To honor the first anniversary of the passing of reggae legend and dub pioneer Lee “Scratch” Perry Trojan Records is releasing a comprehensive box set, King Scratch (Musical Masterpieces from the Upsetter Ark-ive), out September 2, spanning the artist’s nearly 65-year career.
Videos by American Songwriter
Available in multiple formats—double CD, double vinyl, and deluxe box set—King Scratch features 109 tracks, including rare and unreleased DJ mixes, a previously unreleased mix of Junior Murvin’s “Police And Thieves” and “Hurt So Good” by Susan Cadogan, along with The Upsetters’ classics “Return Of Django” and a 7″ mix of “Jungle Lion,” which was released along with the news of the box set.
The box set also includes a 50-page illustrated book, written by Perry’s official biographer David Katz, along with photos by photographer Adrian Boot and a 24” x 24” color poster.
Perry released one of his final albums Rainford—named after the dub master, who was born Rainford Hugh Perry on March 20, 1936—in 2019 with a following remix album Heavy Rain, featuring remixes by Brian Eno and longtime collaborator and co-producer Adrian Sherwood.
In 2021, the Canadian doom metal band New Age Doom released Lee “Scratch” Perry’s Guide to the Universe, an experimental mashup of heavy metal, electronics, jazz, and drone and one of the last collaborations for Perry before his death at the age of 85 on August 29.
A pioneer of dub and a reggae magician who produced and collaborated with everyone from Bob Marley and the Wailers to The Clash, The Beastie Boys, and Keith Richards and helped ignite the earlier careers of reggae artists like Marley, The Heptones, Max Romero, and Junior Murvin, continued making and releasing new material up until his death in 2021.
This year, the Criterion Channel also debuted the documentary on the legend, The Upsetter: The Life & Music of Lee “Scratch” Perry.
“I’m telling you from my heart what my heart say,” Perry told American Songwriter in 2020. “I am a writer. I’m a fighter. I’m a biter. I’m a healer. I’m not a stealer. I’m not a killer. I’m a pillar.”
Read the full 2020 American Songwriter interview with Lee “Scratch” Perry HERE.
Photo: Lea Jobson