A bonafide classic in every sense.
By 1976, Lee “Scratch” Perry was well established at his Black Ark studio and was churning out totally unique music and productions.
The Upsetters released “Super Ape” in 1976 and it still sounds original and fresh today. As well as being one of the best dub albums of all time, this album also transcends it’s genre so that even people who do not usually like reggae can appreciate the otherworldly and unique production of this brilliant record. Quite simply it’s a brilliant and inventive piece of music.
Super Ape was essentially a dub album of Lee Perry’s finest 1976 rhythms and vocal productions, from Devon Irons’ “When Jah Come” and the Blue Bells’ “Come Along”, to Max Romeo’s “War in a Babylon” and “Chase the Devil.” All the tracks are twisted, de-constructed, re-invented, and covered in a dark and sinister atmosphere.
It also has one of the single greatest reggae album covers of all time. Seeing a hand-drawn picture of spliff-smoking ape trashing the world never wears off for me. I love the B-Movie style horror font used for the words ‘Super Ape’, and the ‘Blacker Than Dread’ postage stamp. The whole thing almost has a Marvel comics fell about it
The Jamaican release for this album had different artwork and a slightly different track listing (Jamaican artwork below), but it’s the global release from Island records that I’m focusing on here.
Jamaican Artwork for Super Ape:
More ‘Lion’ than ape-like, but still a striking cover.
1: Zion’s Blood
2: Croaking Lizard
3: Black Vest
5: Curly Dub
6: Dread Lion
7: Three in One
10: Dub Along
11: Super Ape
If you don’t have this album then I strongly urge that you get it. If this page helps some of you to pick this album up, become captivated by it, and carry it around with you wherever you go, then I’ll be happy.
Listen to ‘Zion’s Blood’ by Lee Perry:
Listen to ‘Black Vest’ by Lee Perry: