OK, maybe it took me until “Armagideon Time” by The Clash to “get” dub, but once I got it, I really got it. Started checking out guys like Mikey Dread (who they used on Black Market Clash), and went deeper. Eventually I discovered the be-all and end-all of dub, Lee “Scratch” Perry. Apparently, everything you have heard about this cat is true — times about 1,000. His latest release, Revelation, is so steeped in ganja I had to give my CD player a shot of Cleanse to make it play anything else. Then it got hungry…
“Revelation, Revolution, And Evolution” is such classic “Scratch” it makes me hunger for the years when this type of music was actually being regularly made. No small credit goes to The Clash for popularizing dub. There is no way in hell that this white boy from a small town in the Northwest would have gotten into these sounds without them. But listen to the Master. Revelation is manna from heaven for fans like myself.
Tracks like “Used To Drive A Tractor In Negrille” just groove with a Marley-endorsed vibe, then kick everything into high gear with some tasty dub. Babylon, as typified as “the three” won’t be there at the party. The three? “CIA, FBI, CBS – won’t be there, at my party.” That comes from cut three, “Firepower,” and we have barely even begun.
This is as good as this type of music gets. Traditional dub gets exposed once again on tracks such as “Let There Be Light” and “Run For Cover.” On the final tune, “An Eye For An Eye,” Perry brings it home. Using his best dub skills, coupled with a solid reggae beat and lyrics that spell out his intentions, “Scratch” says it as only one of his biggest fans (Keef) could: “I’m not getting older, I’m getting better.” Then he just riffs off of it, and winds up with the line, “An eye for an eye.“ It is a master class in toasting.
This whole album just reeks — in the best possible way. Hold on, I think a skunk may have walked into my listening room. Oh wait, it’s Lee “Scratch” Perry. Better turn off the smoke detector.