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Lee 'Scratch' Perry - The Black Album

Lee 'Scratch' Perry - The Black Album

Lee 'Scratch' Perry - The Black Album

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Lee Perry new double album is a winner and is his best work for some time.


Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry - The Black AlbumAll hail the latest release from Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. This new album sees him back at the Rolling Lion studio in London, with reggae legend (and gentleman) Robbie Lyn in tow, whilst Daniel Boyle oversees the production in an analogue style.

A hugely attractive feature of this double album is that every track is re-produced in dub, which will appeal to all those who enjoy escaping into trance-land! Another attractive feature of the produce is Perry and Boyle’s excellent use of supplementary female and male vocalists, together with an array of instrumental effects, including kete drums and hurdy gurdy! Given the all-star studio band’s track record, alongside inputs from ex-army living legend guitarist Hughie Izachaar and Belgian ace and reggae stalwart Pura Vida’s Puraman on melodica, this most welcome instrumental and vocal variety should be no surprise.

The album opens with a wailing child, before Perry delivers a beautiful bouncy reggae rhythm on Mr Brown In Town, with tasteful vocals adding to one of the best tracks I’ve heard from the Perry stable for many years. And as is often the case, the dub version is even better! Then Trendsetter kicks in, as Perry’s ego takes over, advising us that he’s the ‘crown bearer’ and of his modus operandi in ‘upsetting the universe’. Next up, the cleverly titled Your Shadow Is Black features a nice amalgam of flute, melodica and harmonising singers, all acting in support of Perry’s always unique lyrics. Thereafter, Dead Meat sees Perry underline his longstanding abhorrence of meat and his avoidance of tobacco, all set to a rhythm that will have you on the move in a groove from start to finish!

Preceding Abbey Road Version is Dub At Abbey Road, as both the original and version tracks weave neatly in a rootsy rhythm, allowing Perry to recall the Beatles’ heyday and their LSD consumption. Like the album’s opening track, this cut constitutes an appropriate nod to musical history, as the vocal sessions for this album were held in the Abbey Road studio. The Bumpy Road Of Life then sets sail, with backing vocals offering an important and invaluable contrast to Perry’s – a man who’s well positioned to offer an opinion on the bumps and thumps of life! When it comes to Captain Perry – where the vocal harmonies again lend a crucial contrast to Perry’s limited range - I’m reminded that there’s no one quite capable of ‘big upping’ themselves (and delivering risqué politically incorrect statements and getting away with it) than Perry. Hence, only he can proclaim that he’s Killing Dancehall Softly, a sentiment that will go down well with his politically correct roots aficionados! The closing Solid State Communication track (plus dub) enables the all too rare brass effect to take the music to a celestial level, as Perry confirms that he’s ‘solid as a rock, king of kings’. Who would dare to argue?

Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry

This double album is a winner and is Perry’s best work for some time. The Mr. Brown In Town track declares that Perry is back ‘on the street again’ and ‘I'm still alive, refuse to die’. Here’s hoping – long may you thrive and jive Mr. P. … and secure the Grammy that’s so richly deserved for this work.

The Black Album was released on October 18th, 2018 and is available from Upsetter Records on double LP, CD and digital download.

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