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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
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Reggae - Released September 1, 2016 | 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
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Reggae - Released August 1, 2013 | Trojan Records

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Ska & Rocksteady - Released May 31, 2019 | Sanctuary Records

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Reggae - 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
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Reggae - Released March 1, 2017 | Trojan Records

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Reggae - Released October 2, 2012 | Lee 'Scratch' Perry, ERM

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Pop - Released January 1, 1990 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Like their first meeting (Time Boom X de Devil Dead), the second collaboration between Lee "Scratch" Perry and his acolyte, Adrian Sherwood, is a perfect mixture of Perry's manic toasting and singing and the sinuous beat supplied by the Sherwood-led Dub Syndicate and the Roots Radics. Money and attacks on capitalism (specifically the World Bank) fuel Perry's ire on this disc, but just when the going gets heavy, Scratch pulls out a tribute to cartoon detective Inspector Gadget, as well as a great cover of Leroy Sibbles' "Party Time." As with their earlier release, Perry and Sherwood work well together, perhaps due to Sherwood's fondness for psychedelicizing his dub mixes and Perry's preference for flat-out weirdness. In any event, this collaboration between pupil and teacher is one of the better releases from this portion of Perry's long musical journey. ~ John Dougan
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Reggae - Released March 1, 2017 | Trojan Records

Reggae - Released June 9, 2009 | MEGAWAVE RECORDS

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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
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Reggae - Released March 15, 2010 | Trojan Records

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Reggae - Released March 1, 2017 | 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
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Reggae - Released April 17, 1998 | ROIR

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Reggae - Released March 1, 2017 | Trojan Records

The original Jamaican extra-terrestrial is still going strong and this record marks a return to the power of Lee "Scratch" Perry's most spaced-out work, picking up where his last great record, 1990's From the Secret Laboratory, left off. On Jamaican E.T., Perry creates a contemporary and challenging set by applying his psychedelic dub to roots reggae ("10 Commandments"), modern reggae ("I'll Take You There"), hip-hop ("Hip Hop Reggae"), and dazed, otherworldly exotica ("Jah Rastafari, Jungle Safari"). The riddims are groovy, transporting even, but Perry's greatest strength has always been his mixology. On this album, instead of his usual dub mixes full of insane rhythmic effects, Perry utilizes the voice as his primary instrument of dub. Throughout Jamaican E.T., vocals -- laid-back toasting, singing, mumbling, and gospel backups -- come in and out, criss-crossing and swirling, truly setting a new mark for the reggae voice. At the beginning of "I'll Take You There," Perry repeats, "Lee 'Scratch' Perry forever," a statement that, after a decade of misses, listeners can finally get behind and chant along with him. ~ Charles Spano
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Reggae - Released October 16, 2015 | Pressure Sounds

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Reggae - Released May 19, 2017 | Upsetter

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Reggae - Released April 13, 2019 | Where It's At Is Where You Are

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Reggae - Released June 9, 2009 | MEGAWAVE RECORDS

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The End of an American Dream is a collaboration between 71-year-old Lee "Scratch" Perry and Steve Marshall in which Marshall has done all the heavy lifting. It is he who composed the music and played all the instruments on the disc. Those instrumental tracks are full of samples and other computer-generated sounds, including everything from actual musical instruments to traffic noise, all arranged into a rhythmic, percussive whole. Perry's role is restricted to what appear to be free-associative vocal improvisations over those tracks. Marshall adds echo effects and sometimes juxtaposes two or three Perry vocals within a track, but the legendary Jamaican artist seems to have just come into the studio and let fly, leaving it to Marshall to integrate his musical musings into coherent songs, more or less. Perry repeats words from one track to the next, and although titles have been assigned to those tracks, sometimes it seems like one title would have worked better on another track than on the one to which it has been affixed. The opening song, for example, is called "Disarm," but Perry spends most of it reciting the names of different countries; it's the final track, "Disco Cats," that finds him using the word "disarm" over and over. He seems to just sing whatever comes into his head, and sometimes that means borrowing words from other songs. For example, "I Will Be There" features lyrics from Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now" and Bob Marley's "Punky Reggae Party." Despite its foreboding title, The End of an American Dream is not one of Perry's more ambitious efforts; it doesn't sound like it took him more than one session to record his contributions to Marshall's music, and it doesn't sound like he brought any advance preparation to that session. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Reggae - Released January 1, 1997 | New Rounder