Every musical genre needs characters and Lee Perry has certainly been reggae's. Just cop a load of our accompanying video to 'Golden Clouds', recorded with The Orb as an update to the band's ambient '90s anthem and hit 'Little Fluffy Clouds'. Sporting coloured wigs, donning a bowl of fruit as a hat, murmuring sporadic psychobabble like some prophetic shaman - and did we mention the bananas on his head? Never mind the Jamaican's fabulous eccentricities, take a look at his history and his achievements.
Perry has outlived pretty much all of his peers and counterparts (he's 76 years old and counting) and has a wealth of recordings to prove it. From the '50s onwards, Lee Perry, The Upsetter, Scratch Perry, Pipecock Jacxson or whatever other name he's chosen to sell music, record, produce or remix under, has been at the forefront of the Jamaican music-scene. As a producer, he's steered Bob Marley, Junior Murvin, The Congos and Max Romeo to perfection on numerous albums and singles and as a recording artist has proven to be one of the most prolific and consistent. After burning his The Black Ark to the ground in a pique of rage in the '80s, he became a collaborator and has since worked with Adrian Sherwood, Alpha and Omega, Beastie Boys and many others, including his latest foils, The Orb for their 'Observer in the Star House' project. Criminally, aside from his must-have 'Arkology' compilation in 1997, 'Observer...' is his only other Top 100 Album.
As more compilations hit the racks this year (Pressure Sounds with 'High Plains Drifter - Jamaican 45s 68-73, one of many key periods) and more music comes forth from his own pin-sharp musical brain, the Perry pulse is still being well and truly fingered. The man himself will also be touring (after a fashion) with a handful of appearances confirmed for the autumn.
Dates include a slot at Bristol's Motion Ramp Park as part of In:Motion 2012 on 26th October, alongside Mala (Digital Mystikz), Zion Train and Trojan Sound System, plus a group of headliners in York, Cardiff, Brixton and Glasgow soon after. You simply have to go and get dubbed up. Experience the beautiful live madness for around £15. The Bristol show costs a little more at £16.50 - still a bargain.