Lee 'Scratch' Perry and friends - Disco Devil: The Jamaican Remixes
Lee “Scratch” Perry’s Black Ark studio may have been in existence for no more than five years, its maverick producer burning it down in 1979, but it produced some of the era’s most inventive and distinctive roots reggae. It was the unique Black Ark sound - defined by Perry’s psychedelic phased multi-track mixing - that earned Perry a worldwide reverence, leading to collaborations with the likes of the Clash, Adrian Sherwood and the Beastie Boys.
Disco Devil: the Jamaican Remixes collects many of Perry’s full-length remixes and dub versions produced at the Black Ark. Among the instantly familiar are Junior Murvin’s ‘Bad Weed’ (based on his own ‘Police and Thieves’ rhythm) and Perry’s ‘Disco Devil’ (a version of Max Romeo’s ‘Chase The Devil’, famously sampled by the Prodigy on ‘Out Of Space’). There’s also a reminder of Perry’s love of soul music on George Faith’s cover of William Bell’s ‘To Be A Lover (Have Some Mercy)’ and the Heptones’ ‘Party Time’. Elsewhere, there’s righteous toasting from deejays and punk rock favourites Dillinger and Dr Alimantado, asking us to board the ‘Roots Train’ and ‘Rasta Train’ respectively.
Although many of the tracks on Disco Devil have been available before (most notably on 1997’s three-disc set Arkology), it’s handy to have these 12-inch versions all together, even if some benefit more than others from the extended treatment. As an aural document to a unique time and place that can never be recaptured, it’s invaluable.