Album review
On The Wire
Lee 'Scratch' Perry
Trojan Records

Tracking list

  1. Lee 'Scratch' Perry On The Wire
  2. Exodus
  3. For Whom The Bell Tolls
  4. The Grim Reaper
  5. Yes My Friends
  6. Rock My Soul
  7. Seaside (Mystic Mirror)
  8. I Am The Upsetter
  9. Keep On Moving
  10. Burn Funky
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 3/4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 4

"Go Perry, Go !
Victory ! Victory ! Victory !
I am the elephant man
And Michael Jackson could not buy me"

The story of Lee Perry has been told more than once and the fact that he's still 'going crazy after all these years' is proof for the fact that he's an enormously talented person. In the late eighties Perry signed to the newly rejuvenated Trojan label, cutting a seasonal 12 inch single and the "Battle Of Armagideon" LP shortly after. The success of the releases prompted the record company to commission further sessions at Matrix Studios, London and in March 1988 he began recording material for a new album. By April, all the songs were in the can and a brand new selection of recordings were ready to be mixed before being unleashed upon the suspecting world. However as things with 'Scratch' are seldom straightforward, Trojan waited pateintly for the finished album te be delivered, but it never arrived. Eventually, word reached them that the producer, singer, songwriter had left for Switzerland and it was to take almost ten years before the album was finally finished.
The album consists of ten (long) pieces of musical wizardry and magic, backed by musicians such as Chesley Samson and Lorrance Crossfield (lead guitar), Tony Hendry (bass) and Dennis Augustine (rhythm guitar). All tunes were written by Lee Perry, with the exception of Exodus and Keep On Moving, both tunes recorded and made famous by The Wailers.Yes My Friends is Perry's adaption of"Duppy Conqueror". Perry changes these tunes into completely new songs, although Exodus stays pretty close to the original. For Whom The Bell Tolls (time : 10.58 !) is one of my favourite tunes on the album whith its funky riddim and Perry aching vocal delivery. The heavyrock orientated The Grim Reaper includes a powerful guitar riff. The acerbic tune I Am The Upsetter is the highlight of the album, complete with weird sound effects and a steady one-drop riddim.
Any Lee Perry fan must check this album out !

Teacher & Mr. T.