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Reggae - Released September 13, 2019 | MEGAWAVE

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Reggae - Released August 8, 2013 | Trojan Records

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Reggae - Released March 18, 2016 | Trojan Records

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Reggae - Released March 12, 2021 | MEGAWAVE

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 6, 2019 | On-U Sound

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Reggae - Released November 19, 2002 | Trojan Records

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Reggae - Released March 19, 2002 | Trojan Records

While he just seems to make his own music these days, this exceptional collection acts as a reminder that Lee "Scratch" Perry's reputation was partly established as a producer of reggae songs, one who helped push the music through its early years. He was largely responsible for making the Wailers into a band that could go on and conquer the world (just listen to "Duppy Conqueror" or "Small Axe" to understand how he helped them develop), but his work with so many other artists was impeccable -- and often very individual, such as the classic "Curly Locks" with Junior Byles. It's also worth remembering that Perry had a golden touch -- most of these singles were Jamaican hits, even the acerbic and hilarious "People Funny Boy," which featured himself (as well as the sound of a crying baby). Indeed, 1968-1979 was his truly fertile period, when he established his Black Ark studio (which he burned down in 1980), helped birth the sonic genre of dub, and shape the sound of roots reggae, while keeping it very much within the overall realm of pop music -- witness the Melodians' "Round and Round." Even his own, strange material, like "Bush Weed," had an appeal. While it's a shame that some of his best work, like Junior Murvin's "Police and Thieves" or his glowing productions for the Congos (which many deem his finest work behind the board) isn't included, there's enough here to make it a perfect primer, not just on Perry, but on Jamaican music in the 1970s. © Chris Nickson /TiVo
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Reggae - Released June 9, 2009 | MEGAWAVE RECORDS

Out of the three albums of new material that Lee "Scratch" Perry released in 2008, Scratch Came, Scratch Saw, Scratch Conquered comes in a distant third. Unlike Repentance with Andrew W.K. as producer and The Mighty Upsetter with Adrian Sherwood behind the boards, Scratch Came, Scratch Saw, Scratch Conquered is a misfire with Perry and multi-instrumentalist John Saxon failing in the chemistry department. The duo did a much better job on their 2006 collaboration, The End of an American Dream, but here the silly Spike Jones-meets-Squirrel Nut Zippers construction Saxon gives the opening "Having a Party" clues into Scratch's silly side, causing the legendary reggae man to rattle off a series of those simple rhymes that clog his most uninspired efforts. "Drink your drink/Wink your wink/And think your think" is followed by "Drunk your drunk/And punk your punk" on the track, and 13 songs later the album is closing with "I have seven wishes/Seven dishes/Seven fishes." It's only when his classic track "Colt the Game" is quoted that Scratch seems to be lyrically inspired, and his spoken introduction of Keith Richards is at least amusing plus lively, in stark contrast with the laid-back noodling the Rolling Stone provides. George Clinton's vocal contribution on "Headz Gonna Roll" is just as underwhelming as it blends into Saxon's Buddha Bar-styled production, which borrows from electronica, Gypsy music, and sometimes sleepy reggae. With two better choices being released in 2008 alone, this is for forgiving Perry collectors only. © David Jeffries /TiVo
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Reggae - Released August 1, 2013 | Trojan Records

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Reggae - Released January 1, 1976 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

By 1976, Lee "Scratch" Perry was well established at his Black Ark studio, a fact proven by the quality of the creations emerging from its walls. The success of Max Romeo's "War in a Babylon" brought a deal with Island Records and the possibility of greater financial rewards. The single was followed by a full-length album of the same name as well as deejay Jah Lion's Columbia Colly LP. Riding this crest of productivity, Scratch then turned to a creation of his own. Super Ape offered a series of the producer's finest 1976 rhythms, from Devon Irons' "When Jah Come" and the Blue Bells' "Come Along" to Romeo's "War in a Babylon" and "Chase the Devil." All are bathed in the distinct, murky atmosphere that was becoming a Black Ark trademark, then served up in the form of dub-like de-constructions. Island's U.K./U.S. sequencing of Super Ape places "Dread Lion" at the album's heart. If any track fulfills the cover's promise to "Dub it up, blacker than dread", this is it. Vocals from numerous cuts seem to compete for their spot on the rhythm, while a dizzying mix of horns, flute and melodica swirl around them. Punctuating the song's rock-solid underbelly, Perry conjures startling thunderclaps from his mixing board. Other Super Ape heavyweights include "Croaking Lizard" and "Zion's Blood": thick muscular constructs from the Upsetter session team. The former features an excellent Prince Jazzbo toast over the "Chase the Devil" rhythm, while the latter, a cut of "When Jah Come," draws its elusive meaning from vocal phrases courtesy of Heptones Earl Morgan and Barry Llewellyn. Super Ape is a dubwise, alternate universe to Perry's Black Ark vocal hits. It awaits anyone willing to heed it's closing call: "This is the ape-man, trodding through creation, are you ready to step with I man?". © Nathan Bush /TiVo
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Dub - Released March 18, 2016 | Ariwa Sounds Ltd.

