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Here on my Reggae Blog I want to introduce you to my favorite artists and albums, write about recent concerts and hopefully will be inspired to discover new music through your comments and in turn inspire you to check out some of the most amazing tunes ever to be recorded.
Saturday, September 25, 2004
It has been a while since I last posted something on my blog. I know, it seems to become a habit but the summer is just flying by. I spend most of my time in
Unfortunately both Ziggy Marley and Horace Andy cancelled their gigs. Lee Perry without doubt was a more than adequate replacement for Ziggy but they failed to get someone to fill Horace Andy’s shoes. Where was Big Youth???? Here is an overview of the program:
Friday Red Stage – Michael Franti, Max Herre, Lee ‘Scratch Perry’, etc
Green Stage – La Vela Puerca, Julian Marley, Culture, etc
Yellow Tent – Turtlebay Country Club
Saturday Red Stage – Sam Ragga band, Sanchez, Capleton, Bounty Killer (?)
Green Stage – Orchestra Baobab, Skatalites, Abyssinians, Lucky Dube
Yellow Tent – Roots Rockers, David Rodigan
Sunday Red Stage – Rico Rodriguez, Beenie Man, Luciano
Green Stage – Steel Pulse, Tryo, Ken Boothe w Soulfood International
Yellow Tent – Solar Moon Soundsystem
Nevertheless the 19th Summerjam was another great experience, I hope for everybody involved. But let’s start at the beginning. We arrived in Fuehlingen on Thursday afternoon at about 2 and we managed to get a decent place to put up our tent. At the beginning there was only three of us, my friends Cat and Marc came with. More people arrived early Friday morning and at some point during the day on Saturday. The weather was sub-optimal but at least it did not rain too much and our tent stayed dry during the whole weekend. The only exciting thing that happened Thursday night was that
Friday’s program got shuffled through a bid because Steel Pulse got stuck at the French border (A border between
After Perry, Friday night came to an early end for us. It was important to conserve some energy for the two days to come.
Saturday started with cooking, and we were just about done with that when it started to rain. So we stayed in our tent a little longer before heading over to the island. The first band we saw that day was the Sam Ragga Band who played with Black Kappa from the first Seeed LP. That was nice but not too special either and I wanted to see the Orchestra Baobab on the Green Stage. And they were well worth to check out. A great mi of Caribbean sounds, african drums and a great JAzz guitarist. And all of it played with an amazingly cool attitude. And then came the Skatalites!!! The Legends! Obviously one of the highlights of the Jam 04. Since I don’t remember exactly which songs were played and in what order, the story of the concert is told quickly. “10 – 9 - 8 - 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 - 2 – 1 – Freedom.” And then the usual Llyod Brevett announcement “Jah Jah Jah Jah, Rastafari! This next one we gonna play for you we played in the 60’s we call …” with only slight alterations. A nice surprise was that Doreen Shafer was there as well to sing a couple of songs. All in all I don’t like her songs as much as the instrumentals the Skatalites play but it stirred up nice memories from past shows. Another nice surprise was that Vin Gordon came along and played trombone for them. Last two times I saw them with Cedric IM Brooks on tenor, which was fantastic as well. Unfortunately he was not there this time. After a great show on a packed Green Stage the audience was singing their last song for a good three minutes but the organizers were merciless. Understandable, but also a little sad. I would have loved to see them play another song or two. And as so often, one highlight followed the next and after the Skatalites, the Abyssinians played on the Green Stage backed by the Rasites. This was the act I was looking forward to most because I had only seen the once, and now in retrospect it was also my favorite show of the whole Summerjam. The best ‘Roots’ Sound of them all. Of course they played all of their big hits, Know Jah Today, Declaration of Rights (my personal favorite) and the all time roots hymn Satta Massa Ganna. After that we strolled around for a while, checked out Rodigan, but in the end I was too tired and went back to the tents at around 2.
