LEGENDARY music producer, Bunny Lee, has little time for ‘so-called historians’ whom he accuses of distorting the facts about the early years of Jamaican pop music.
Lee, 74, is determined to set the record straight through two projects, scheduled to be launched in Kingston in May.
“Mi dey ’bout from ska yuh nuh, wid Derrick Morgan, Owen Gray, Lascelles Perkins an’ Laurel Aitken. Mi can gi yuh the history come right down,” he boasted.
Lee relates this history in the book/compact disc, Reggae Going International 1967-1976: The Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee Story, and a documentary, I Am The Gorgon — Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee and the Roots of Reggae.
The former, done with Noel Hawks and Jah Floyd, has a 2012 copyright. I Am The Gorgon was released August 2013 in the United Kingdom where it was produced by Diggory Kenrick.
In both, Lee with the ‘help’ of artistes, musicians and fellow producers, reflects on his career as a music ‘touter’, mentor and one of reggae’s most successful producers.
“The people demand dis yuh nuh ’cause dem don’t know enough an’ my ting authentic,” Lee told the Jamaica Observer recently in the living room of his St Andrew home. “Dem whole heap a story wey yuh hear people a tell yuh ’bout reggae dis an’ dat, dem don’t know nuthin.”
Lee tells his story in Reggae Going International in his own words. Its 190 pages are complemented by a 22-song CD covering his 50-year career. The CD includes songs by Roy Shirley, Val Bennett, Max Romeo, Bob Marley, John Holt, Delroy Wilson, Horace Andy, Johnny Clarke and Cornel Campbell.
The 86-minute documentary has interviews with producer Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, drummer Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, Holt, Dennis Alcapone and U-Roy.
Lee revisits his roots in Greenwich Town, the Kingston community he put on the music map during the late 1960s and 1970s. He did so through a number of quality songs like Holt’s Stick by Me and Move Outa Babylon by Johnny Clarke.
Bunny Lee’s catalogue, arguably the most extensive in reggae, is largely reissued throughout Europe where he has many admirers.
In 2008, he was awarded the Order of Distinction (Officer class) by the Jamaican government for his contribution to the development of the country’s music.