Return of Django - The Upsetters
Usually the best-known reggae tunes get long in the tooth after awhile. As much as I love songs like Desmond Dekker's "Shanty Town" and Jimmy Cliff's "You Can Get It If You Really Want", their "greatest hits" status gives them a certain redundancy. "Return Of Django", however, is simply one of the coolest songs ever recorded and I never get tired of hearing it. Certainly it must have been the soundtrack to a lot of cool parties in Britain during 1969.
The song started off as "Sick And Tired", a cover of the Chris Kenner R&B tune. Scratch wasn't satisfied with the results and shelved the recording for a year. When he released it on an Upsetter 7" in 1969, he renamed it "Return Of Django", inspired by the character in the Sergio Coubucci spaghetti western Django. While it didn't make that much of an impact in Jamaica, within the year "Return Of Django" was a top 10 hit in England after being released as an Upsetter UK single. It gave the opportunity for Scratch and the Upsetters to go on a six-week tour of England, a first for a reggae band. While the tour was chaotic, it gave Scratch and his music huge exposure in Europe; other Upsetters instrumentals such as "Live Injection" would later hit the British charts.
Several years later, Scratch dusted off "Django" again as the rhythm track to a vocal version of "Sick And Tired" by Neville Grant, released as a Justice League B-side in 1973. On "Sick And Tired", the rhythm is noticeably slower than the rocking "Django"; it is unclear whether Scratch slowed it down for Neville's vocal, or speeded it up for "Django".