Friday, July 15, 2011

The Greatest Show I Never Saw #5: Lee Scratch Perry

Here we are at the start of the much-promised and highly anticipated (probably) music series which will take the place of Fortuitous Friday for a while. I guess it’s not all that different from the regular Friday offering in that it will have nothing to do about games and feature stories on my favorite subject: me! Mit Memories!

While I was living on a council estate in Athlone, Co. Weast Meath, Ireland, I was also taking up residence with She Who Will Be Named Later (much to the chagrin of Baby Jesus who was probably weeping holy tears at our sinful, out-of-wedlock existence) in Lismore, Co. Waterford (Up the Diese!). Bless her heart, she did come to visit me a couple times, but for the most part I traveled home on the weekends- the estate was grim.....very grim.

Looking back, maybe it should have been called Sufferer's Heights.

This trip (back to Lismore)  took up to, on some occasions, the better part of a day and at its worst was a 10-hour bus trip from hell involving numerous changes in various towns on the opposite side of the country I wanted to be in. I kid you not I once looked at a schedule that included an overnight stop and took 24 hours to complete! The Irish train/bus system can be a formidable opponent, but on the plus side you can drink your face off, so Huzzah! Well, Huzzah for me when I was doing it, but not Huzzah when the girl in front of me vomited and I had to smell it all the way from Cork City to Limerick City. Fair play to the driver, however, who cleaned it up without making a fuss.

The easiest way home from Athlone was to bus it to Dublin (the train took the same amount of time and was more expensive) and then to Waterford City, and then to Dungarvan.....and then take a local shuttle to Lismore. Not fun. On one of these trips home my two mates accompanied me as far as Dublin. They were going to see Lee Scratch Perry.

I have to admit I didn’t really know a lot of his music back then. I had barely listened to all of Arkology at this stage. Most of the songs I learned through my mate singing them while we wandered through the Irish countryside monitoring massive machines tearing up the landscape in advance of the road bypass (also known as archaeological testing). He’d put little twists on the lyrics to suit whatever we were doing which always made me smile.

I’m not sure what you call people like me, but this is a story you will become familiar with by the end of this series- it takes me ages to warm up to, or understand the dynamics of, new things, and music is no different. I will often hear something and put it away only to come back to it a year (or more) later and get into it in a big way. I started listening to, and liking, dub (ala Lee Scratch Perry) shortly after missing that show. It was an easy sell as I already liked reggae (ala Bob Marley) and it laid the foundation for my future love of dub-step.

In my rush to get home (to the missus, and my precious pubs) going to that show was never really an option. Now that I look back it would have been a good time, and I wish I had made the effort. Me and my two mates and Lee Scratch Perry. I can take solace from the fact that Lee was so stoned (or drunk, or just crazy) that he made absolutely no sense what-so-ever and the show pretty much sucked according to said mates.

So here we are, a couple videos by the star of the 5th greatest show I never saw: Lee Scratch Perry.

Happy Friday everyone!

 First up, one of the better known ones (perhaps thanks to The Prodigy):
And my all-time favorite from Lee Scratch Perry:

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