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This 20 track-album pulls together undocumented Jamaican singles (& one dub plate) from 1968 to 1973! Alternate mixes were to become one of Perrys production trade marks at his fabled Black Ark studio and of course are now an everyday part of music marketing. The usual high quality packaging and graphics are all secondary to a great set of productions from the Upsetter that are as good as anything that Pressure Sounds previously released from Mr Perry.
The years 1968 to 1973 were truly extraordinary for Lee Perry: He founded his own Upsetter imprint, had UK Top 5 chart success, toured the UK & Europe, and released a staggering 280 plus singles and over a twenty albums. High Plains Drifter rides in with saddle bags of lost musical gems from these creative years.
At the start of the 1960s Lee Perry was new to the music business. He began at Studio One recording sides that drew heavily on US R’n’B, Jamaican folk music and had already showed his love of the sexually charged stanzas with songs like Roast Duck and Dr Dick. Since leaving Dodd’s set up he had continued to record sides as an artist but had been learning the production side of the business including stints at WIRL and Joe Gibbs, as well as the obscure Deltone label.
Perry’s move into production was not only commercially successful and prodigious but saw his music became a key element in the burgeoning Skinhead scene in the UK: His ‘Tighten Up’ (Inspirations) was used to name a series of cheap compilations that helped spread reggae across the working class in many urban cities & towns – the cheesecake covers with semi naked women helped! Tracks like ‘Live Injection’ became anthemic, as the orange & white UK ‘Upsetter’ imprint became iconic in the UKs Youth culture.
From his beginnings as an artist Scratch drew from a range of influences – both musical and cultural but it was his desire to push musical boundaries that set him apart from other Reggae producers and artists. Musically Scratch not only used traditional Jamaican music but had a love of US R’n’B that could be picked up from US based radio stations and heard at Sounds on 78’s. Perry loved to reference street culture in his productions and thus Westerns figured strongly in his musical mix in the years covered by High Plains Drifter, as Spaghetti Westerns were extremely popular in down town Kingston with screenings having bands like the Upsetters, opening the show. Later when Kung Fu films became the craze, Perry unreleased a batch of singles, and albums, inspired by the genre.
It was Perry’s passion for Spaghetti Westerns that gave birth to his UK Top 5 ‘Return of Django’ as well both the fine ‘Val Blows In’ and the eponymous ‘High Plains Drifter’. Val’s R’n’B influenced horns were a trade mark on many of Perry’s early productions and here he’s given full reign on this cut of Sir Lord Comics classic ‘Django Shoots First’ ( ‘Bronco’ in the UK). Our title track puts you right in Sergio Leone territory – eyes blinking from the scorching sun. ‘Amigo’ is a cut of ‘Sipreano’ with a lovely Perry cod spaghetti western intro.
Always pushing boundaries Scratch worked with, ex-mento star, Count Sticky who provided ‘Jive talking’ inspired intros and exultations over Perry’s sharp rhythms. Of course the word ‘Boss’ has recently resurfaced in the talk of the new generation of music makers…. In what was, in 1968, another global first we present an alternate mix of the Mellotones ‘What a botheration’ – Perry’s uses the pans, much as he did in ‘Handy Cap’, to provide a new feel to an existing piece of work. Alternate mixes were to become one of Perry’s production trade marks at his fabled Black Ark studio and of course are now an everyday part of music marketing.
This album pulls together undocumented Jamaican singles (& one dub plate) that beautifully showcase all these influences and Perry’s development as a producer. It was his desire to push musical boundaries that set him apart from other Reggae producers.
High Plains Drifter comes in a single CD format and double vinyl Lp. The usual high quality packaging and graphics are all secondary to a great set of productions from the Upsetter that are as good as anything we have previously released on Pressure Sounds from Mr Perry.
(added: 2012-02-27 18:05:49 )