Lee’s up to Scratch

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REGGAE and dub fans take notice — for one of the greats is set to play in Glasgow.

Lee Perry, or as he is better known, “Scratch”, is one of the most legendary and influetial producers and musicians in the genre’s history.

On Sunday, the man Bob Marley once described as “genius” will be bringing his talents to the 02 ABC.

Born Rainford Hugh Perry in March 1936 in Hanover, Jamaica, he began his musical career working for seminal producer Coxsone Dodd during the late 50s and early 60s, acting as a record scout, organising recording sessions, and later supervising auditions at Dodd’s record shop in Orange Street, Kingston.

However, by 1963, as well as handling production and songwriting for Delroy Wilson and the Maytals, Perry released the first of his own vocal records through Dodd. By, 1968, Perry set up his own label in Jamaica and immediately, began having hits with David Isaacs and the Untouchables, and, began to release music in the UK.

Perry experienced his first taste of UK chart success with tenor saxophonist Val Bennett’s spaghetti western-inspired title, Return Of Django, which spent three weeks at number one in the UK charts during October 1969. At the same time, he began producing the Wailers on a series of records including Small Axe and Soul Rebel which are now considered to be among that group’s finest work.

More than 100 singles were released between 1969 and 1974 by artists such as Dave Barker, Dennis Alcapone, the Stingers, Leo Graham, Big Youth, and the legendary Junior Byles.

In the late 70s onwards, his commercial success becoming increasingly infrequent. As a result, Perry’s frustrations and personal problems began to increase.

He was still making wonderful records, but his style was now far removed from the reggae mainstream both in Jamaica and abroad. The culmination came in 1980 when he famously torched his studio and left for Europe.

Whatever the future holds, Lee Perry has already made one of the most individual contributions to the development of Jamaican music, as a producer, arranger and writer, and also simply as a singularly powerful guiding force during several of its crucial phases.

On Sunday, Perry will headline at the 02 ABC on Sauchiehall street with support from Mezzanine Allstars and Samson Sound. Tickets are £20 in advance from ticketweb.co.uk. Free entry to after party in O2 ABC2 for all ticket holders over 18.