Remembering Brixton’s Tenor Fly … meeting Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry

The Blog’s Delores Williams went along to the bank holiday House of Commons festival on Clapham Common … read her story and listen to her interviews with Congo Natty, Lee Perry, Craig Charles and many more here


Delores Williams meet Lee 'Scratch' Perry
Delores Williams meet Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry

Boy, what a day I had with all the ska and reggae enthusiasts.

Suggs from Madness who curated the list of player’s lineup was the host of this event … Toots and the Maytals, Congo Natty’s All Stars, General Levy, David Rodigan, Lee Scratch Perry and many, many more including both legends and newcomers like Hollie Stephenson and Kiko Bun

The sun was shining, the music was pumping and the lyrical master Lee “Scratch” Perry is speaking to me.

I wangled my way into his green room after making friends with his backing musicians; they said he was the coolest man to work for. After spending five minutes with him I agree he’s cool.

Still has a cheeky look in his eye though. I was a bit nervous meeting him as I have heard he is very difficult to interview …but  I end up having a bit of a laugh.

(l to r) Benny-P, Lee Scratch Perry, Craig Charles
(l to r) Benny-P, Lee Scratch Perry, Craig Charles

I leave his trailer and make my way over to the catering tent. As I’m waiting for my lunch I realise I’m standing next to Craig Charles and become quite star struck – not that being with Scratch was not a star-struck moment – but, come on, Dave Lister from Red Dwarf.

The Hot 8 Brass band who are laughing and enjoying their time in the sun have come all the way from New Orleans and are being mentored by Craig. They would later lead a parade around the festival grounds. It was a smash hit, brass band pumping and thousands of people following what a finale for this mixed bag of Americans.

My highlight of the day was standing backstage watching Toots and the Maytals, Toots really got the crowd going, singing all the old classics including 54-46 Was My Number. The sun shining over the heads of thousands of festival goers all singing “Give it to me one time” was something I’ll never forget.

The festival goers were in such a good mood, everywhere you looked there were tents full to bursting with good-natured vibes and sounds and, of course, good beer – everything you need for a good festival.

Toots and the Metals on stage
Toots and the Metals on stage

I ended my day watching Madness take to the stage with a guest appearance from Toots.

With a heavy heart and tired feet it was time to go home and reflect on my fantastically brilliant day on Clapham Common.