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Dub - Released July 30, 2021 | Pressure Sounds

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 31, 2019 | On-U Sound

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Dub - Released October 19, 2018 | Upsetter

The Black Album is the second collaboration between dub reggae innovator Lee "Scratch" Perry and London-based producer/engineer Daniel Boyle, following 2014's Back on the Controls. Like that album, this one attempts to faithfully re-create the sound of Perry's trailblazing work from the '70s, using strictly analog equipment and instrumentation, as well as live dubbing during the mixing process. While Back on the Controls was a thoroughly successful effort which stood up to Perry's past achievements, The Black Album somehow ends up feeling par for the course. All of the ingredients are in place, from the rich instrumentation (including everything from a hurdy-gurdy to a kete drum, as well as offbeat sounds such as Boyle's baby crying at the beginning of "Mr. Brown in Town") to Perry's free-associative, often self-referential lyrics. Each of the songs are immediately reprised by dub versions, and these indulge in all of the spacy echo and delay effects one would expect, often improving on the originals. Overall, though, the music just doesn't seem quite as pushed to the outer limits as Back on the Controls. The Black Album isn't a major disappointment, but it isn't exceptional, either. © Paul Simpson /TiVo
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Ska & Rocksteady - Released May 31, 2019 | Sanctuary Records

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Reggae - Released August 1, 2013 | Trojan Records

A godsend if ever there was one, this two-disc reissue set combines three of Lee "Scratch" Perry's quirkiest and most fascinating LPs, 1976's Super Ape and 1978's Return of the Super Ape and Roast Fish, Collie Weed & Cornbread, in one package along with seven rare and related bonus tracks. It's all vintage Perry, who was at the peak of his powers as a maverick producer in 1976. His fabled Black Ark Studio in Kingston was up and running by this time and his brilliant production work on Max Romeo's classic War ina Babylon LP and fine sets by the Heptones and Junior Murvin, among others, had made him a cult figure in Britain. Furthermore, he had a potentially lucrative international distribution deal with Chris Blackwell's Island Records for his Black Ark projects. Island released Super Ape in 1976, although Blackwell had to know that this odd but brilliant mix of eccentric jazz and dub had very little commercial potential. It was, however, Top 40 material compared to Perry's sequel to the album, Return of the Super Ape, which seemed to be a random assortment of sax-drenched, ganja-soaked odds and ends, and Blackwell refused to release it. Blackwell also passed on Roast Fish, Perry's vocal project from the same time period. The two 1978 albums were then consequently released as LPs on Perry's own Lion of Judah label, condemning both to hard-to-find import status ever since. Putting all three albums together like this is an obvious move, and kudos go to Trojan/Sanctuary for finally doing what Perry fans have been hoping and praying would happen for some 30 years now. What emerges is a diverse portrait of Perry as the "dub shepherd," a sly and crafty auteur who works a Teac four-track recorder and an Echoplex delay unit like no one before or since, painting an alternate and at times goofy universe of floating vocals, detached horn charts, odd percussion, and eerie mooing sounds that, particularly in the Super Ape tracks (presented here the way Scratch intended them and not in the sequence that Island used in 1976), still manage to convey an ominous political and vaguely Afrocentric statement of personal and cultural independence. Working off the deep basslines of Boris Gardiner and the rhythms of Mikey Richards, Earl Smith, and Keith Sterling, punctuated by the horns of Bobby Ellis, Herman Marquis, Richard Hall, and Vin Gordon, and buoyed by the impeccable harmonies of the Heptones' Earl Morgan and Barry Llewellyn (not to mention a fine toast from Prince Jazzbo on the wonderful "Croaking Lizard"), Perry makes Super Ape the ultimate late-night chill album with one foot in African history and the other firmly in the space age. Return goes even further, emerging as a casual, offhand piece of dub jazz, full of sax refrains and odd percussion detours. It is wonderful to have its speed corrected here (some of the import versions were so out of sync that they seemed to be made up of gibberish), and while it isn't as fully developed a statement as Super Ape, it is a perfect if somewhat fractured augmentation to it. Roast Fish is similarly informed here, presenting Perry as a vocalist who makes up for what he lacks as a singer with a wry, DJ-styled delivery full of good humor and quirky observations on everything from food, cars, and romance to the shaky economic and political situation in Jamaica. The bonus tracks, which include Clive Hylton's original dubplate of "From Creation" with all known alternate mixes, U-Roy's "OK Corral" single, and the original Jamaican single version of "Roast Fish and Cornbread" along with an alternate mix, are well chosen and they perfectly round out this set. Taken as an archival collection and as the measure of a brilliant, eccentric producer at the absolute top of his game, Ape-ology is essential for Perry fans everywhere, and is a must for any truly complete dub or reggae collection. Challenging, skewed, eerie, beautiful, haunting, defiantly uncommercial, and so far off the beaten path that it seems to come from some other planet or dimension entirely (even by Jamaican standards), the music contained here is like no other. Welcome to Scratch's world. © Steve Leggett /TiVo
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Dub - Released May 13, 2014 | Upsetter