Sundays, always hard because you start to get exhausted and tired of camping, especially when the weather is not great. But of course the program was going to be great. Motivation not a problem. As usual, the green stage was the place to be. However, we got really lucky skipping over to the Main Stage for a second when all of a sudden Rico Rodriguez played there about 90minutes earlier than expected. Didn’t miss a minute. What a show! It seems like he played almost all of the Wareika album plus a couple of other hits. We missed some of the Tryo show for it unfortunately, but it was well worth it.
Going back to Tryo, my friend Cat, who is just the biggest fan imaginable, saw some of the band members hanging out right next to us while the band before them was playing. I tried to get her to say hello, but she did not want to. Needless to say she’s been depressed ever since because of the missed opportunity. Tryo were awesome. There music is great, but what really makes them stand out is the complex stage show with all sort of acting, audience members on stage an other little skits. But right after Tryo came another top highlight of the Jam, Ken Boothe backed by Soulfood International formerly Court Jesters Crew outta TUEBINGEN, ja mon! absolute fantastic show. I don’t have to say much about Ken Boothe’s vocal qualities and Soulfood proved again that the best European Reggae sound is created in
Steel Pulse were last on the Green Stage, but we did not see all of the show. Of course the EuroCup final was going on with
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
This came only days after the famous Brentford Road in Kingston was renamed Studio One Boulevard in his honor. Here is a link to the story by the Jamaican Observer. I will of course follow up on this in tribute to Coxsone Dodd and his work, but after school is done.
Monday, April 19, 2004
1. Your Love
2. Singer Man
4. Hold Down
5. I'll Be Around
6. Winey Winey (Reggae)
7. The Clip
8. Rumble Rumble
9. Come We Go Moonwalk
10. Complicated Scene
11. Easy Ride Reggae
12. Nice Nice
The whole album is really strong, especially the first four songs. The title track just absolutely blows my mind! This is an awesome example of the transition period from Rocksteady to Reggae. The songs clearly have a Reggae beat (mostly), but the harmonies and instrumentation still remind of the earlier Rocksteady recordings.
The only information I found about the band online is as follows:
Founded by lead singer Jackie Bernard, The Kingstonians started out in the 60s recording for producer JJ Johnson. Between 1968 and 1970 they recorded under the supervision of producer Derrick Harriott their best sides like "Singer Man", "Sufferer" and "Winey Winey". After some less successful sides for Leslie Kong and Rupie Edwards the group broke up.
I am also unable to find any other recordings by the group, even though the short biography from reggaecd.com indicates that they recorded more than the material for Harriott. Hell, even my beloved book by Lloyd Bradley let’s me down on this one, the only thing that he mentions about them except that these recordings were there peak is that the fellow artists that Derrick Harriott produced at this time included Toots and the Maytals, the Melodians, Desmond Dekker and the Pioneers.
This is really a shame considering the quality of this album. Of course there are numerous examples of this in reggae history but it always hurts. I am going to be sad now…
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
1. Glory To Sound
2. Give Rasta Glory
3. Father Forgive
4. Walking Through
5. Free Man
6. Right Time
8. Why Can't I
9. Idle Berg
10. Picture On The Wall
The album is pretty nice throughout, even though it's not his best stuff. However, Father Forgive, played on the rhythm of Declaration of Rights by the Abyssinians is absolutely amazing and Idle Berg, a version of Horace Andy's Skylarking is really good as well. And the funny coincidence is that all three will be at the Summerjam this July, Cedric as a tenor-sax player for the Skatalites. Which of course means you will find reviews about their stuff further down. It all goes in cycles...
Contour has published a preliminary line-up for the Summerjam, and boy there have been some nice additions again. Tryo are coming over from France. Some of my friends back home are especially excited about this. They are a crazy Roots acoustic band with an amazing stage show and some really nice songs. Can’t wait to see them. Rico Rodriguez will be there, original trombone player, got his greates fame during the Two Tone era recording with the Specials. Him and the Skatalites at the same weekend, fantastic. All the legendary instrumentalists from the 60s that are still alive will be at the Jam this summer! Some cool German Reggae with the Sam Ragga Band and Turtle Bay Country Club. Dub Syndicate, and also Ken Boothe. Some Dub, some more Roots. I have never seen Ken Boothe before, so I am really excited about this opportunity as well. So be there if you can!!!!!
