gullbuy music review

Lee Perry vs. Niney the Observer




One Stop Records


Lee Perry vs. Niney the Observer CD cover Winston Holness is the fellow known as Niney the Observer. He gained the name because of his skill as a producer and supervisor of recording sessions. He first started as a student of Lee Perry and Andy Capp, learning engineering.

Lee Perry, aka Lee 'Scratch' Perry, is probably the most widely known and respected producer from Jamaica. There are many Lee Perry records on many different labels in the stores these days.

'Producers' samples the output of both producers. It "hopes to illustrate their contrasting, yet complimentary signature sounds." Presented in sound clash style, 'Producers' runs one Lee Perry track next to a Niney the Observer track, and alternates a track from each for the whole disc.

In the list below, I have put the producer's name in parantheses.

  1. The Upsetters - Freak Out Skank (Perry)
    An instrumental with horns. Origianlly released in 1973 as the B-side to the 'Jungle Lion' single.
  2. The Sons of Selassie - I Man A African (Niney)
    The lyrics celebrate that Rastafarians are Africans not Jamaicans.
  3. Junior Byles - Beat Down Babylon (Perry)
    The organ sound is really cool, and the whip sound as Junior says "whip them, whip them" make this one extra nice.
  4. Niney the Observer - Message to the Ungodly (Niney)
    Soulful backing vocals and heartfelt lyrics proclaiming the relegion of Rastafari.
  5. Leroy Sibbles - Garden of Life (Perry)
    Like many of the songs, the words are sung with great intensity, even as they sometimes are sung quite softly. The way Leroy sibbles moves from subtle to intense is part of why I like this song so much. The drum/bass/guitar/keys keep everything upbeat. I especially like the long instrumental passage near the end of the song.
  6. The Observers - Water Boiling (Niney)
    An instrumental with a jangling guitar part and horns put to the back of the mix. The music in this track really glows.
  7. Lee Perry - Kentucky Skank (Perry)
    Lots of sounds get included on this track, including running water and a slide whistle. The lyrics are light, as Lee Perry reminds me of Mickey Mouse in Fantasia, dabbling lightly in a mystical invocation as he calls out the ingredients to his musical stew..
  8. George Boswell - Jah Fire (Niney)
    Clear and direct vocals with backing. Reminds me of Burning Spear from their 'Marcus Garvey' days.
  9. The Upsetters - Night Doctor (Perry)
    Great music sounds in the organ, guitar and drums. The production has each of the elements right in front, making the sound really bright. An instrumental whose melody is carried by the organ.
  10. The Reggae Crusaders - Bring the Couchie Come (Niney)
    The first part of the song centers around the vocals. I like the way the song appears to end, then a trumpet comes back really loud as introduction to another 3 minutes as a dub (my favorite part of the track!).
  11. Junior Murvin - Bad Weed (Perry)
    A high pitch vocal from the man who sang Police and Thieves. In fact, this song uses the same music and background vocals as that song. He has a unique way of saying that bad vibes are all around and he will not fall under thier spell - "too much bad weed is in the garden. I and I will weed them out." This song just gives me that magic feeling that the best music (no matter the genre) always does.
  12. The Observers - Lightning and Thunder (Niney)
    Great farfisa organ sound in this instrumental.
  13. David Isaacs - We Are Neighbors (Perry)
    Very psychedelic and upbeat. One of the vocalists has a low voice, making this song (with its funky music and backing vocals) remind me of a reggae Sly & the Family Stone.
  14. Horace Andy - Materialist (Niney)
    The vocals are way up front, telling a story about being a poor man living in society.

Considering the size of the catalogs of both these producers, every song on 'Producers' should be top notch, which they are. None of the tracks sound run of the mill or generic. Though my personal favorites are 5, 6, 9 and 11, all the songs are pretty fine.

---Carl, February 10, 2004