Lee Scratch Perry

Lee Perry was one of the producers whose mixing board experiments resulted in the creation of dub. He left an inddelible mark on Jamaican music, especially in the 1970s, but found new form when he teamed up with modern day dub master Adrian Sherwood:

Perry experienced his first taste of UK chart success with tenor saxophonist Val Bennett's spaghetti western-inspired title, "Return Of Django", which spent three weeks at number 5 in the UK charts during October 1969. At the same time, he began producing the Wailers on a series of records including "Small Axe" and "Soul Rebel" which are now considered to be among that group's finest work.

Just over 100 singles were released between 1969 and 1974 by artists such as Dave Barker, Dennis Alcapone, the Stingers, Leo Graham, Big Youth, and the legendary Junior Byles. From 1972-74 Perry slowed down the rhythm and consolidated his position as one of the leading innovators in Jamaican music. In 1974, Perry opened his own studio, dubbed the Black Ark, situated in his backyard at 5 Cardiff Crescent, Kingston, to have more control over his productions and continued to produce notable musicians such as Bob Marley & the Wailers, Junior Byles, Junior Murvin, The Heptones, The Congos and Max Romeo.

From 1975 he began to employ studio technology, notably phase shifters and rudimentary drum machines, to produce a dense, multi-layered mixing style that is instantly recognisable, and eminently inimitable. It is all the more remarkable for the fact that all this was achieved in a four-track studio. By 1976, Island Records had begun to release the fruits of this latest phase.

It wasn't until the second half of the 80s when he teamed up with Adrian Sherwood and Style Scott's Dub Syndicate on the celebrated albums "From The Secret Laboratory", and particularly "Time Boom X De Devil Dead".

In 2006, after a gap of more than 15 years, Perry started recording with Adrian Sherwood once again, and a new album, "The Mighty Upsetter" subsequently appeared two years later in a release that was also described by some critics as another return to form.

Lee Perry, the man Bob Marley once described as a "genius", has already made one of the most individual contributions to the development of Jamaican music, as a producer, arranger and writer, and also simply as a singularly powerful guiding force during several of its crucial phases.

(Edited, adapted and supplemented from an article formerly on www.bbc.co.uk)


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