Various artists album review
Lee Scratch Perry ~ Born In The Sky
Motion Records
01 - 03 - 2001

Tracking list

  1. The Upsetters - Goosey Version (Take 2) +++
  2. Roland Alphonso & The Upsetters - Roll On
  3. The Upsetters - Prove It Version (Take 1) +++
  4. The Upsetters - All Combine Parts 1 & 2
  5. The Upsetters - Sign Of The Times (Take 7) +++
  6. Cynty & The Monkees - Lady Lady
  7. Lee Perry & The Upsetters - Enter The Dragon (Alternate Take) +++
  8. Prince Jazzbo - Good Things
  9. The Versatiles - Ungrateful Set
  10. The Upsetters - Ungrateful Skank
  11. Susan Cadogan - Do It Baby
  12. Dread Locks Faye - Back Wey
  13. The Upsetters - Faye Dread Locks
  14. Jimmy Riley - I Man Stand Still
  15. Stranger & Gladdy - Conqueror
  16. The Silvertones - Bring It On Home +
  17. Lee Perry - Bury The Razor
  18. The Upsetters - Cheat Weston Head
  19. The Ethiopians - Life Is A Funny Thing
  20. The Ethiopians - Prophecy
  21. The Silvertones - Feel All Right (Rehearsal) +
  22. Cynty & The Monkees - Lady Lady (Alternate Mix) ++

Previous unreleased song +
Previous unreleased instrumental ++
Previous unreleased take +++

Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 4

London based Motion Records has unleashed their latest compilation set "Born In The Sky" (subtitled : Upsetter At The Controls 1969-1975) as a 22 track CD with 20 page booklet, also available as 23 track gatefold double vinyl. The latter containing 2 bonus tracks not to be found on the compact disc, while the CD actually includes a bonus track that isn't featured on the LP set. Approximately a third of the tracks on this CD were mastered from Perry’s recently unearthed original 1/4" tapes and include seven previously unreleased cuts including two previously unreleased songs and five previously unreleased alternate takes. The rest of the tracks on the album have not appeared on CD before and have been painstakingly mastered from rare vinyl singles. The excellent booklet contains detailed sleeve notes which were written by Dave Katz, whose biography of Lee Perry was published recently. In addition to the main notes the history of each track is described in turn, which certainly will be appreciated by many reggae fans as info regarding reggae recordings in general is often very hard to find. Furthermore the track order as well as the tracks included on "Born In The Sky" provide a perfect impression of Lee Perry's multi-faceted progression in his formative years as an independent producer from the end of the sixties to early 1974. All this makes this compilation one of the most outstanding releases among the overwhelming amount of compilation sets which have also collected Lee Perry produced material from that era.
The first five tracks are all instrumentals featuring illustrious musicians like Gladdy Anderson, Roland Alphonso, Winston Wright, Ronnie Bop and Val Bennett. All tracks are very enjoyable efforts with Roland Alphonso's "Roll On" being one of the best and "All Combines Part 1 & 2" the most remarkable as it incorporates cameo appearances of riffs fron the Wailers' "Duppy Conqueror" and Max Romeo's "Maccabee Version".
"Lady Lady" - actually one of the versions which Perry recorded of this American hit written by Eugene Record from the Chi-Lites - is the first vocal track, which is delivered by a certain Cynthia. The riddim of "Lady Lady" is also utilized for the next track, an alternate take of "Enter The Dragon". Then one of the first tunes the deejay called Prince Jazzbo cut with Lee Perry, "Good Things", which happens to be a fine deejay cut of Leo Graham's "Jump It Up" (aka "We Have Got A Date"). Two great tracks are the Versatiles' "Ungrateful Set" and the 1974 at Black Ark recorded outstanding version side of a later re-cut. Susan Cadogan's version of Millie Jackson's "Do It Baby" belongs to one of the finest songs this sultry voiced singer recorded with Perry. Dread Locks Faye's "Back Wey" is a nice contrast to Susan Cadogan's "Do It Baby" as the listener is treated to a different mood with this deejay tune from rude girl Faye Bennett. Jimmy Riley's "I Man Stand Still" - a somewhat autobiographical song - is an unique as well as strong effort, which is followed by the outrageous combination tune "Conqueror" from Stranger Cole & Gladdy Anderson featuring Earl Morgan and Barry Llewellyn from The Heptones on backing vocals. Sam Cooke's classic "Bring It On Home' gets a decent interpretation from the Silvertones. Lee Perry's "Burry The Razor" and its dubwise cut "Cheat Weston Head" belong to the highlights of this compilation set providing a glimpse of great things in later years to come. Both Ethiopians' tracks are excellent efforts, while "Feel All Right" - although an acoustic rehearsal - and the alternate mix of "Lady Lady" are notable pieces.
"Born In The Sky" gathers together some of the finest tracks produced by Lee Perry before he established his name as a topnotch and innovative producer in the roots era. Truly well worth checking out for "Scratch" fans and newcomers alike!

Teacher & Mr. T.