Reggae From Scratch – Lee Perry (1968-78)

Lee “Scratch” Perry is known for his innovative studio techniques, unique production style, and weird tunes. Having worked with ska first, he combines influences from soul, funk, reggae, and dub in the early and mid seventies.

With his studio band The Upsetters, Perry produced music since 1968 and released hundreds of records on the Upsetter label. In 1973, Perry builds the Black Ark Studio behind his family’s home in Kingston and launches the Black Art label. Just five years later, the eccentric producer burns the studio down – as a sacrifice, he states, because of ‘unclean spirits’ that the place had attracted over time.

46-minute program with 14 tracks from the Perry orbit, produced between 1968 and ’78.

Featured cover art: Lee Perry & The Upsetters ‎– Revolution Dub

Lee Perry & The Gaylets – How Come

asking a less than innocent question (1968, WIRL / Re: Trojan Records)

The Hippy Boys – Nurse J’kel

The Hippy Boys’ members were also active in Perry’s studio band The Upsetters; Nurse J’kel, however, was produced by Sonia Pottinger, the first female Jamaican record producer (1969, High Note Records / Re: Trojan Records)

Lee Perry – Sipreano

featuring organ riffs by Winston Wright and dialogue borrowed from the Steve McQueen western Nevada Smith (1970, Upsetter / Re: Trojan Records)

The Upsetters – Soul Walk

spaced-out electric keyboard textures and a funky riddim (1970, Upsetter / Re: Trojan Records)

The Upsetters – Cold Weather

exploring synths and starting to develop the Black Ark Studio sound (1973, Black Art Records / Re: Antarctica Starts Here)

Jah-T – Lick The Pipe Peter Part 4

praising collie weed (1972, Upsetter / Re: Trojan Records)

The Mighty Upsetter – Enter The Dragon

from the LP Kung Fu Meets the Dragon, making references to martial arts films that became popular in the mid seventies (1975, Dip / Re: Justice League)

Lee “Scratch” Perry & Junior Byles – Dreader Locks

version of Byles’ smasher Curly Locks with Perry melding rhythm and echo talks (1974, Dip / Re: Doctor Bird)

Lee Perry & The Upsetters – Bush Weed

rigorously deconstructing Ricky & Bunny‘s hit by the means of dub (1975, Cactus / Re: Trojan Records)

The Upsetters – Tedious (Dub)

dub version of a track from Junior Murvin’s hit album Police & Thieves, produced by Lee Perry (1977, Orchid / Re: Trojan Records)

Susan Cadogan – Nice ‘n’ Easy

impressed by Anne Cadogan’s voice, Lee Perry starts recording with the young singer, also renaming her Susan. In the upcoming year, her hit Hurt So Good stayed in the top-5 of the UK Single Chart for 12 weeks (1975, Upsetter / Re: Trojan Records)

Lee Perry & The Upsetters – Kojak

Perry as an impersonator of the New York based Detective Lieutenant (1975, Cactus / Re: Trojan Records)

Lee Perry & The Upsetters – Bird in Hand

from the final LP to be recorded at Black Ark Studio: Return Of The Super Ape – this track is a cover of the Indian song Milte Hi Aankhe, featured in the 1950 film Babul (1978, Lion Of Judah / Re: VP Records)

Keith Rowe – Groovy Situation

on a trip from the US back to Jamaica, Rowe meets Perry in his studio, searching for yet another new sound (1977, Black Swan / Re: Trojan Records)

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