scratch, the wild upsetter, and the heavy claw of zion
\”I’m an artist, a musician, a magician, a writer, a singer; I’m everything… I have been programmed; many people who born again must come back to learn a lesson…have you heard of ET? I am ET, savvy? Savvy?\” Ancestral demands. Interstellar courtships and couplings. Perry followed up with \”Return of Super Ape\”, folded again in collaboration with the Upsetters, and culminated his grand experiment with the release of \”Roast Fish, Collie Weed & Cornbread\” in 1977. All issued originally on his own Upsetter label, in upsettingly tiny print runs. \”The upsetting was so upsetting that it even upset I.\” Chris Blackwell\’s Island creation fittingly picked up on \”Super ape\” after both Junior Murvin and Max Romeo scored very nicely, thank you, back home in the UK – gambling on Perry\’s commercial and cult status – but declined to follow through after dismal sales and the perceived \”Metal Machine Music\” chaos of those advance reels forwarded to its sequel. Lee Perry may or may not have been left dumbfounded. Undeterred, his self-financed Lion of Judah stepped into the void as sole pressing agent, but overseas demand was small if fanatical.
\”I, Pipecock Jackson, Jack Lightning, Jesse The Hammer, Lee \’Scratch\’ Perry, Daniel Dandelion the Lion, Jah Rastafari the crumbler, the ghost of King Arthur, put a curse on BBC radio and television, and BBC government, that they can never undo until they start playing Mr. Perry records morning, noon, and night, and around the clock – tick tock.\” To its credit, Island subsequently reissued \”Return Of…\” and \”Roast Fish\” on CD, but by that time the original masters had been mysteriously mislaid if not lost altogether, and the subsequent \’product\’ suffered greatly as a result.In 2007, Trojan astounded one and all with the revelation they had finally unearthed the original masters and repackaged the \’new\’ mixes on a two CD issue compiling all three albums plus previously unreleased material. The result, allegedly, is much truer to the spirit of Perry\’s original vision – complete with jarring bass and unadulterated apocalyptic booming – but I have to pause here and confess I\’ve yet to hear it; let alone formulate an informed opinion.
The following \’extended edits\’ – the closing dubs to Perry\’s Ape-Ology experiment – are neither to be found on the original vinyl release or the Trojan remaster, but hail instead from the 1997 Island retrospective, \”Arkology\”; something of a holy grail in its own right for aficionados of unhinged genius.
\”When I left school there was nothing to do except field work. Hard, hard labour. I didn\’t fancy that. So I started playing dominoes. Through dominoes I learned to read the minds of others. This has proved eternally useful to me” With respect to Nolan Micron, from Castles in Space. ▼ LEE \’SCRATCH\’ PERRY: ROAST FISH & CORNBREAD from \”Arkology\” 3 x CD (Island) 1997 (Jamaica / UK) ▼ LEE \’SCRATCH\’ PERRY & THE UPSETTERS: CORN FISH DUB from \”Arkology\” 3 x CD (Island) 1997 (Jamaica / UK)