Various artists album review
Lee 'Scratch' Perry ~ Cutting Razor
April 26 - 2003

Tracking list

  1. Junior Byles & The Versatiles - Cutting Razor
  2. Time Unlimited - Staring
  3. Junior Murvin - Let's Fall In Love
  4. Lee Perry - What A Sin
  5. The Heptones - Sufferer's Time
  6. Max Romeo - One Step Forward
  7. The Upsetters - Righteous Judgement
  8. Leo Graham - Black Candle
  9. Leo Graham - Big Tongue Buster
  10. The Bluebells - Come Along
  11. U Roy And The Children - Yama Khy
  12. Sons Of Light - Land Of Love
  13. Sharon Isaacs - Feelings
  14. Junior Murvin - Mister Craven
  15. Upsetters - Walk The Streets
  16. Evon Jones - 4 And 20 Dreadlocks
  17. Time Unlimited - Judgment
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

When Scratch (a.k.a. Rainford Hugh Perry, born 28 March 1936, Hanover, Jamaica) opened his Black Ark studio at the tail end of 1973, he became a major force in the development of reggae music, changing the the face of reggae music. Perry's sound was totally unique, and Black Ark became a spawning ground for many Jamaican artists. He was one of the great pioneers of dub music, producing and mixing heavyweigth, mind blowing dub anthems alongside some of the best classic reggae albums. From the seemingly inexhaustible vaults of the legendary Black Ark comes this ampler, "Cutting Razor:Rare Cuts from the Black Ark". Lee Perry cast his musical magick spells at the Black Ark on Cardiff Crescent, in the process cutting some of the most inventive reggae music ever put on tape. The tunes are taken from the master tapes and features previously unreleased songs by some of the most important Black Ark artists. There are tracks from Junior Murvin's unreleased second album (Let's Fall In Love and Mister Craven) as well as never before heard songs from Time Unlimited, U Roy, and the legendary Lee Perry himself.
The first two tracks were recorded in the very first foundation days of the studio. Junior Byles and The Versatiles bring Cutting Razor, their interpretation of 'Stepping Razor' a defiant warning from a man of short stature to someone physically bigger. Staring by the Time Unlimited, a roots quartet led by Junior Delgado, is a stirring US soul influenced tune. Straight from the master himself comes What A Sin, voiced by Scratch himself in the earthly form of Pipecock Jackson. The song opens with a small prayer and castigates the morals of loose woman and other forms of baldhead hypocrisy.
Max Romeo's One Step Forward is a protest song straight to Michael Manley's head, who had won the 1976 general election. Leo Graham, former leader of the Bleechers trio in the late 60's, contributes Black Candle. The deejay version Big Tongue Buster is included as well. Daddy U Roy rides the Mighty Diamonds tune 'Talk About It', here bolstered by a nonsene chorus from Perry's children Omar and Marsha. From The Upsetters comes the previously unreleased Walk The Streets, followed by Evon Jones' masterful 4 And 20 Dreadlocks, a rootical version of an old English folk tune. Finally, Time Unlimited's Judgement commands us to be strong because Judgement is "sailing along".
"Cutting Razor" is a worthy follow up to HeartBeat's last Black Ark compilation set, "Baffling Smoke Signal". Check it out!

Teacher & Mr. T.