About Lee “Scratch” Perry & The Upsetters
Some call him a genius, others claim he’s certifiably insane, a madman. Truth is, he’s both, but more importantly, Lee Perry is a towering figure in reggae — a producer, mixer, and songwriter who, along with King Tubby, helped shape the sound of dub and made reggae music such a powerful part of the pop music world. Along with producing some of the most influential acts (Bob Marley & the Wailers and the Congos to name two but) in reggae history, Perry’s approach to production and dub mixing was breathtakingly innovative and audacious — no one else sounds like him — and while many claim that King Tubby invented dub, there are just as many who would argue that no one experimented with it or took it further than did Lee Perry.
From this point through the ’70s, Perry released an astonishing amount of work under his name and numerous, extremely creative pseudonyms: Jah Lion, Pipecock Jakxon, Super Ape, The Upsetter, and his most famous nom de plume, Scratch. Many of the singles released during this period were significant Jamaican (and U.K.) hits, instrumental tracks like “The Return of Django,” “Clint Eastwood,” and “The Vampire,” which cemented Perry’s growing reputation as a major force in reggae music. Becoming more and more outrageous in his pronouncements and personal appearance (when it comes to clothing, only Sun Ra could hold a candle to Perry’s thrift-store outfits), Perry and his remarkable house band, also named the Upsetters, worked with just about every performer in Jamaica. It was in the early ’70s after hearing some of King Tubby’s early dub experiments that Perry also became interested in this form of aural manipulation. He quickly released a mind-boggling number of dub releases and eventually, in a fit of creative independence, opened his own studio, Black Ark.
– John Dougan, All Music