So here is the record I want to introduce today: Yabby You meets Trinity at King Tubby’s Dub Station. First, the track list:
Yabby You Meets Trinity At Dub Station
Di Gun Gun Fever - Trinity
My Neighbour - Yabby You & Trinity
I Know Where I'm Going - Trinity
Natty Bongo - Yabby You & Trinity
Warm Dem - Yabby You & Trinity
I Just A Dread - Yabby You & Trinity
Stand Up And Fight - Yabby You
Black Starliner - Yabby You
This record combines some exceptional, albeit often overlooked talent. Yabby You, aka Vivian Jackson, is a great producer/singer from the Roots era. Yabby acquired his nickname from the drawn-out, chanting refrain on his 1972 debut single, "Conquering Lion": "Be You, Yabby Yabby You". As leader of the Prophets (additional personnel at various times included Alric Forbes, Dada Smith, Bobby Melody and the Ralph Brothers), Yabby recorded a remarkable series of roots reggae classics, including "Jah Vengeance", "Run Come Rally", "Love Thy Neighbours", "Valley Of Jehosaphat", "Judgement On The Land", "Fire In Kingston", "Chant Down Babylon' and many others, mostly appearing on his own Vivian Jackson and Prophets labels in Jamaica. Jackson also gained a reputation as a producer of other artists, including DJs Trinity, Jah Stitch, Dillinger, Prince Pompado, Tapper Zukie and Clint Eastwood, and singers Wayne Wade, Junior Brown, Willie Williams, Patrick Andy, Tony Tuff and Michael Prophet. Said Trinity is actually one of my favorite DJ’s, I really like his harsh, scratchy voice, which is perfect for this kind of music. The most notable album he recorded, in my humble opinion, is the 1977 Soundclash with fellow DJ Dillinger. His biggest hit was the Joe Gibbs produced Three Piece Suit, on the same rhythm that was used for Uptown Top Ranking by Althea And Donna. Finally, King Tubby, well if you like Reggae you have heard his name before. He was one of the innovators of Dub music in the early 70s and his talent at the controls and feel for the Dub music, together with his exceptional knowledge about the actual hard ware, made him truly Mr. Dub. He built his own studio and helped many others, including Lee Perry’s famous Black Ark. He was the mixer of choice for producers like Lee Perry, Augustus Pablo and Bunny Lee as his customers in the mid to late 70s. Bunny Lee once said of him “He could mix music outta the mistakes people bring him – like every spoil is a style to King Tubby. […] He do it all live, too. He don’t built it up bit by bit, him jus’ leggo the tapes and do his thing.” Where ‘his thing’ means the multi track mixing in perfection unchallenged in music history I guess. Especially considering the kind of resources he had to work with. I got the quote from Lloyd Bradley’s book by the way…
Here is the history how Tubby discovered Dub and some more of his live (I admit, it’s stolen. Go to the Iceberg to check out cool biographies):
King Tubby grew up around High Holborn Street in Central Kingston before moving to the capital's Waterhouse district in 1955. He started repairing radios and by the late 50s had begun to experiment with sound system amplifiers. By 1964 he was operating his own Tubby's Home Town Hi-Fi, where he later incorporated a custom reverb and echo facility into his system. At the same time he was working as disc-cutter for Duke Reid and it was here that he discovered that he could make special versions of well-known rocksteady tunes. By cutting out most of the vocal track, fading it in at suitable points, reducing the mix down to the bass only, and dropping other instrumental tracks in or out, Tubby invented dub. Initially the technique was used for "specials" or dub plates - custom acetates made exclusively for sound system use. The spaces left in the mix allowed sound system DJs to stretch out lyrically, predating the emergence of US rappers by some years. Record producers soon began to see the potential of these versions. Joe Gibbs' engineer, Errol Thompson, working at Randy's Studio 17, had started employing rhythm versions as b-sides by 1971. To keep ahead of the competition, Tubby acquired an old four-track mixing console from Dynamic Studios. He then introduced further refinements - delay echo, slide faders, and phasing. By late 1971 he was working with producers such as Bunny Lee, Lee Perry, Glen Brown, Augustus Pablo and "Prince" Tony Robinson. The latter issued records that credited Tubby as mixer, including "Tubby's In Full Swing", the b-side to a DJ track by Winston Scotland.
