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Lee 'Scratch' Perry - Kiss Me Neck: The Scratch Story in Words, Pictures and Records Paperback – 30 Aug 2010
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"There are only a handful of producers who can make a band sound interesting and different no matter who they are, and Lee "Scratch" Perry is one of them. . . . he was the first mad-scientist producer." Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys for "Rolling Stone""
"Inarguably the most exhaustive and impressive investigation into the recorded works of a major reggae artist/producer extant. The amount of detail presented here is, like Perry's music, mind-boggling." "Dub Vendor""
About the Author
Jeremy Collingwood is responsible for many quality reggae and dub reissuecompilations for Trojan, Island, and EMI, including the "I Am The Upsetter" box set and"Sound System Scratch," a collection of rare Black Ark dub plates.He is the author of"Bob Marley: His Musical Legacy.""
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the book commences with a thumbnail biography, which is fine but brief. to supplement this, david katz's excellent 'people funny boy' biography is required to put the meat on the bones, and to be honest, as a scratch fan, you need both! the book is peppered with many fine black and white photographs and reproductions of local (kingston) newspaper adverts, which all assist in providing a more complete picture of the times. it is also by no means a fawning, gushing tribute to scratch, and outlines his, ahem, eccentricities, records that didn't cut the mustard, many interpersonal fallouts etc.in a factual manner. all in all, a mighty fine discography and a fair biography.
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In a nutshell-if you're looking for an in depth look at Lee Perry and Jamaican music, you're best bet is "People Funny Boy: The Genius of Lee "Scratch" Perry", by David Katz. "Kiss Me Neck" is a (much needed) complete discography of all the known work by Lee "Scratch" Perry. With a concise (approximately 50 pages) biography to give readers a foundation on who Perry was-most of the important points are covered. The majority of the book lists (chronologically) all of the Jamaican singles, albums, U.K. singles, U.K. and European discos, U.S. and Canadian singles, and U.S. discos. Basically it's page after page of lists, which if you've ever wondered about a particular recording (like I have), and if "The Upsetter" himself was involved-this book will tell you.
Throughout his long (and continuing) career, Perry has released many hundreds of singles and dozens of albums, both under many other artists and his own name. His approach to recording oftentimes resembled Phil Spector's layer upon layer of sound-the "wall of sound" effect. Typically using minimal and oftentimes out dated equipment, Perry would construct layers of sound. Using sound effects, tape splicing, an Echo-plex unit, mixing rhythms to create a new rhythm, dropping in snippets of vocals and/or instruments, cross-channel fading, and twisting the bass and treble controls, Perry built up the sound and reduced everything to a two track recorder. This gave the feel of a compressed, layered, dense sound that was very innovative (especially for the times) and exciting to hear. While other producers used a similar approach, Perry took it much further, and his distinctive sound is still revered today.
The photographs and graphics (there are many record label reproductions) are all in b&w. It's a minor quibble, but I would like to have seen the use of color, especially concerning the record labels, which would have helped immensely in identification, plus some of the label graphics are cool looking in color. There's also a few typos in the text. But for anyone who wants information concerning recording dates (up to time of publishing), artists, labels, location (Black Ark etc.), this book will be of great help. Now, if only someone qualified would do for Sun Ra what Jeremy Collingwood has done for Perry, I'd be a happy man.
If this type of book is your cup of tea, check out "Bob Marley and the Wailers-The Complete Discography", by Roger Steffens. It has all the recording info you'll ever need, plus some good photos and graphics.