Trojan Records: ‘King Scratch (Musical masterpieces from the Upsetter Ark-ive)’

Out 26th August on vinyl and CD with an illustrated book

Trojan Records announces a new compilation album King Scratch (Musical Masterpieces from the Upsetter Ark-ive). The album, out on double CD, double vinyl, and a deluxe box set, will comprise tracks from across the career of the legendary late great Jamaican record producer and artist Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. Released on the 26th August, the collection will mark the 1st anniversary of his passing, showcasing the very best of his work across his own releases and his productions for other artists.  As arguably the greatest Jamaican record producer of all time, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry was instrumental in transforming Jamaica’s national sound throughout the 60s and 70s, with his unique approach to production pushing the music beyond previously perceived boundaries. This release will not only mark the first anniversary of his passing at the age of 85 but it falls on the weekend of London’s iconic Notting Hill Carnival, the first event since 2019. “This new box-set of Lee’s golden years shows the visionary genius that drove him to push all creative boundaries and solidify his status as a cultural icon.  Lee’s art and music will live on forever,” says his widow Mireille Perry on behalf of Lee’s estate.

The deluxe box set comprises 109 tracks across four vinyl LPs and four CDs, featuring his best known and most influential recordings along with some rare and unreleased DJ mixes. It includes a previously unreleased mix of Junior Murvin’s powerful Police And Thieves, UK chart-buster Hurt So Good by Susan Cadogan and the Upsetters’ boss reggae classic Return’ Of Django, as well as numerous major Jamaican hits. The box set will also include a 50-page fully illustrated book, penned by Scratch’s official biographer David Katz and will feature photos from celebrated photographer Adrian Boot, as well as a newly designed two-sided full colour 24” x 24” poster.  The 2x gatefold LP and 2x CD set collection focus upon the legendary music-makers best-known productions from the 60s and 70s, performed by some of the giants of Jamaican music, with both iconic imagery and extensive notes on the man whose talent and imagination took reggae to new heights of excellence. 

Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s vision and talent has had a significant impact on the musical landscape of today, inspiring many of the world’s greatest musicians including the likes of The Prodigy, The Rolling Stones, The Beastie Boys, The Clash and Diplo who carried his sound forward. This brand new release pays homage to a legend whose astounding legacy will never be forgotten. 

About Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry 

Jamaican record producer and singer Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry (1936 – 2021) was noted for his unique approach to music-making, which resulted in the creation of an astounding body of work that proved instrumental in shaping not just the sound of Jamaican music, but profoundly influencing, entertaining and inspiring generations the world over. 1963 saw him make his debut with driving ska number Old For New, the success of which led to the follow up Chicken Scratch which was the track that led to his most enduring nickname ‘Scratch’.   After sessions with Karl ‘JJ’ Johnson, WIRL (West Indies Records Ltd.), and Prince Buster, Scratch was employed as a sound engineer for Joe Gibbs and created a series of superior rock steady singles including his own I Am The Upsetter, which established another of his long-lasting nicknames. It was Scratch’s own People Funny Boy that became one of the biggest sellers of Jamaican music in 1968, not only ensuring the future of Scratch’s label Upsetter Records, but also prompting a deal with Trojan Records in Britain, who in 1969 set up its own Upsetter label to showcase the best of Scratch’s productions. After months spent building the British club scene, The Upsetters’ Return Of Django backed with Dollar in the Teeth broke into the pop charts, peaking at the number 5 spot. 

A variety of performers began to benefit from Scratch’s imitable talents, including a vocal trio that became Bob Marley and The Wailers. The 70’s saw Scratch re-affirm his standing as one of Jamaica’s most successful and influential producers and by 1973 he had built his Black Ark Studio, which saw him produce some of the most spellbinding music of the decade, with significant hits including Susan Cadogan’s popular cover of Hurt So Good, Junior Byles’ hypnotic lament, Curley Locks and a series of compelling roots anthems, such as Sufferer’s Time by The Heptones, Max Romeo’s Sipple Out Deh (aka War in a Babylon) and Junior Murvin’s strident Police and Thief aka Police and Thieves.

Over the years that followed Scratch continued to perform and achieve significant success with his 1983 Trojan collection Jamaican ET winning a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album. A pioneer and true innovator, Scratch was responsible for some of the greatest recordings in Jamaican music history and this album brings together such tracks, commencing with his breakthrough hit, People Funny Boy, right through to the title track of the Grammy Award-winning collection Jamaican ET.

About Trojan Records

From its inception in 1968, Trojan Records changed the British musical and cultural landscape, bringing a new sound and ethos to the world. Introducing the music of Jamaica to the UK and wider audiences, it brought the likes of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Desmond Dekker, The Pioneers, Bob Marley, Prince Buster and Jimmy Cliff to a mainstream audience. Now part of the BMG family, the label celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018.


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