Throughout the 70s Tubby mixed dubs for all the aforementioned producers, in addition to Roy Cousins, Yabby You, Winston Riley, Carlton Patterson and Bertram Brown's Freedom Sounds. His most important work, in terms of sheer quantity, was with Bunny Lee. Lee used Tubby for dub and voicing on rhythms he had built elsewhere with the Aggrovators session band. All the singers who worked with Lee at this time - Johnny Clarke, Cornell Campbell, Linval Thompson, Jackie Edwards, Derrick Morgan, Delroy Wilson, Horace Andy, John Holt and Owen Grey - made records with Aggrovators rhythms, voiced and mixed at King Tubby's. Lee began to issue dub albums featuring Tubby's mixes, and other producers soon followed that lead. Tubby's name as mixer soon appeared on well over 100 albums. A generation of engineers trained under Tubby's supervision, including King Jammy and "Prince" Phillip Smart, both subsequently finding success on their own terms.
Highly recommended songs from the album are:
Well, in the end they are all great! This is reggae at its finest.
The story is that school is just too much for me right now. But today I decided I deserved at least a little break in the evening so I could finally catch up with my darling little blog. But three weeks from now things will be better. And I am going back home to Germany in just a little over a month!
New link: check out the Irie Lion Reggae site, they are a concert, festival organizer from the Belgium and the Netherlands with concert listings (if you are ever looking to see some Reggae in those countries, you will find something here), info around Reggae music and an Irie Name Finder: type in your name and the Rasta elders will give you an irie reggae name! Ideal for uncreative people like me, when they are in the situation that they want to spin some music in a local bar and can’t think of a decent DJ name. I became Mighty Satta and have to say that I am very satisfied. I have to be extremely thankful to those guys, because they actually approached me and asked to exchange links! How the hell did they find me? Cheers Tal, and thanks for reading my site!
Should I write a review? Should I?
Thursday, March 11, 2004
But let’s start from the beginning: a couple of friends stopped by my place at about 7 and we hung out for a while getting ready for the show. On the short drive to the Barrymore Theatre we were listening to a band called the Sidesteppers, very interesting music. As soon as I get a copy of the album I will have to write a little review. Well, getting there was easy, getting parking not quite so easy. Nevertheless, we made it inside just in time before Julian took the stage. The place was packed! I had been at the venue a couple of times before but I have never seen it this full. And that on a Wednesday night. There was nowhere to go on the first floor so we headed up to the balcony. I usually don’t like sitting that far from the stage but the sound was great up there and we could see really well.
I have to say, I really liked Julian a lot. The band sounded really tight, especially the drummer. And he has all the moves of his dad and sounds a lot like him as well. I guess all of his recording sons do, but seeing him from up there… a very good imitation to say the least. I tried to remember the songs they played, but as I was reasonably sedated there was no way I could keep up with that. He did start of with Running Away, followed by a couple of his own songs that I liked a lot. Then he got rid of his guitar for two songs, and the niiveau of the music dropped considerably. The same proved to be true later on with Ziggy as well. However, soon enough his guitar was back in business and the music got a little funkier again. Very nice version of Stir it up in the middle of the set. Unfortunately after just under an hour of music and a great version of Exodus, Julian left the stage and we were facing a little break. This had the positive side effect that the crowd moved out into the lobby, so we could proceed to snatch away some nice seats just behind the soundboard. I still find it weird to have old cinemas or theatres as venues with the seating still in place. I have never seen something like this in Europe but over here it’s very common, at least in Madison and Chicago.
