Lee "Scratch" Perry

An Introduction to Lee Perry

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First, this is hardly a good introduction to Lee "Scratch" Perry, if indeed there even is such a thing, given Perry's myriad phases, guises, and stylistic shifts and his penchant for presenting himself as a madman loose in a house full of tilting mirrors (not to mention that his greatest work has arguably been done as a producer rather than as a performing artist). Second, the liner notes for this disc go on and on about Jamaican dub when nothing here is even close to Perry's typical dub mixes, and it is clear that the notes were written for an entirely different album and not this one at all. The 15 tracks collected here are certainly Perry, and as such they are pleasant and goofy enough to please his fans, but none of them is indispensable, vital, or essential save maybe the zippy, zany "Message from Black Ark," which features Perry riffing off of the Coasters' classic "Yakety Yak," and the almost gentle (at least by Perry standards) "Black Street," which closes the set. Given appropriate liner notes and a truly honest title, this little compilation might be a reasonable purchase for a Perry fan, but as is, it's a bit shoddy.

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