Catch It if You Can: The Upsetter

October 12th, 2011, byJeremy Freed

While the name Lee “Scratch” Perry will no doubt be familiar to reggae fans (as well as more devout followers of The Clash and The Beastie Boys), his influence on modern music, and reggae in particular, is underestimated. A new documentary called The Upsetter plans to change that, spreading the gospel of Perry, one of the craziest and most brilliant musical pioneers Jamaica ever produced.

The documentary follows Perry’s rise from his early days in 1950s Kingston to his mentorship of Bob Marley, to his influence on artists like Paul McCartney and The Clash, set against the backdrop of Jamaica’s cultural upheaval. Perry’s strange, magnetic personality, not to mention his music, makes this film worth watching, not just for fans of reggae, but anyone who appreciates musical innovation.

While The Upsetter isn’t currently in theaters, you can buy the DVD at the film’s Web site. Here’s the trailer:

And, just because, here’s “Space Dub,” one of my all-time favorite Perry tracks:

Last modified: October 11, 2011 at 3:41 pm