After maybe 20 minutes, Ziggy took the stage. People were happy, I was happy. Ziggy has a great stage presence, very charismatic. A lot like his dad, at least from what I can tell from the videos I have seen (Why was I born so late???) The only other time I saw Ziggy Marley was at the Summerjam a couple of summers ago. I love it when he sings Bob’s songs, but most of his own stuff I can not really get into. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice music, but it just does not blow me away. There was one song that was really good though, I was trying to remember what it was called, but… Anyways it was the song were Ziggy introduced the band, maybe somebody knows the name of the song? His band featured a Japanese guitar player that was KICK ASS! He played some awesome solos. Other highlights of his set, again from my Bob bias, were War / No more trouble, Concrete Jungle and as a final encore together with Julian a nice and long version of Jamming. This band was also really rocking and there were a lot of instances were they were just jamming away for a little while.
For more information on the Marley kids check out the Melodymakers website. I will post this review there as well. I was going to try and get a set-list and or recording of the show for the webmaster of said site, who I talked to in the Summerjam Forum, but I failed. Sorry Julian!
Monday, March 08, 2004
As with so many reggae artists, Studio One helped Horace Andy to make himself a name as a singer with several singles and records he cut for Studio One producer Clement Dodd (who also gave him his stage name), notably such songs as "Skylarking"(which is listed on position 15 in a chart compiled from the weekly JBC charts of 1972), "See A Man's Face" and "Every Tongue Shall Tell". Another Studio One classic is "Mr.Bassie", his respect to bassist and member of The Heptones, Leroy Sibbles.
Very soon many of the leading producers wanted to make records with Sleepy, as Horace Andy is also known. He then recorded - among others - for Phil Pratt again ("Money is the Root of all Evil", "Tag Along" and "Let The Teardrops Fall"), for Derrick Harriot ("Lonely Woman") and extensively for Bunny Lee ("You are my Angel").
In 1977 Horace Andy teamed up with New York based producer Everton DaSilva and from this collaboration comes the outstanding set "In the Light", which was produced together by Andy and DaSilva. Tragically this partnership, which also gave birth to a bunch of singles and 12", came to a sudden end when Everton DaSilva was murdered in 1979.
During the Eighties Horace Andy continued releasing music on a regular basis both in Jamaica(among others for Jammy, Sly & Robbie and Bobby Digital) and in the USA on his own Rhythm imprint and for 'indie'-label Rough Trade. A highlight of this period is the album "Dance Hall Style", one of two records Horace did with producer Lloyd 'Bullwackie' Barnes.
In 1990 he was approached by Bristol-based hitmakers Massive Attack to join them for recordings. Since then he contributed vocals to all of Massive Attack's records and they even reworked some of his earlier tunes. Other work of the 90s are two sets produced by Mad Professor and various singles with drum & bass partnership Mafia & Fluxy in Kingston, JAM.
Here is some information for a couple of the albums I own:
Skylarking(1972, Studio One)
1.Where Do The Children Play 2.Just Say Who 3.Love Of A Woman 4.Skylarking 5.Mammie Blue 6.Please Don't Go 7.Every Tongue Shall Tell 8.Something's On My Mind 9.See A Man's Face 10.Don't Cry 11.I'll Be Gone 12.Got To Be Sure
This review on the album is taken from the book The Rough Guide To Reggae, which is written by Steve Barrow and Peter Dalton:
The best of Horace Andy's material at Brentford Road is collected here. He has recorded several of the songs more than once - including "Every Tongue Shall Tell", "Just Say Who", "See A Man's Face", "Something's On My Mind" and "I'll Be Gone" - and it is a tribute to his interpretative powers that in most cases all the versions are essential. Few Jamaican singers have possessed such an original style, or been as influential, and though he might have matched the music here with later recordings, he never superseded its heartfelt qualities.
