Sipple Out Deh – Max Romeo

Sipple Out Deh - Max Romeo

Max Romeo's "War In A Babylon" is one of Scratch's most famous productions, but not all fans have heard the original Jamaican version, entitled "Sipple Out Deh" (also released on an Upsetters 7" as "It Sipple Out Deh War Ina Babylon").

Max Romeo approached Scratch with the concept for a tune that dealt with the violence in Jamaica, claiming that it was "dread out there". Scratch liked the idea but suggested that it was "sipple (slippery) out there" and the lyric was duly changed. When Chris Blackwell heard the single, he was so impressed that he gave Scratch the green light to record an entire album's worth of material for an Island release.

While the original Upsetter mix is not drastically different from the more famous Island mix, perhaps the best way to describe this version is "feverish". Romeo's vocal sounds as if he's standing in a giant tin can, the backing vocals shimmer with ghostly echo, and the rhythm guitar sounds like a match being struck over and over again. It's the soundtrack to a hot, dirty summer in Kingston in 1976 with violence lurking around every sweltering corner. The B-side dub, "Revelation Dub", is even more mind bending.

"Sipple Out Deh" seemed like a perfect song to include on Arkology or other subsequent Scratch compilation, but it remains in the land of scratchy vinyl. Collectors take note: the later mix was also released on an Upsetter single (LP-3029) and twice as an Upsetters single (LP-3029 and LP-8049), so if you want the original mix (LP-2997), be sure to check the matrix number.

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