Lee "Scratch" Perry

Revelation

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Lee “Scratch” Perry's most creative act may well be in simply being Lee “Scratch” Perry. Oh, he’s more than earned his reputation as a maverick dub and reggae innovator and pioneer over the course of his 60-year career, having produced classic albums by Bob Marley & the Wailers and the Congos (and seemingly everyone else from Jamaica), building (and then destroying) his iconic Black Ark recording studio where he cooked up the distinctive Echoplex sonic sound of his middle years, and issuing over 50 albums under his own name as a performer, but his main calling card is still the fact that he’s Scratch -- and no one else is. He may not live in Jamaica anymore -- he’s lived on a mountain in Switzerland for years now -- but there’s still plenty of Kingston in him, even if he seldom gets behind a mixing board anymore. This set, originally released in 2010 (here issued with bonus tracks), was the third Perry did with U.K.-based Steve Marshall, and it features a cast of guests, including George Clinton and Keith Richards. Like the earlier two Marshall collaborations (The End of an American Dream and Scratch Came, Scratch Saw, Scratch Conquered), Perry is almost a guest here himself, freestyling and scat-talking over samples and instrumental tracks that Marshall constructed, and while it’s certainly reggae, at least Perry's version of it, it is hardly similar to anything one would hear on a contemporary reggae radio station and it’s light years away from any commercial viability. It’s Scratch being Scratch, and as he repeats over and over again in the endearing “Books of Moses” here, he remains.

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