Lee “Scratch” Perry was a Jamaican composer and producer known for such songs as “Bucky Skank” (1973).
He died and the last member of the holy trinity (Lee Perry, Sun Ra and Fela Kuti) of 20th century black musical “auteurs” is no more.
Perry was an Afro-futurist, Afro-humorist, Afro-dadaist and Afro-surrealist. He taught the world that a mixing desk could be used as a musical instrument.
There was a period in my life he was all I listened to. Album such as Blackboard Jungle Dub (1973), Super Ape (1976) and Return of the Super Ape (1978) were a on repeat and albums such as Cloak and Dagger (1973), Black Board Jungle Dub (1973), and Revolution Dub (1975), were, along with the work of King Tubby, the foundation of dub music.
My brother at one time owned nearly all of his albums.
An issue of Grand Royal by the Beastie Boys was dedicated to Lee.
His flying cymbal sound is as notorious as that of Bunny Lee.
He claims to have part in the authorship of many of the early Bob Marley and the Wailers songs.
What a loss. Not only for the reggae world but for the musical world at large. He was a visionary, the Sun Ra of reggae, saying stuff like:
“I see the studio must be like a living thing, a life itself. The machine must be live and intelligent. Then I put my mind into the machine and the machine perform reality. Invisible thought waves – you put them into the machine by sending them through the controls and the knobs or you jack it into the jack panel. The jack panel is the brain itself, so you got to patch up the brain and make the brain a living man, that the brain can take what you sending into it and live.”
He was a mad genius who wrote, how many songs? Many of them recorded on a four track system, but an incredibly spacious sound.
RIP mister Perry, this feels like a personal loss.
I wanted to do a more thorough write-up, but I only came up with this mixtape: Judge Dread (1967), People Funny Boy (1968), Pop Corn (1970), A Place Called Africa (1970), 400 Years (1970), African Herbman (1971), Mr. Brown (1971), Sun Is Shining (1971), Bucky Skank (1973), Justice to the People (1973), Kentucky Skank (1974), “Curly Locks” (1974), Doctor on the Go (1975), Woman’s Gotta Have It (1975), Chase the Devil (1976), Croaking Lizard (1976), Hurt So Good (1976), Super Ape (1976), White Belly Rat (1976), Zion’s Blood (1976), Big Muff (1977), City Too Hot (1977), Groovy Situation (1977), To Be a Lover (1977), Bafflin’ Smoke Signal (1978), Soul Fire (1978), Throw Some Water In (1978), Huzza a Hana (1978), I Am a Madman (1986).