In the Light(1977, Hungry Town, reissue 1995, Blood & Fire)
1.Do You Love My Music 2.Hey There Woman 3.Government Land 4.Leave Rasta 5.Fever 6.In The Light 7.Problems 8.If I 9.Collie Herb 10.Rome
The album received an "Essential"-rating in the Rough Guide To Reggae. This review on the album is taken from the book The Rough Guide To Reggae, which is written by Steve Barrow and Peter Dalton:
Complementary vocal and dub sets originally released on Everton DaSilva's Hungry town label, and much-sought-after by collectors before being brought together for this handy double LP/single CD. Even a recut of "Fever" stands comparison with the original, while the title track, "Problems"(not the lyrics he recorded for Santic) and "Government Land" are simply awesome. Prince Jammy's deconstruction of the vocal set confirms the heavyweight nature of the original rhythm tracks, as well as bringing out some even 'dreader' textures.
In the Light Dub(1995, Blood & Fire)
1.Music Dub 2.Dub There 3.Government Dub 4.Rasta Dub 5.Fever Dub 6.Dub The Light 7.Problems Dub 8.I & I 9.Collie Dub 10.Dub Down Rome
This is the companion dub set to the above record, mixed by Prince Jammy.
Dance Hall Style(1982, Wackie's)
1.Money Money 2.Cuss Cuss 3.Eating Mess 4.Stop The Fuss 5.Spying Glass 6.Lets Live In Love
The album received an "Essential"-rating in the Rough Guide. This review on the album is taken from the book The Rough Guide To Reggae, which is written by Steve Barrow and Peter Dalton:
The Wackie's approach proved particularly suited to Horace Andy's individual vocal style. Given that he played a major role in the building of the rhythms - playing bass, and both rhythm and lead guitar - it is perhaps not too surprising that his fragile but moving voice has few better contexts in which to express itself. Even the re-recordings of old favourites - his own "Money money" and "Lonely Woman", as well as Lloyd Robinson's "Cuss Cuss" - manage to sound inspired, and the fresh material is their equal.
Life is for Living(1995, Ariwa) - his first collaboration with Mad Professor
1.Life Is For Living 2.What A Day 3.Must Be Jah 4.Nah Dis You 5.Never Deceive You 6.Rebel 7.Do Your Work 8.Armageddon 9.Zion I 10.Dem A Fraud 11.Dub Is Bad
1.Fever 2.Mr.Bassie 3.Mother And Child Reunion 4.Conscious Dreadlocks 5.Oh Lord, Why Lord 6.Child Of The Ghetto 7.Ain't No Sunshine 8.New Broom 9.Come Into My Life 10.I May Never See My Baby 11.See A Man's Face 12.Slack Tidy 13.Just Don't Want To Be Lonely 14.Funny Man
This set is another collection of Studio One material. It brings together some of the obvious classic hits like "Fever ", "Mr. Bassie " and "New Broom ", two previously unreleased tracks( " Funny Man ", "Come Into My Life ") and the rare "Slack Tidy " on the classic "Throw Me Corn "- rhythm.
