“Return of Django” by The Upsetters

Early in Lee Perry's career as an independent producer, he recorded a slew of instrumentals credited to his house band, The Upsetters. For song titles, Perry took inspiration from Spaghetti Westerns. Like many reggae artists, he loved that film genre. A quick glance at his output includes

Let's add to that list “Return of Django,” my favorite of the late 60s/early 70s Perry instrumentals. The recording features tenor saxophonist Val Bennett in one of his finest efforts.

“Return of Django” was especially popular in the U.K., where it was a top-ten hit for over a month in November, 1969. Unfortunately, most record buyers had no idea who played the scorching sax because Bennett's name didn't appear on the label. The omission was probably not deliberate. After all, Perry did credit him on other records from this period, e.g., “Stranger on the Shore,” “Val Blows In,” and the aforementioned “Big John Wayne.” But what a shame that one of his biggest hits failed to name the veteran musician.

“Sick and Tired”

“Sick and Tired” was released on the Justice League label ca. 1973

In 1973, Perry produced singer Neville Grant covering “Sick and Tired” (written by New Orleans rhythm and blues artist Chris Kenner, based on an earlier tune called “Oh Red”). For this cover version, Perry fit the lyrics of “Sick and Tired” over the “Return of Django” rhythm, saxophone solo and all.

Release Notes

“Return of Django” was released as a single in 1969. The b-side was “Dollar in the Teeth,” making it a Spaghetti Western-themed twofer. Its chart success in the U.K. led to the Return of Django LP, featuring a dozen Upsetters instrumentals. The song has since been reissued numerous times, including on these compilations:

“Sick and Tired”

Neville Grant's cover of the Chris Kenner classic was released as a single in 1973. It can be found on these compilations:

Note that A Live Injection... contains both the original instrumental and the vocal version.