Review: It would be fair to say that Lee 'Scratch' Perry's work with The Full Experience, a female vocal trio comprised of Aura Lewis, Pamela Reed and Candy MacKenzie, is not among his best known material - in part because only limited amounts of it was ever released in the late 1970s. This brilliant anthology from Doctor Bird does its best to fill in the gaps by gathering together Full Experience tracks from various largely little-known releases, including a clutch of cuts that have never before appeared on wax. Highlights include the dancefloor-focused disco-reggae sweetness of "Disco Fits", the super-soulful "Ice Cream", the Congoes-esque "Young Gifted & Broke" and the brilliant 12" mix of "Disco Devil", which is based on Perry's fine riddim for Max Romeo's "Chase The Devil".
Upsetter Revue - "Play On Mr Music" (feat The Heptones & The Congos & Junior Murvin)
Carlton Jackson - "History" (Dub Plate mix)
The Silvertones - "Rejoice Jah Jah Children" (Dub Plate mix)
Jimmy Riley - "Give Me A Love"
The Upsetters - "Give Me A Dub"
Lee Perry - "Soul Fire"
Sam Carty - "Milte Hi Akhen Aka Bird In Hand" (Full vocal version)
Mystic I - "One More River To Cross"
The Upsetters - "One More Dub To Cross"
Junior Murvin - "People Get Ready"
The Upsetters - "People Get Ready Dub"
The Silvertones - "Feel All Right"
Keith Rowe - "Sugar & Spice (Love Has Got Its Way)"
The Upsetters - "Spicy Version"
Review: Although there have been a number of retrospectives focused on Lee 'Scratch' Perry's productions during the period he ran the Black Ark studio (1973-79), few have gone quite as deep as this superb compilation from Rock-A-Shacka. What makes it stand out from its rivals is not the number of well-regarded classics included - though it does contain a few, such as "Soul Fire" and Mystic I's "One More River To Cross" - but rather the deepness of the selections and the impressive number of previously unreleased tracks. Check, for example, the superb all-star outing "Play On Mr Music", after which the compilation is named, the languid and soulful "Dub Plate Mix" of The Silvertones' conscious roots classic "Rejoice Jah Jah Children", and the two mixes of Keith Rowe's "Sugar & Spice".
Review: This coming together of two dub and reggae giants might never have been heard had it not been unearthed in some long-forgotten vaults. Originally recorded at some unknown point in the seventies, it follows their debut album Ital Dub, and later King Tubby Meets The Rockers, and is just as vital. Lead by the trademark harmonica expressions of Pablo, with the contagious rhythms of Tubby, it is a free flowing record that explores a number of different moods and grooves from deep and hazy to more life affirming and direct. As a result, it keeps you utterly locked throughout.
Review: On their latest essential retrospective, Doctor Bird has gathered together the quartet of albums released by legendary Jamaican toaster Prince Far I on Trojan Records between 1979 and '83 (the year of his premature death) - three of which have never previously appeared on CD. On disc one you'll find "Free From Sin", a formidably dubbed-out affair partially recorded at Treasure Isle Studios, and the slightly more roots-reggae focused 1980 follow-up, "Jamaican Heroes". Disc two begins with the ten tracks first featured on 1981's "Voice of Thunder" - a loose, languid and laidback set recorded at Channel 1 studios - before moving on to his final Trojan album, "Musical Heroes". If you've yet to explore Prince Far I's vast catalogue, this is a great place to start.