1.Spying Glass 2.Natty Dread A Weh She Want 3.Rock To Sleep 4.One Love(w/ Massive Attack) 5.Don't Let Problems Get You Down 6.Fever 7.Children Of Israel 8.Money Money 9.Girl I Love You 10.Elementary 11.Every Tongue Shall Tell 12.Skylarking 13.Do You Love My Music 14.Spying Glass (w/ Massive Attack)
Living In The Flood(1999, Melankolic/Virgin)
1.After All 2.Smiling Face 3.Juggling 4.My Lord 5.Seven Seals 6.Johnny Too Bad 7.Doldrums 8.Right Time 9.True Love 10.Living In The Flood 11.Girl Of My Dreams 12.Some People 13.Don't Blame The Children
Feel Good All Over: Anthology 1970-1976 (2002, Trojan)
1. I May Never See My Baby (Anymore) 2. I Feel Good All Over 3. Lonely Woman 4. Thank You Lord 5. You Are My Angel 6. Gonna Keep on Trying (Until I Win Your Love) 7. Ain't No Sunshine 8. Can I Change My Mind
9. Don't Break Your Promise 10. Dream Lover 11. John Saw Them Coming 12. Riding for a Fall 13. Rain from the Skies 14. Where Did Love Go (Illiteracy) 15. (Woman) Don't Try to Use Me 16. Tag Along 17. Let the Teardrops Fall 18. Today Youth (AKA Youth of Today) 19. Love Ja Ja Children 20. Don't Think About Me
21.Satan Side (AKA Peter & Judas) 22. God Is Displeased 23. I Don't Want to Be Outside 24. Get Wise
25. Zion Gate 26. Letter to Mummy and Daddy 27. Better Collie 28. Better Collie Version 29. No Man Is an Island 30. (We Got To) Forward Home 31. Nice and Easy 32. Nice and Easy Dub 33. Serious Thing 34. Something on My Mind 35. Just Say Who (AKA Who Baby) 36. Sky Larking 37. Man to Man 38. Love of a Woman 39. Bless You 40. Money, Money (AKA the Root of All Evil) 41. My Guiding Star 42. True Love Shines Bright 43. Materialist 44. Poor Man Style 45. Psalm 68 46. Dub 68
I will write some personal reviews some other time.
Tonight is movie night and I will share some thoughts about them with you. The movies are The Unlimited Destruction, a documentary about Lee Perry; and Countryman, a sort of Jamaican action movie from 1982 with the ultimate Rasta Voodoo Rambo in it. Sounds implausible? Well you’re right, but this comparison still makes some sense as you will see should you ever watch the movie…
Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry – The Unlimited Destruction
The Unlimited Destruction is a relatively recent (1990) documentary about Lee Perry. Unfortunately there are no subtitles, or I am just too stupid to find them. As you might imagine Perry is not easy to understand in an interview. He’s a very fun man, though. Whenever you can’t quite understand what he is saying it is still a lot of fun to see him talk.
The live notes (only slightly edited and heavily spell checked…)
It shows Perry at his home in Zurich, Switzerland. I can only imagine seeing him walking around downtown! Planting ganja plants in his garden! That’s why he chose Switzerland, I guess. If you have ever seen a picture of the inside of the Black Ark studio, be assured his taste of decoration has not changed in the last 20 years. Man, he does not like talking about Bob and the Wailers. People must annoy him with those sorts of questions a lot. He keeps drinking Champagne throughout the interview. His girlfriend is drinking it with ice-cubes.
Well, now I am seeing him walking around downtown Switzerland and people seem to be more curious about the camera than Scratch. No, just kidding. I definitely like the music those guys choose, I think there is a tack overview on the disc. Gotta check it out at the end of the movie.
Trippy, Scratch builds himself some new costumes outdoors and rambles about the moon while rolling another spliff. I am not Jamaican, I am African. I am an African Shaman. I have invisible wings here. (lifts arms). Then, a little later, he just freestyles for a minute. That man can chat!
He has mirrors everywhere, especially in his garden and on his body. He really likes the mirrors, and he likes to play with them.
On the car ride to the embassy he makes fun of ‘Nothing compares’ by Shinhead O’Conner. It’s not a good song; he has every right to do so. Why do they go to the embassy? Do I find out? No.
Then the movie is already over, just under 48 minutes over all. The video is a very low key, amateurish quality recording. Nevertheless, it’s worth seeing for the true Perry fan.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the interviews:
I take over NY City, I take over the Statue of Liberty. With my fucking bullshit (turns and shows his ass).
