Perry Pacts With O'Connor, Clinton On New CD

Lee "Scratch" Perry's 2005 international release, "Panic in Babylon," will see a spring U.S. release that adds duets with Sinead O'Connor and George Clinton and remixes from Moby and TV On The Radio.

Reggae icon Lee "Scratch" Perry's 2005 international release, "Panic in Babylon," will see a spring U.S. release, augmented with several bonus tracks. The 17-track disc, due May 16 via New York-based Narnack Records, will boast duets with Sinead O'Connor ("It's Time") and George Clinton ("Pussy Man"), and remixes from Moby ("Purity Rock") and TV On The Radio ("Fight to the Finish").

O'Connor, who recently covered a pair of Perry songs on her current roots reggae disc, "Throw Down Your Arms," and Clinton are also working with the dub wizard on a disc celebrating his renowned work with the original incarnation of Bob Marley's Wailers, according to Perry's manager, Al Davis.

That project, for which a title and release date has not yet been set, will be composed of songs co-written and produced by Perry in the early 1970s, during the Wailers' most storied period, prior to the departure of founders Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. It is to feature O'Connor on "Duppy Conqueror" and Clinton on "Soul Almighty."

Perry, who now lives in Switzerland, was to launch a six-date U.S. tour -- his first in several years -- Sunday (Feb. 12) in Bladensburg, Md., but due to late-arriving work permits, he has had to postpone all but one date, his Feb. 18 appearance at the 25th Annual Ragga Muffins Festival in Long Beach, Calif.

A well-know eccentric, Perry wants fans to hold tight: "You know you will meet the healer -- the brain healer, the body healer and the soul healer finally," he tells Billboard.com.

Hailed as one the most trailblazing studio minds of the past 40 years, Perry turns 70 in March. Having outlived most of reggae's greatest voices, he reports to be in top health: "I stopped smoking [ganja]. I respect my health. I'm in No. 1 health. I feel no pain, have 'nuff strength, I'm very strong, and I feel no bad, no heart attack, no bad lungs, no coughing."

Perry has long considered his work with Marley on albums like "Soul Rebels" and "African Herbsman" to be nothing short of magic. Remembering their first encounter, he says, "I looked right inside of him, and I see that he was sent to me from some other spirit."