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Lee Perry in San Francisco

Lee Perry in San Francisco

Lee Perry in San Francisco

By on - Photos by Lee Abel - 1 comment

I Ain't 'Fraid a No Duppies - Lee "Scratch" Perry and The Selecter Live at the Regency Ballroom, San Francisco, CA, April 16.

Lee Perry

He is the man who once waved his hands and sprinkled white rum in the four corners of his recording studio, blessing each session. He is a mystic man, a duppy conqueror. Born under the name Rainford Hugh Jackson in Kendal, JA, he has been called Pipecock Jackxon and the Upsetter, but he is best known as innovative, Grammy- winning  producer Lee “Scratch” Perry, hailed by “Rolling Stone” magazine as one of the 100 greatest artists of all time. As depicted in the 2012 documentary “Marley,” some of Perry’s best work can be heard on the  Wailers’ “Soul Revolution,” (1971) featuring tracks such as “Duppy Conqueror," “Kaya,” “African Herbsman” and “Keep on Moving.

If there were any duppies lurking at the posh Regency Ballroom on a frigid night in San Francisco on April 16, they were quickly exorcised when the diminutive performer took the stage. Perry, a proud eccentric, is known for his antics, such as smearing his excrement on his own  walls and referring to his “manhood” as Jesus Christ at a press conference. On a 1997 tour with the Mad Professor, I witnesses scores of reggae disciples literally sitting at his feet in his room at the Phoenix Hotel in San Francisco as he dispensed words of wisdom in the wee hours of the morning. Depending on his mood, Perry may call you a chicken lover or give you a hug.

Lee Perry in San FranciscoPerry’s spring show at the Regency Ballroom was rather tame. First, he built a tiny alter consisting of a candle, incense and bananas, the meaning of which, is open for interpretation. Perry, it seemed, aimed to out dress everyone in the room, with his magenta afro and matching beard, T-shirt bearing the likeness of Emperor Haile Selassie, and a spiked hat with flashing lights. The 77-year-old genius must have put on every piece of jewelry in his collection. On each of his magic fingers, he wore a unique gemstoned ring. As Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston would say, this man will put the trunk on his back and the lid on his head.

Backed by the Subatomic Sound System, consisting of a bass player and a melodica- playing mixer, Perry sang in a shrill, frail voice and delivering his signature dub and drum and bass riddims. The most controversial statement that someone in the audience heard him make was “bless your piss, bless your shit.” Hmm… Before his brief set ended, Perry chanted  “Bless You” as he waved a scepter bearing a miniature version of himself over the crowd.

Ironically, the iconic Perry was the opening act for The Selecter, a ballistic ska band from Coventry, England. DJ Harry Duncan, host of the “In the Soul Kitchen” radio show,” www.inthesoulkitchen.blogspot.com, View shared postplayed rare vintage reggae music on vinyl in the interim. The punky reggae party continued with Selecter, featuring front woman  and cool ruler, Pauline Black.

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Read comments (1)


Posted by Mr T on 07.29.2013
Good article but went into too much detail concerning the shit on the wall!

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