New Album “Must Be Free” from Lee “Scratch” Perry

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Lee “Scratch” PerryDub reggae legend Lee “Scratch” Perry returns to the studio with a wide-ranging narrative, in collaboration with Spacewave. This Grammy-winning artist, songwriter, and producer doesn’t hesitate with his unexpurgated commentary on his spirituality, good and evil, the human condition, and aliens. Long-time fans will hear familiar themes from the dub master (Judgment Day, evils of eating meat, and marijuana must be free), and on this album he builds on these, adding new territory.

This is not a laid-back roots album. Be prepared for mostly up-tempo electronic tracks. Featured are reggae, dub, dubstep, acid jazz, and electronic music and music influences. Special guests include Subatomic Sound System, The Groovematist, and IAmPhloboi.

Producer Spacewave says he hears in Perry’s message both a conscious urgency and a wild, outside-the-lines range that encouraged a non-traditional approach. “I wanted to capture as much of Lee’s lyrical flow as I could without boxing him in with pre-arranged song structures, so we tracked his vocals at his place in Jamaica, starting in late 2012 with only 2 1/2 completed instrumental tracks. The rest of the backing tracks started out as basic rhythms, built from loops and a heart beat. While I play a bit of electric bass and synthesizer, I used a lot of sample and loop libraries to add different sounds and snippets, slicing and dicing, changing the feel and the instruments where needed. I left enough of some familiar riffs there to pull the ear in.”

“We are all busy with different projects, so there were times I had to put everything away and then bring things back fresh later. It took almost 3 1/2 years to build the song structures to the point where I could start getting the sound I wanted. Most of the songwriting and production were completed this year. These are generally dense mixes, so more than once we had to pare back to keep things from turning into mush.”

“Lee is a phenomenal artist. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly, so I’m glad our sessions went easily. He’s touring the U.S. again this year and will be in Boston on album release day, September 23. He has produced so much music through most of his 80 years, I would be honored even if he adds just one or two songs from this album to his show.”

Unknowing critics might challenge the relevance of an 80-year-old, decades now after his most-celebrated breakthroughs, but Scratch has proven time and again that perhaps his greatest strength today is that no abuse passes unnoticed – he will call it out as only Scratch can – and his energy is undiminished.

Title: Must Be Free

Artist: Lee “Scratch” Perry


Catalog Number: MEGW0452

UPC: 603408004528

Parental Advisory – Explicit Content

  1. Psycho Dread 6:00
  2. Rat Race 6:24
  3. House of Sin 4:41
  4. Isabel 3:51
  5. Jungle Tongue 3:58
  6. No Evil 4:14
  7. No Sorrow 4:16
  8. On Nigeria 3:03
  9. Strip Off 4:18
  10. Too Much Is Too Much 3:49
  11. Therapist 3:22
  12. Must Be Free 5:35

Bonus Track: House of Sin (Remix) 4:54

Title: Must Be Free (Clean Version) – Digital Only

Artist: Lee “Scratch” Perry


Catalog Number: MEGW0462

UPC: 603408004627

  1. Psycho Dread (Clean Version)          6:00
  2. Rat Race (Clean Version)          6:24
  3. House of Sin (Clean Version)          4:41
  4. Isabel (Clean Version) 3:51
  5. Jungle Tongue (Clean Version)          3:58
  6. No Evil (Clean Version)          4:14
  7. No Sorrow (Clean Version) 4:16
  8. On Nigeria (Clean Version) 3:03
  9. Strip Off (Clean Version)                                      4:18
  10. Too Much Is Too Much (Clean Version) 3:49
  11. Therapist (Clean Version)          3:22
  12. Must Be Free (Clean Version)          5:35

Bonus Track: House of Sin (Remix – Clean Version)         4:54

“Swanee River Boogie”

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