Lee "Scratch" Perry

Smokin'

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SMOKIN' is such an obvious album title for the ganja-loving mad genius of reggae, Lee "Scratch" Perry, that it's something of a shock that it took until 1994 for it to be used. Though Perry first made his name in the '60s and '70s as a producer, being instrumental in the transitions from ska into rock-steady into reggae, as well as single-handedly turning dub into its own art form, by the late '80s, Perry had changed his focus from producing to performing. As a result, these eight lengthy tracks feature Perry's trademark ranting stream-of-consciousness vocals, particularly effective on the spooky "Atlas Road Map" and the comical "Cock Roach Hotel," but little of the unique production wizardry that made his name. The tracks mostly feature real instruments in place of the computers that took over reggae in the mid-80s, and so SMOKIN' is a fine example of old-school reggae.

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