“JUNGLE SAFARI” REMINDS ME of one of those non-logical, stream-of-consciousness stories an uninhibited child can tell you and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry plays the part of the uninhibited child very well. These song lyrics can be heard on the disc Black Ark Experryments.Without any apparent qualifications I have dubbed these lyrics a work of genius—only Safari’s music is better than the lyrics.

I am definitely not qualified to introduce you to the Reggae King. There are several attempts out there on the Internet (some better than others). I will admit that these lyrics are transcribed from the audio itself. I have not seen a lyric sheet for this song. I believe I am about 80% accurate. There may never be a lyric sheet for this song as this “Jungle Safari” may not be considered a “serious” work.

I am tempted to write an essay trying to prove to the reader that this song is quite serious and just barely coherent (which is the way I like it). But I’ll be brief: I hear Lee attacking the people who worship commerce, namely those creating “supermarkets” of music. I can see a “white” record executive with his briefcase on a Jungle Safari taking out exotic “animals” and anthropomorphically repackaging them into “marketable” forms. So, in this case, Lee Perry himself is mutated into the Swedish 1990s pop “super”-group Ace of Base.

Whenever a man like Lee Perry makes a critique like this one there is always the assumption from “the other side” (the “aliens in outer space”) that Lee is being hateful and jealous—and racist. But what about Uncle Martin Luther King? What about Mandela? He honestly likes the way Ace of Base does its own thing (there is no need to replace him and his kind with inappropriate substitutes from someone’s briefcase)—and Lee Perry has actually been found in Sweden. I even know of a pretty good album he made there.

If you hear any lyrics different from the ones published here let me know and I’ll see if a revision is needed.


Words by . . . . . . . Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry
HTML/CSS Programming and Transcription by . . . . . . . Bryan Wilhite