I take over Germany, I take over the airline. I take over Lufthansa… with Ganja,
(Why do you like children so much?) Cause I am from the children’s world. And I am defending the children’s world.
Sex is Dub.
Music can do anything, there is nothing music can’t do. – Lee Perry
“As a producer, there is none in the world…
If you put him against producers like Quincy Jones and those guys he make them look like rubbish.
I have nough respect for Quincy Jones […] but it’s no comparison, cause Mr. Perry he can produce a very good Soul record, and he produce the best in Reggae. I don’t think Quincy Jones can produce a good Reggae record.” - Dr. Alimantado
The track list is just exactly that, a track list. No songs to listen to or additional information. The tracks correspond to the Lost Treasures of the Ark Box. A good collection but I don’t have it here so I will have to postpone writing about it.
I am too lazy to summarize the plot myself, but here is the plot outline from palmpictures:
Co-written and directed by Dickie Jobson, Countryman was the highest-grossing Jamaican film ever when it was released in 1982. Countryman is the story of a fisherman, whose solitary existence is shattered when an airplane crashes into a nearby swamp. By rescuing two young Americans from the wreckage, the fisherman, Countryman, becomes an unwitting player in a political plot devised by the power-hungry Colonel Sinclair. The couple and Countryman, branded by Sinclair as enemy agents, are forced to flee into the Jamaican wilderness. The peaceful Rastafarian hero shows the Americans his knowledge of the land and sea.
I also found this comment on the net:
If you're into Rastafarianism, Reggae (5-star soundtrack, Bob Marley, etc.), and/or seek to explore the cultural dichotomy of rural Jamaican life juxtaposed against the oppression of the city and the government, 'Countryman' is a buzz. In vague brief, it's the story of two American plane crash victims who are rescued and then further aided by a rasta fisherman while they are being hunted by desparate Jamaican authorities for bogus political reasons. There is a mystical element that will bring you great satisfaction if you tend to favor underdogs in struggles against repression and brutality. For those who have had the experience of the ‘spleef’, be prepared to smile and nod knowingly during the "dinner" scene.
In the end, Countrymen is just a cheesy 80s ‘action’ movie, but it has a Jamaican flair to it that makes it very refreshing and great to watch. It can not impress with extravagant special effects but it uses the means it has very effectively, especially considering none of them are actors. A scene where a rather old man in a prison cell says “But I don’t think they beat me any more. Them finished with me now. (What did you tell them?) Nothing Jah, for I know not of that man, and they have seen the light of that truth” can be just as effective as a rough action scene.
There is also a making off on the DVD which is really interesting. Interviews with the director, the ‘actors’ as well as Chris Blackwell, who picked the soundtrack. Except for Hiram Keller, who plays the guy crashing the plane and causing all the trouble everybody is either an amateur actor, or like the majority of characters, has never acted before or since. For those interested here is some information on Hirams career. Nothing too exciting i guess.
Also in case you are curious about the track list of the soundtrack:
1. Natural Mystic - Bob Marley
2. Rastaman Chant - Bob Marley
3. Theme from Countryman - Wally Badarou
4. Rat Race - Bob Marley
5. Jah Live - Bob Marley
6. Ramble - Rico
7. Rebel Music (3 O'Clock Roadblock) - Bob Marley
8. Sound System - Steel Pulse
9. Mosman Skank - Aswad
10. Small Axe - Bob Marley
11. Sitting and Watching - Dennis Brown
12. Bam Bam
13. Ooh! Aah! - Fabulous 5
14. Wisdom - Jah Lion
15. Carry Us Beyond
16. Dreadlocks in Moonlight - Lee "Scratch" Perry
17. Time Will Tell - Bob Marley
18. Theme from Countryman - Rebop Kwaku Baah
19. Pass It On - Bob Marley
20. Guidance - Wally Badarou
21. Obeah Man Dub - Wally Badarou
22. Theme from Countryman - Wally Badarou
That's it for movies.