Only recently it was announced that Rainford Hugh Perry, universally known as Lee "Scratch" Perry, is set to return with Rainford, a new album produced by Adrian Sherwood, a long-term collaborator with whom he'd shared a working relationship since the mid-1980s. We're told to expect the "strongest batch of original material that Perry has released for many years," according to On-U Sound, the British label behind the release.
Over the course of a 50-year career, Perry has released more solo albums than some have had hot dinners; and he has started more labels than many have releases. He was born in Jamaica and began his music career in the '50s, working as an apprentice at Studio One, one of Jamaica's most renowned record labels and studios, before moving to Joe Gibbs' Amalgamated Records. Disagreements forced him to find his own path, starting Upsetter Records in 1968. With his first major single, "People Funny Boy," he pioneered the reggae genre with a fast, chugging beat and innovative use of sampling.
Perry went on to fill the '70s by releasing records on various labels, making a name for himself on home turf and across the United Kingdom. A string of high-profile collaborations with Bob Marley & the Wailers, Junior Byles, Junior Murvin, and the Heptones, among others, marked Perry as one of the most innovative and original producers out there. "'Scratch' had a particular sound and everybody was fascinated by his sound," recalls Jamaican percussionist Paul Douglas. "He had this way of putting things together; it was just his sound and it influenced a lot of people."
Perry's list of achievements grew through the '80s and '90s. A vocalist appearance as vocalist for Beastie Boys' "Dr. Lee, PhD," exposed him to a wider audience; in 2003, he won a Grammy for Best Reggae Album with the album Jamaican E.T.; then, just a year later, Rolling Stone ranked Perry #100 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. There are two films made about his life and work.
Now 83, Perry's output has waned even if his enthusiasm for music hasn't. His last major body of work came in 2015 with The Super Ape Strikes Again in collaboration with Belgium-based band Pura Vida. One year before that, he recorded an album with Daniel Boyle, released in May 2014 as Lee "Scratch" Perry—Back on the Controls; and before that he teamed up with The Orb, Dubblestandart, and also Adrian Sherwood on The Mighty Upsetter. Between 2007 and 2010, Perry worked with British producer Steve Marshall on three albums that featured performances by Keith Richards and George Clinton. Two of these , End Of An American Dream and Revelation, received Grammy nominations in the category Best Reggae Album. He's now based in Switzerland with his wife and two children.
Perry's XLR8R podcast is a mixture of old and new. You'll enjoy a first-play of some his latest productions, "Cricket On The Moon" and "African Starship," plus some of his older work, either in collaboration or solo. Alongside these, he's added some originals by Dub Syndicate, a dub band formed by Adrian Sherwood including one where he features. Download it now via the WeTransfer button below.
Due to issues regarding the GDPR, EU readers can download the podcast here.
01. Lee “Scratch” Perry "Pick ’n’ Mix"
02. Lee “Scratch” Perry "Music & Science & Madness"
03. Lee Perry & Dub Syndicate "Train to Doomsville"
04. Lee “Scratch” Perry "Heavan & Hell" (Dubplate)
05. Lee “Scratch” Perry "Dubbing Psycho Thriller"
06. Dub Syndicate "Fucious"
07. Dub Syndicate "Let The Spirit Rise"
08. Lee “Scratch” Perry "Scientific Dancehall"
09. Dub Syndicate feat. Lee Perry "The Only Alternative"
10. Sherwood & Pinch (feat. Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry) "Lies"
11. Lee “Scratch” Perry "Obeah Room" (Digital Mystikz Remix)
12. Lee “Scratch” Perry "African Starship"
13. Lee “Scratch” Perry "Cricket On The Moon"
Rainford is available for pre-order now.