Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry – Open The Gate

On the wall of the used record store there was a Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry triple LP box set. It had been there for about a month and was priced at £30. Every time I went in I looked at it and every time I put it back. Buying things from the wall is not my usual style as they are usually in the higher price bracket. On my last visit the price had been reduced to £20, so I took the plunge and I’m damn glad I did as this Trojan compilation is fabulous.

Don’t know who he is? Well, Lee “Scratch” Perry OD (The Order of Distinction is a national order in the Jamaican honours system) is a Jamaican music producer noted for his innovative studio techniques and production style. Perry was a pioneer in the 1970s development of dub music with his early adoption of remixing and studio effects to create new instrumental or vocal versions of existing reggae tracks. He has worked with and produced for a wide variety of artists, including Bob Marley and the Wailers, Junior Murvin, the Congos, Max Romeo, Adrian Sherwood, the Beastie Boys, Ari Up, and many others.

 

 

For a triple album it doesn’t look that track heavy, but a lot of the tracks sort of merge into a dub version with little or no warning so Side A is longer than it looks, and Vampire is a fabulous track running to about 10 minutes (The video above is all three records, sound quality is better at home with the record playing). It is a great compilation of rare extended versions of tracks recorded in Scratch’s black ark studio in the mid to late 70’s.  I’ve read that this is the best of the Trojan label’s Perry box sets – supposedly better than “Build the Ark” or the “Upsetter Box Set“, however, I haven’t heard either of those so can only pass along somebody else’s comment.

Tracklist

A1 Anthony “Sangie” Davis & Lee Perry Words
A2 Devon Irons & Dr. Alimantado Vampire
B1 The Heptones Babylon Falling
B2 The Upsetters Babylon Falling Version
B3 The Heptones Mistry Babylon
B4 The Upsetters Mistry Babylon Version
B5 Leroy Sibbles Garden Of Life
C1 Carlton Jackson History
C2 Junior Delgado Sons Of Slaves
C3 Watty Burnett Open The Gate
D1 The Diamonds Talk About It
D2 The Upsetters Yam – A – Ky
D3 Eric Donaldson Cherry Oh Baby
D4 Watty Burnett Rainy Night In Portland
E1 Horace Smart & The Upsetters Ruffer Ruff & Ruffer Dub
E2 The Congos Neckodeemus
E3 The Twin Roots Know Love
F1 Lee Perry City Too Hot
F2 Lee Perry Bionic Rats
F3 Junior Murvin Bad Weed

This was not on my list of Trojan releases that I was looking for, but sticking to a list can be both a good and a bad thing, in this case it would have been bad, I’m glad I got this and at a decent price.

Rating: 9.1

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