Lee "Scratch" Perry

Dub Fire

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Some things never change: for instance, Lee "Scratch" Perry is still one of the funniest characters in the world of reggae music. Other things do change: for instance, these days he sings even worse than he did in the 1970s. (The liner notes refer to his "uncanny vocal resemblance to Bob Marley," but only the congenitally uncritical and the slightly deaf will agree with that assessment.) Those vocal limitations are especially obvious in light of his material, which includes several old Marley tunes ("Soul Rebel," "Rock My Boat") and one associated with the great Junior Byles ("Place Called Africa," here presented as "Africa Place"). Mad Professor's canny production and the cool, assured backing of the Robotiks band save this album from the scrap heap, but barely. Lyrical nadir: the unbelievably puerile "Doctor Dick."

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