At WIRL Records


Lee Perry's time at WIRL Records, later to be renamed Dynamic Sounds Studios, was a very productive time in his career. A run of great singles and the shaping of a new sound, the beginning of what we know today as reggae . Lee Perry (b. Rainford Hugh Perry, March 28, 1936, Hanover, Jamaica) began his entry into the music business at the age of 16. He moved up to Kingston Town and working around various sound systems, before finding employment at Coxonne Dodd's Studio One, in the late '50s early 1960s. Perry started out as a record scout, organizing sessions and supervising auditions at Dodd's record shop on Orange Street, helping to make hits for Delroy Wilson and the Maytals, which would lead to his own vocal records released through Studio One, the musical backing for which came from legendary Studio One house band The Skatalites. Another important relationship for Perry, his first recordings with Bob Marley, came in the form of the Wailers, also providing backing, alongside the Soulettes who featured Rita Marley, cutting such tunes as "Chicken Scratch" around 1965/1966. This tune was also to provide him with one of his future nicknames, "Scratch." A dispute over credits and money saw Perry leave Studio One and work with various producers including Clancy Eccles and J. J. Johnson, before arriving at the door of producer Joe Gibbs in 1967. Here he would write songs and produce hits for artists such as Errol Dunkley and the Pioneers. A tune cut during his time with Gibbs voiced a snipe at fellow employee Dodd, a trademark that would become an outlet for his frustrations in the business. This particular tune "The Upsetter" would also provide another moniker and a name for his label. Again, lack of musical credit and financial reward saw Perry move on to WIRL (West Indies Records Limited) Records, working alongside manager Clifford Rae, who would provide studio time and pay for pressings in return for helping to promote and distribute WIRL product. This period at WIRL saw some inspired work from Perry. "Run for Cover" was another musical blow to a previous employer, Coxonne Dodd, and featured the Sensations on backing vocals and Lynn Taitt's guitar-picking skills. "People Funny Boy" was a massive hit for Perry going on to sell over 60,000 copies. Perry worked up a new style with Clancy Eccles, who would come under attack himself on "You Crummy." "Set Them Free" was an answer recording to Prince Buster's "Judge Dread" (which had featured Perry on it) -- a plea to the judges in Jamaica that handed out extremely harsh sentences. The track was cut on the same rhythm as "Run for Cover." "Django Shoots First," inspired by the Spaghetti Western film of the same name, features Sir Lord Comic. "Night Doctor" was a hit instrumental that featured the organ talents of Ansel Collins and "Something You Got" was a cover of a USA R& B track by Chris Kenner and "Wind Up Girl" was cut at the same session. "Water Pump" was a rude-style track that was cut later and originally released in 1974, as was "People Sokup Boy," a later version of "People Funny Boy." "Labrish" was one of the first great talk-over tunes that features Lee Perry and producer Bunny "Striker" Lee talking about the political situation in Jamaica, originally released in 1973. Bunny Lee would play a major part in Lee Perry's career around this time and they were very close, often sharing sessions and rhythms. Here we have a collection of music born out of a time spent at WIRL Records, providing an important chapter in Lee Perry's career and indeed to the story of reggae itself.