by Marlon West (FB: marlon.west1 Twitter: @marlonw IG: stlmarlonwest Spotify: marlonwest)
Yesterday we lost the great Lee “Scratch” Perry, the monumental reggae singer, producer, and studio wizard who pushed the boundaries of Jamaican music.
He worked with and produced for many artists, including Bob Marley and the Wailers, the Congos, Adrian Sherwood, the Beastie Boys, and many others.
Perry also was a crucial figure in the development of the homegrown art form of dub, which involved the stripping of vocals from previously released recordings and treating the instrumental beds with a variety of otherworldly effects.
Perry serviced dozens of classic “dub plates” to Jamaican sound system dancehalls. Keith Richards told Rolling Stone back in 2010, “You could never put your finger on Lee Perry – he’s the Salvador Dali of music. He’s a mystery. The world is his instrument. You just have to listen. More than a producer, he knows how to inspire the artist’s soul. Like Phil Spector, he has a gift of not only hearing sounds that come from nowhere else but also translating those sounds to the musicians. Scratch is a shaman.”
Brotha had a healthy sense of his own impact, too. “I am the best record producer that Jamaica has seen. Many say that l am the best in the world!” he said in 1984.
Here’s a collection devoted to the best of one the greats. Stay sane, safe, and kind, y’all.
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