The mythology surrounding eccentric dub producer Lee "Scratch" Perry grew in no small part out of his relatively short-lived and tragically fated Black Ark Studio. Active between 1973-1979, the studio was home to the creation of some of Perry's most legendary productions and the place where his experiments in audio alchemy took shape. An incredible amount of essential reggae tracks and untold amounts of dub mixes were set to tape at Black Ark before Perry allegedly burned the entire place down himself in the culmination of a long stretch of erratic, rum-fueled mania. Nearly 40 years after the strange and magical days of the Black Ark, Perry aimed to recapture some of that innovative spirit with Back on the Controls. Recording in a modernized London studio between 2011-2013, the producer sought to re-create the original chain of vintage effects, analog tape machines, and bizarre vibes of the Black Ark setup, working with session players on a set of decidedly '70s roots reggae tunes and their corresponding dubs. While the album doesn't quite come off as an exact replica of Perry's ganja smoke-saturated, echo-damaged '70s recordings, the sounds are surprisingly true to form, with the same bright sheen of lo-fi production and bottom-heavy bass and the same alien broadcasting quality to Scratch's on-the-fly dub mixes. In particular, "Blackboard Re-Vision," "Sound of Jamaica," and "Repent" call back to some of his best work from the Black Ark days, some moments bearing an uncannily similar feel to classic Perry-produced albums such as Max Romeo's War Ina Babylon and the Congos' masterpiece Heart of the Congos. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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Reggae - Released January 1, 1972 | Trojan Records

One of the first "albums" released by the Upsetter, this is a good peek into what was happening at the time on the mighty isle of Jamaica. Ska was still in the grips of American R&B, and that influence runs rampant here. But, as always, the personality of Perry shines through and gives each track that Upsetter twist that keeps this stuff from being relegated to footnote status. A perfect example of this is the cover of "My Girl" here. Sure, it's the same song, but it also bears the unmistakable stamp of Perry, turning a cover of a song you've heard too often into a foot-tapping good time. Heartily recommended. © Rob Ferrier /TiVo
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Dub - Released October 30, 2015 | Ariwa Sounds Ltd.

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Reggae - Released April 17, 1998 | ROIR

The full title of this release is the rather unwieldy Lee "Scratch" Perry Meets Bullwackie in Satan's Dub. This is essentially a dub version of the 1988 recording Satan Kicked the Bucket, which Perry recorded at Bullwackie's studio in New Jersey. The dub version, which features contributions from the Chosen Brothers, is deep and dark and funky, with plenty of surreal verbal excursions and off sound effects. The groove established by the Upsetters is fine, and Bullwackie, to his credit, lets the groove go more often than he manipulates the sound. The result is a finely crafted chunk of dub that is surprisingly minimalist in its approach and is much better than the non-dub version of Satan Kicked the Bucket, which is a fairly lackluster affair. © John Dougan /TiVo