Lee Perry And Various ‎– Give Me Power

£15.00 + shipping
(about $19.48)

Label:
Trojan Records ‎– TRLS 254
Format:
Vinyl, LP, Compilation
Country:
UK
Released:
1988
Genre:
Reggae
Style:
Reggae, Dub

Companies, etc.

Credits

Notes

Recorded at Dynamic and Randy's Studios Kingston, Jamaica, 1970-1973.

Texts in back cover:

The music collected on this album comes from the period 1970 to 1973 and reflects the great changes taking place within Jamaica music during that time. The dominance of Coxsone Dodd and Duke Reid was coming under attack from a whole new generation of producers, men like Lloyd Daley, Clancy Eccles, Bunny Lee and the subject of this reissue, Lee "Scratch" Perry. Perry had worked with Coxsone Dodd from 1959, but by 1967 he had set up his own Jamaican operation, Upsetter Records. Prior to his leaving Dodd he had worked with Sir J.J.Johnson and Prince Buster before working for a time with Joel Gibson (Joe Gibbs). His break from Gibson was celebrated with the enormous hit "People Funny Boy", and during 1969 he began to score with instrumentals like "Return Of Django", "Clint Eastwood" and "The Vampires", the first of which hit the UK charts in october 1969. Perry also began a fruitul collaboration with Bob Marley and The Waillers during this period, resulting in some of the best music recorded by the group. By 1970 the fast, jumpy rhythm of reggae's first phase had given way to slower rhythms that matched the deeper, more socially-concerned lyrics that were beginning to be heard. As well as recording vocalists like David Isaacs, Busty Brown and Shenley Duffus on love songs, Perry recorded singers who dealt with Rasta and political themes. He recorded the new deejays who had come up after U. Roy, and utilised King Tubby's studio for mixing.
This current compilations attempts to carry on the work begun with "The Upsetter Collection" (Trojan TRLS 195), by gathering together music released on Trojan's Upsetter subsidiary which has not appeared on album before, and forms part of a continuing programme of Lee Perry reissues.
Side One begins with Neville Grant'svocal over the "Return of Django" rhythm, "Sick and Tired", an old New Orleans tune originally done by Fats Domino in 1958. The vocal fits perfectly, perhaps because "Return of Django" always did have more than a hint of New Orleans in its smeared, marching-band horn figures. Juniot Byles, who recorded prolifically for Perry from 1970 until 1975, here delivers his heartfelt lyric about people who used Ratsa as a cover for petty crime, a tune he recently recut for Heartbeat Records, This together with a few other Perry/Byles collaborations, could not be fitted onto Trojan's recent "Beat Down Babylon" reissue (Trojan TRLS 253).
Little Roy began his recording career with Prince Buster, Perry's old associate from the days when they both worked for Clement Dodd's Sir Coxsone Downbeat sound system, before moving onto Lloyd Daley's 'Matador'label for a series of sublime records on roots themes. His selection here, "Don't Cross the Nation" was recorded around late 1970 or early 1971, possibly before his sojourn with Matador. He went on to achieve succes with "Bongo Nyah" (1973) and "Tribal War" (1974) but has unfortunately Been Inactive during the last few years. The last three tracks on side one are presented in 'showcase' style; first is the Stingers' "Give Me Power", together with a deejay version by King Iwah (Real name Roy Lee). The Stingers cut a couple more tunes for Perry around this time, including "Foward Up", which is on side two of this compilation, and "Preacher Man". They also recorded for Studio One. The rhythm appears on the "Rhythm Shower" LP which comprises part of the triple Upsetter Box Set (Trojan PERRY 1), that version featuring excellent organ by Winston Wright. Perry recut the "Give Me Power" rhythm himself a few years ago, speeded up and with his own vocal, called "You No Fe Run It Down". Leo Graham, who first came to Perry's attention as vocalist with the Bleechers, cut many great records for Scratch-"Black Candle", Pompous Judas", "My Little Sandra", "Three Blind Mice" and "Voodooism" are some titles - and his curious, quavery tenor is employed to telling effect on the political "News Flash" and it's version, the self-explantory "Flashing Echo". Perry himself is heard on "Justice to the people/verse Two", a take-off on the Chi-Lites theme given the Upsetter treatment with baby-cry effects and dynamic bass and rhythm guitar work.
Side two begins with two versions of Junior Byles'"Beat Down Babylon"; the first has an apocalyptic vocal by Max Romeo, Winston 'Niney' Holness and Perry and is called "Babylon's Burning". The second cut features Ron Wilson's bubbling trombone; the combustibles motif is extended throught it's title, "Ring of Fire". The third track feaqtures an as yet unidentified vocal group singing "The Thanks We Get" - it has been credited to the Heptones but dosen't sound like them-and is part of a continuing canon within Perry's music which takes to task previous emploers or associates, like "People Funny Boy" or "Small Axe", which Perry directed at Joe Gibbs and Clement Dodd respectively. This song has also been recorded by Junior Byles and Perry's son Omar, who was literally a toddlere when he and Byles voice it. The effect of this version, which in this writers'opinion is the best of the three cuts recorded, is powerful and menacing, and to it's intended target I should think distincly 'upsetting'.
"Dig Your Grave", whose title seems to be inspired by the Spaghetti western movies which were extremely popular in Jamaica (and elsewhere) at this time, is an instrumental featuring mellow trumpet, possibly by Bobby 'Willow' Ellis. Max Romeo's vocal, "Public Enemy Number One" is next, utilising biblical imagery to inveigh against an evil system. Those who only see cliche in lyrics such as these would di well to contemplate the apalling conditions under which many people lived at this time in Jamaica, and the deep desire for change which those conditions brought out; 1972 was an election year on the island, and the government of the day, led by the JLP (Jamaica Labour Party) was widely perceived as corrupt and acting in the interest of the tiny rich minority.
Dillinger, who cut a lot of music with Perry in the early seventies, is represented by "Mid-East Rock", using a rhythm which also appeared as a vocal ("You CAn Run" by the Hurricanes) and as a dub on "Blackboard Jungle" ("Elephant Rock")(!). The Stingers come "Foward Up", a nice roots anthem, then deejay Prince Django, after a typical 'false start', gives us a "Hot Tip" over the brillant "Words" rhythm. Further cuts of this are avaiable on Trojan TRLS 195 ("Words of My Mouth" by the Gatheres) and on the Upsetter Box Set ("Kuchy Skank"). There was also a 12-inch Disco 45 issued, only in Jamaica, around 1977 which featured 'Sangie'Davis, the original vocalist with the Gatherers plus one of the best-ever Perry performances on disc; it currently fetches the huge of £20-plus on the collectors market! The album closes with Shenley Duffus 'version of William Bells' soul standard "To Be A Lover"; Perry cut a couple more versions of this before giving the original rhythm to producer A. Folder, who got a huge hit for Delroy Wilson on the rhythm. Augustus Pablo Did a melodica version, Tommy McCook a sax version, even Big Youth deejayed it (poorly). Perry recut it with George Faith in 1977, proving that a good rhythm can never die, but goes from version to version, on and on.
The early 1970s saw a number of highly innovative producers in Jamaica music; Perry, Glen Brown, Keith Hudson, Winston 'Niney' Holness, Vivian Jackson and Augustus Pablo are some names worth mentioning. of this group, only Pablo seems to be as active now as he was then; Glen Brown is in New York, from where he occasionally reissues his old material, Keith Hudson has tragically died recently, Niney and Vivivan Jackson have both recently begun to come back, and Perry pursues a career as performer and recording artist with varying degrees of sucess, well beyond the mainstream of Jamaica music as exemplified by current'danchall' styles. Nonetheless, the music he made upto 1980 will always stand as some of the finest ever to come from Jamaica. Perhaps Perry himself expressed it best on his 1973 opus, "Station Underground News", a version of Leo Graham's "News Flash".

- Steve Barrow, December 1988

℗ & © 1988 Trojan Records / Made in England

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