Regarded with awe and affection, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry is one of the most enduring and original reggae producers and artists of all time.
From his early days in the 1960s as a singer and engineer for Coxsone Dodd’s Studio One in Kingston, through his production of the Wailers’ classics African Herbsman and Soul Revolution, Perry’s innovative style marks him as one of reggae’s original treasures.
His on-the-edge creativity remains evident in his own solo albums of the 1970s through his steady stream of mind-boggling releases of the 1980s.
One of reggae’s undisputed pioneers, ‘The Upsetter’ Perry has worked with almost everyone from the Heptones to the Skatalites to the Clash. Certainly among his most notable contributions was the pairing of Bob Marley with Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer with the Barnet Brothers - Carley and Familyman who had been the heart of the Perry’s group, the Upsetters - which led to the forming of Bob Marley And The Wailers.
After his own studio, Black Ark, burned to the ground in the late 1970s, Perry laid low for a while, only to resurface with a vengeance in England in the mid-1980s. He went back into the studio with a variety of partners, from Adrian Sherwood to Terence Trent D’Arby. During this time, Perry took up residence in the Swiss Alps. He commented: “The mountains give me the fresh Swiss air to replenish my structure so I can soon join the immortal race.”
Luckily for music fans he has come down from the mountain, and the world music market has been gifted with more of his work.
Perry’s stream of consciousness rants have been described the babblings of the lunatic by some, and the offerings of a prophet by others. Either way, his unique dubbing style is infectious. Often, the words are broken down into their purest elements, sound and feeling. Perry’s groundbreaking use of sound effects, echo reverb, and rewind adds a new dimension to the folk tradition of reggae, and has influenced countless other artists.
In his plethora of newer material, Perry expounds on his favourite themes of extraterrestrials, judgment, justice, corruption, carnality, and self proclamation, all over incredible rhythms.
Always one to follow the beat of his own drummers, the eccentric genius continues to break new ground with the hardest rebel Rasta tunes and the most unpredictable instrumental dubs. Lee Perry has most recently been touring Europe, riveting both old and new fans with a full measure of his blessings.
The Upsetter continues making music that recalls African roots but reaches far outwards - not to mention that this is perhaps the only 80 plus year old who can dance on one leg for one hour straight. Tickets £20 from 01424 229111 or dlwp.com.