Adventurous sounds on Kung Fu Meets the Dragon

220px-TheUpsetters-KungFuMeetsTheDragonIn 1974 Lee “Scratch” Perry opened his mythical studio Black Ark. A year after he dropped the dubstrumental album Kung Fu Meets the Dragon, credited to The Mighty Upsetter.

This set was recently reissued by UK’s Sunspot Records. But not as the initially released album. This version collects no less than seven bonus cuts and comes in a beautiful gatefold sleeve with two LP’s.

According to the excellent liner notes by Harry Carpenter, Lee Perry was obsessed with martial arts, hence the album title and several song titles referring to motion pictures from the 70s and kung fu.

Musically Kung Fu Meets the Dragon is similar to Scratch albums such as Musical Bones, Rhythm Shower and Cloak and Dagger. It’s not dub, but not completely instrumental either. Scratch plays with the mixing board like a child on a sugar overdose and showcases his forward thinking and innovativeness.

It’s funky with lots of odd sound effects and gracious melodica played by the late Augustus Pablo. Just listen to the haunting and spaced out Iron Fist or the up-tempo Scorching Iron.

Kung Fu Meets the Dragon collects several riddims only utilized on very few occasions and it has been reissued several times before, but I believe this version excels all the previous ones.

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