“Scratch The Super Ape” by The Upsetters - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1976Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

Dubby, but rarely vacant, this is an enjoyable 40 minutes atmospheric trip, deep into the heart of Lee Perry’s Black Ark production heartlands. A lot of work has gone into this one – the results are rarely dull and occasionally excellent. The set is characterized by the faint vocal accompaniment of the Heptones so often that you almost get the feeling it’s their album. “Zion Blood” is an early highlight, natty nyabhinghi palms, terrific bass, and some cool vox to focus onto: “African blood is flowing through my veins, so I and I shall never fade away”. Jamaica’s bond with Africa can never be broken. This theme continues on “Three In One”, a naturally mystical piece which is framed by bongos and flutes as well as intriguing chants such as “African knowledge… go deh go deh… legal Chalice… go deh go deh”. It’s just brill. The somewhat lethargic “Super Ape” seems to cast a warning shot to Babylon: “this is the ape man trodding through creation”. To my ears, there’s not much to fear here. Much better is “Croaking Lizard”, which features Prince Jazzbo ‘pon de mic, riding the dub of the old Max Romeo classic, “Chase The Devil”. Linking nicely, the “War In A Babylon” dub underpins the next tune, “Black Vest”, which is bare but impressive, with distant horns and occasional vocal snips from Max himself, culled from an alt-version of the riddim, “Fire Fe the Vatican”. Fire ‘pon Rome! Rad! My highlight piece is the rather innocuous “Dub Along” which, although stark on the surface, absolutely hooks me in with the rawness of the ingredients, the focus lying squarely on the wicked bassline and the sweetness of the occasional vocals from the Full Experience girls inviting you to “come along with me… follow I I I”. This is hypnodub, Upsetters style. Lee got me hooked by the end.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [04:32] 6.7.png The Upsetters - Dread Lion (Rainford Hugh Perry) Reggae
A2 [03:56] 8.4.png The Upsetters - Zion Blood (Rainford Hugh Perry) Reggae
A3 [03:38] 8.2.png The Upsetters - Three In One (Rainford Hugh Perry) Reggae
A4 [04:12] 6.2.png The Upsetters - Curly Dub (Rainford Hugh Perry) Reggae
A5 [04:32] 5.2.png The Upsetters - Patience Dub (Rainford Hugh Perry) Reggae
B1 [03:50] 6.0.png The Upsetters - Super Ape (Rainford Hugh Perry) Reggae
B2 [03:27] 7.2.png The Upsetters - Croaking Lizard (Rainford Hugh Perry) Reggae
B3 [04:40] 7.0.png The Upsetters - Black Vest (Rainford Hugh Perry, Maxie Smith) Reggae
B4 [02:56] 5.4.png The Upsetters - Underground Root (Rainford Hugh Perry) Reggae
B5 [03:11] 8.9.png The Upsetters - Dub Along (Rainford Hugh Perry) Reggae

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