A year after Lee Perry’s passing, King Scratch: Musical Masterpieces from the Upsetter Ark-ive gathers 40 top-shelf Upsetter productions that serve as an ideal introduction to Perry’s sublimely bizarre oeuvre for the uninitiated, or an immaculately curated retrospective for the already enlightened.
Here’s one to most definitely catch before the man takes it down. The definitive life story chronicling Jamaican music legend–the upsetter–Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. Narrated by Benicio Del Toro and directed by Ethan Higbee & Adam Bhala Lough.
When I call up the reggae legend, Lee “Scratch” Perry, The Upsetter, to talk about his new album Rainford I reach him on a grainy WhatsApp audio connection. He’s in Jamaica and he’s in bed, “looking at the lights. looking at the day, and looking at the night.”
Perry’s in his eighties and when he gets going he speaks in limericks, but he doesn’t come across as wacky, just joyful. The first thing I notice about Perry is the giggle that roils through the conversation and punctuates his sentences. It’s disarming, a Buddha-like by-product of a lifetime of producing joy by way of deep and heavy rhythms, and meant for killing egos.