Perfect Sound Forever

Lee 'Scratch' Perry
Live at the 9:30 Club, Washington, DC, October 1997

Scott McFarland
(June 1998)

At the show I saw, the young white kids were grooving and pretty well into it, but the black people that I saw including some in dreadlocks looked a bit more somber as if they weren't sure that this music was apprpriate or that they wanted the white kids to enjoy it so much. But that's just my limited vantage point of the crowd. Overall, people were digging it. There was a lot of dancing and nodding going on all night long and a lot of people myself included really dug the music. I saw a lot of young women moving to the music and dancing all over the floor and the balcony area, and a lot of young men smiling and enjoying the sounds.

I reckon that I recognized about 1/2 of what I saw him play. I remember "Inspector Gadget" and "Seven Devils Dead" which are on the Sherwood-produced From the Secret Laboratory.

The first encore I saw was the music to "Bucky Skank" (a track also dubbed on under various names) - this is the one the guitar player & bassist were doing the figure on together and getting the audience to clap out the beat. That one's on The Upsetter Collection. The next encore as I recall was the music to "Roast Fish and Cornbread" but with different words.

He played "Favorite Dish" from Roast Fish Collie Weed & Corn Bread somewhere in the middle of the set. It went on for 4 or 5 minutes at least, at least twice the length of the LP track. The drummer did a great job holding the rhythms on that track. It was an awesome experience seeing them do dub games with a faithful rendition of that track.

He also did "Soul Fire" from that album but with completely different words. This is the one where he did something at length with a little atonal horn or something. I couldn't tell quite what he was doing and now my memory on the specifics is fading. But it was pretty cool.

And he did some of the stuff from the Mad Professor records, like "Open Doors." I'm starting to get into those records a bit more. I respect what the Professor is doing in helping to give Perry a comfortable framework on which to be his crazy self. Those records may not be what people expect, but they're pretty good I think. Black Ark Experriments and Experriments at the Grass Roots of Dub have some of the same tracks.

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