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Album Review

The discographies of Jamaican artists and producers can be a daunting and often confusing mare's nest of dubs, toasts, mixes, remixes, versions, and new versions grafted endlessly over old rhythms, until any degree of certainty of exactly what a recording is can be difficult to say. Producer and auteur Lee "Scratch" Perry stands as a perfect example of this knotty dilemma. His penchant for recycling classic rhythms, scat talking over the top, then dub mixing them on the fly has yielded both diamonds (the absolutely essential Super Ape) and hit-or-miss coal (the baffling Return of the Super Ape). Perry further confuses things by delivering different mixes to different markets until anyone interested in his work simply has to throw up their hands and dive in, taking some chances while knowing the odds of diamonds to coal isn't particularly high; but those diamonds are just so amazing you can't help yourself. So, what Scratch Walking appears to be is a collection of tracks drawn from Return of the Super Ape and Roast Fish Collie Weed & Corn Bread, which isn't all bad, since both of those albums were highly erratic. But, taken together, they form a fascinating whole. If you like Scratch and you know what you're getting into here, then this collection comes recommended (unless you already own the above two albums).

Scratch Walking, Lee "Scratch" Perry & The Upsetters
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