Sunday, 10 March 2013

The Upsetters - Scratch The Super Ape (Original Jamaican Album) (1976)


On offer today is Lee "Scratch" Perry's dub masterpiece in it's original Jamaican form "Scratch The Super Ape". Released on Perry's own Upsetter label in July 1976, it would later be given a heavy makeover for it's international release on Island records, who would put it out as simply "Super Ape" in August 1976.

The record is undoubtably one of the greatest dub albums ever released, combining the rhythms of some of Perry's most recent songs of the time, including Max Romeo's "Chase The Devil" and "War Ina Babylon",  Devon Irons' "When Jah Come" and Prince Jazzbo's "Natty Pass Thru Rome", with the heaviest layers of dub Perry had created thus far.

The original artwork shows Perry as his latest persona of the Super Ape, with wild flowing locks, standing at his mixing board. The Island release would show the Super Ape as a King Kong like giant, stomping through Babylon, spliff in hand, in a comic book cover style of artwork.

The original track listing is also different as the album kicks off with "Dread Lion" and ends on "Dub Along".
"Dread Lion" is the dub cut to Prince Jazzbo's "Natty Pass Thru Rome" and features vocals from The Heptones on it's chant like chorus and the occassional word from Perry himself.
"Zion Blood" also features The Heptones and is almost a complete vocal track over Devon Irons' "When Jah Come" rhythm with overdubbed horns and keyboards adding to it's eerie atmosphere.
"Three In One" is another chanted vocal cut with spacey effects and "Patience Dub" was a newly created instrumental that touches on Jazz whilst adding a DJ's toast into the mix.

The Heptones appear once more on the album title track, "Super Ape", Perry's latest nickname, another nickname he aquired became the title of the next track "Croaking Lizard", a supposed outtake from Prince Jazzbo's "Ital Corner" album using the "Chase The Devil" rhythm.
"Black Vest" is a complete dub overhaul of the "War Ina Babylon" rhythm mixing in parts of James Booms "Stop The War" and Romeo's alternative vocal "Fire Fi The Vatican".
"Underground Root" includes the female harmonies of Black Ark residents Full Experience and the final cut "Dub Along" is a rendering of The Blue Bells "Come Along", their vocals replaced by a female chorus.

The album showcases how Lee Perry would incorporate his African heritage into his music, it's spiritual influence creating an album that is both at one with nature and yet still in keeping with modern reggae times.
A classic album and a landmark for Lee Perry, Reggae and Dub.

Enjoy!  : )

The Upsetters - Scratch The Super Ape (1976)

1) Dread Lion
2) Zion Blood
3) Three In One
4) Curley Dub
5) Patience Dub
6) Super Ape
7) Croaking Lizard
8) Black Vest
9) Underground Root
10) Dub Along

Get It Here   -

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  1. Replies
    1. I have the original jamaican version of Cloak & Dagger, might be worth digging that one out, nice suggestion : )

    2. wow.and i thought i had it all.fanx.

    3. Tell me about it, it's a never ending treasure chest : )

  2. Great post thank you! I recently bought the Lion Of Judah edition, which has the original artwork, but the song listing isn't right, could it be a mix of the original and "Super Ape"?

    1. It's widely believed that the Lion Of Judah release was an unauthorised bootleg of sorts, I've not heard it myself but I'm guessing it's not the same as this original release except the artwork :-)