More Genius from the cavernous vaults of Lee Perry.
I do have a fair few records produced by Mr Perry already, and I don`t buy compilations so often these days, but “Roaring Lion” collects 16 unreleased Dub plates and Sound System specials, all of the highest quality and at least half of which, in my opinion, are essential.
This is music from the peak of The Black Ark, before the intense creativity worried the borders of madness and excess. At this point Perry could do no wrong. He was deep in the development of a distinct and unique (musical) language, locked / immersed in a hermetic world.
Many artists whose accomplishments I admire have had periods when their passion, and work ethic, has forced out everything else. Everything else becoming the buzzing of flies, mere distraction, that must be ignored. From Basquiat`s signifers, to Kerouac`s beat to Derrick May`s drum programing, they all created a magic, to strong to be held for long, sometimes paying a high price for witnessing its flame, suffering not so much a burn out, but there is a moment of such clarity of purpose and method, that its guardians can struggle to come to terms with its unavoidable loss.
Perry survived, and I personally I don`t think he even went mad. He made it through to the other side. Overstanding.
The sleeve notes by Jeremy Collingwood are great, and there`s also a really nice photograph from Kate Simon that tells such a story on its own.
The choice tracks for me are Augustus Pablo`s “Pride”, where the dropouts are like the conducting of an orchestra, the anthemic “Upsetters Shuffle”, whose kick feels like Bruce Lee`s one inch punch, and the total destruction of Althea & Donna`s “Going To Negril” that is “Loco Negril”. All that remains of the original is debris from the Ark`s blast, flying, left circling, in the air.
Althea & Donna / Loco Negril
I`ve included the Karl Patterson produced “un-versioned” version here for comparison.
Althea & Donna / Going To Negril
You can buy “Roaring Lion” direct from Pressure Sounds here.