Lee Perry & The Sufferers ~ The Sound Doctor
CD / 2LP
November 13, 2012
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4||Backing : 4||Production : 4/5||Sound quality : 3/4||Sleeve : 4|
While Trojan Records is commonly known as the record company that has been releasing the same Lee "Scratch" Perry recordings over and over again, the compilers of Pressure Sounds have been digging in the mountains of Black Ark material to search for rare and more obscure productions. As a result they've been able to release albums such as "Voodoism", "Produced & Directed By The Upsetter", "Divine Madness... Definitely", "Sound System Scratch", "The Return Of Sound System Scratch", "High Plains Drifter", and their latest compilation entitled "The Sound Doctor".
Lee "Scratch" Perry entered the music business in the 1950s, and after having worked for the legendary Coxsone Dodd of Studio One, and then Joe Gibbs, he started his own Upsetter record label in 1968. The next five years were truly extraordinary for Perry as he had UK Top 5 chart success, toured the UK & Europe, and released a staggering 280 plus singles and over 20 albums. In 1972 Scratch publicly declared his ambition to build a studio where the 'sufferers' could record. By late 1973 The Black Ark was open for business and became a spiritual centre for many aspiring artists from the ghetto.
Pressure Sounds' seventh Lee Perry compilation contains 24 rarities from Kingston 'sufferers', ranging from Rasta stalwart Pat Francis aka Jah Lion to the unknown Jah T. It's Delroy Butler's superb "Oppression", telling tales of suffering in the ghetto, that gets things going. Further on he delivers the matching "Different Experience", a tune he recorded a few years later under his new moniker, Brother Roy. Perry produced some of Junior Byles' biggest sellers in the early 1970s including "Beat Down Babylon", "Auntie LuLu", "Rasta No Pickpocket", "A Place Called Africa", and "King Of Babylon", to name five. With "Army Of Love" he once again displays the intensity of his vocals and his sheer commitment to a vision. Unfortunately by the mid 1970s Junior Byles' mental health was deteriorating and curtailed his career during the latter half of the 1970s.
Studio One's classic "Pressure & Slide" riddim (taking its title from the Tennors classic, but that actually originated as Prince Buster's "Shaking Up Orange Street") is the backdrop for three rather unknown cuts. First there's Dillinger's "Wam Pam Pa Do", which previously only surfaced as the misleading label of a record that is actually The Gatherers' "Words", then Bobby Floyd's solid "Sound Doctor", and again Dillinger (Young Delinger) with a next cut to the riddim called "Doctor Skank". The latter was probably recorded at Dynamics, as the Black Ark neared completion when this piece was recorded. If you listen closely you can even hear The Tennors singing in the background of the Dillinger tunes.
Both Al Maytone's "Do Good", delivered with a rural-style voice, and Keith Poppin's "Be Prepared" make a good impression. "006" sees U Roy riding Junior Byles' "Auntie LuLu" riddim, which features Augustus Pablo's melodica. This is the original Jamaican mix of the U Roy tune, marking the opening of the Black Ark studio. The 1975 recorded "Key Card" by Lee & Jimmy, being Lee Perry himself and Jimmy Riley, and its version "Domino Game" are fine examples of Perry's ability to capture every day runnings in his productions as is also witnessed in Max Romeo's "Norman The Gambler" and Bob Marley's "Who Colt The Game".
One of our personal favourites here is Tony Fearon's 1975 single "Message To The Nation", a beautiful piece with a clear sufferer's message: "Sometimes I feel like crying. Sometimes I feel like dying, when I see my brothers on the street, searching for something to eat." In those days Clinton Anthony Fearon was a member of the Gladiators, who were Black Ark regulars. The Flames' nice "Water Your Garden" is an obscure UK only single, while deejay Jah T delivery on "Grandfather Land" reminds us of Dennis Alcapone. The album is rounded off by mento star Count Sticky, who had recorded for Scratch in 1969. His "To Hell & Back" is done over riddim that underpinned Junior Byles' "Pharaoh Hiding".
As is often the case with these kinda releases, the sound quality of the tunes varies and some of them have the crackling sound and surface noise of old vinyl. However that shouldn't prevent the real Lee "Scratch" Perry collector from purchasing this great collection of hard-to-find stuff.