Personnel: Lee "Scratch" Perry (vocals).
Liner Note Author: David Katz.
Recording information: Black Ark Studios, Kingston, Jamaica.
Lee "Scratch" Perry was instrumental in morphing reggae's sound from upbeat ska to the bobbing, bottom-heavy groove that became the genre's trademark in the 1970s. A producer of mind-boggling talents in the studio, Perry collaborated with some of reggae's best early artists, including Junior Byles and Bob Marley & the Wailers, before going on to invent, expand, and define the genre known as "dub." As prolific as he was creative, Perry produced a gargantuan catalogue, and THE MILLENNIUM COLLECTION provides a highly manageable 12-track sampler of some of his finest moments.
Featured here are tracks by singer Junior Murvin (the ebullient "Roots Train" and the politically charged "Police and Thieves"), the Heptones ("Party Time"), and recordings made by Perry and his band, the Upsetters. Perry's voice fronts some songs ("Soul Fire"), but it is his innovative mixing technique--use of heavy echo, resonant bass, and found sounds employed for percussive effect--that startles. Perry's production is utterly distinctive--a dense, heady melange of pop charms, avant sensibility, and elemental rhythms. While no single-disc collection could be definitive (those interested in a more complete overview should look to Island's three-disc set ARKOLOGY), this compilation offers a tantalizing Perry taste test.