive Hylton - From Creation (Bonus Track)
  12. Upsetters - Creation Dub I (Bonus Track)
  13. Upsetters - Creation Dub II (Bonus Track)
  14. Upsetters - Creation Dub III (Bonus Track)
  15. Lee Perry - Roast Fish & Corn Bread (JA Single mix) (Bonus Track)
  16. The Upsetter - Corn Fish Dub (JA Single mix) (Bonus Track)
  17. U Roy - OK Corral (Bonus Track)
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5
There has already been a lot of controversy about the Trojan re release of these three classic Black Ark albums -- is there really much difference from the Island version and other label releases? Was there much point at all in reissuing these three records? Why bother re buying it? What's all the fuss about anyway?

Well, there are three albums compiled here -- in the case of the first album, "Super Ape", the hype has been that Trojan have dug up the "original JA mixes". After repeated listenings, it has to be said, it is hard to tell the difference. But, the bass seems to have been mastered to create a different impression from the Island versions. The Trojan versions seem, harsher, heavier, more punchy and booming, whilst the Island versions sound cleaner, smoother somehow. Also, the track ordering is different, faithful to Scratch's original conception of how the record should be heard.

The Trojan version of the second album "Return Of The Super Ape" however, is so immediately obviously far superior to earlier releases -- I have had the album on a number of different presses -- which all sounded horrible, due to off centre pressings, which was nothing short of an insult to the buyer, rendering half the record unplayable. The "hiss" levels were also intolerable on some earlier versions of the record.

In contrast, the Trojan version sounds, not perfect, but pretty good -- and it's a particular pleasure to hear the title track in all its ambience and surreality.

The total hands down winning point of the record is in the inclusion of one of the strangest Upsetter tunes you are likely to hear -- Apparently unreleased before now, "Ok Corral" is a harsh cut to "Return Of The Super Ape"'s title track, but with sax and echo edited out, leaving the bass line and percussion to dominate, smashing bottles and rattling chains providing a bizarre undercurrent ambience. U Roy mixes an Old Testament narrative with his own take on spaghetti Western vengeance themes to create a wild poetry. It's worth noting here that U Roy's approach here is nothing like the U Roy chat scat style we are typically used to, but instead a harsh, spoken style. it is reminiscent to his earlier tune for Scratch, "Rightful Ruler" though it's a far darker narrative and metaphor. The track has been a favourite to some of us for around 25 years -- so it's a real rush to hear, contemplate and treasure a new version.

That U Roy track alone is easily worth the entire album's cost in my view -- but on top of that, also added here are four very heavy cuts to Clive Hilton's "From Creation." These four cuts are probably drawn from a dub plate, perhaps from a London sound system source, though their origin is not made clear.

Of course, many of you will have been listening to these albums for about 30 years -- but the Trojan reissues make for a pretty essential purchase in my view, due to the new mastering and the addition of the five or six new mixes.