Umoja/20th Century Debwise - Blood & Fire - CD
Sometimes in reggae music things that should work, don't. Dennis Brown's DEB label was one of the most exciting labels of the late seventies, Prince Jammy was the natural heir to King Tubbys musical dub kingdom. And yet the first part of this dub set tracks 1-10 - 'Umoja Love and Unity' released in 1978 just does not gel. Even the passing of many years as not improved matters. It could have been argued that it due to it being released at the end of the Rockers era, but the next part of the set - tracks 11-20 being '20th Century Debwise' not only came out after - but is much more better and exciting dub album. If you want dub cuts of some DBs and Jux's greatest tunes this is the place to be.
Dennis Brown - The Promised Land - Blood And Fire - CD
Only one label in the world could do the good brother Dennis Brown justice.And there probably isn't a better album to market to the world than the 'Joseph's Coat Of Many Colours' set . It was the one that kinda got lost after the 'Money In My Pocket' pop hit and the disappointing Joe Gibbs - 'Words Of Wisdom' set. If 'Joseph' had come out after 'Money' reggae's history could have been a lot different from that point. It didn't. And from that point on Dennis struggled. You can tell I'm not a fan of his A&M material. What Blood And Fire have done with the 'Joseph' is to place music recorded before and after the set - the title track 'Promised Land'/'Lately Girl' rhythmwise sounds like it was recorded in the thirties with its ragtime horn section - but in reality it sounds like it was cut around 1975. A Niney type of rhythm. 'Want To Be No General' is just superb which came out after 'Joseph' - this was the sound that Sly and Robbie went for with Dennis. But that's another story. Not so much 'The Half' that's never been told, more like 75%.
Dennis Brown - Just Dennis - Trojan - 1975
Dennis Brown like so many artists has a lot to thank Studio One for. Yet more often than not it was the smaller independent producers like Lee Perry, Bunny Lee and Niney who turned those very same artists into stars. This album produced by Niney is a collection of D.Brown hits that really and truly gave him the reggae superstar status that he now deserves and enjoys. The balance of Dennis's smooth voice against those powerful Soul Syndicate rhythms is superb. A truly excellent production from The Observer.
Dennis Brown - Visions - Joe Gibbs - 1977
Around 1975/76 Dennis began working for Joe Gibbs. Joe had set up a studio a few years before this, but had now moved into the big time with a 16 track and had acquired the services of Errol T, who had been resident engineer at Randy's. Like Lee Perry (and probably inspired by him) Joe And E.T. were into a very electronic processed sound. Once again it was a perfect contrast to Dennis's vocal. Lyrically the album is a mix of cultural, reality and love songs - old and new.
Dennis Brown - Wolf & Leopards - DEB - 1978
By the late seventies D.Brown was ready to go into self production. With years of experince and a good knowledge of the business it made perfect sense. With the help of Niney and Castro Brown (his cousin) he put together this album which is a classic. It includes huge hits like 'Wolf And Leopards' and 'Here I Come', plus other very popular tunes like 'Whip Them Jah Jah' and 'Party Time' Production wise it is very rough. The rhythms are raw and ragged, but Dennis sounds great on them, and that's what is important.
Dennis Brown - Yesterday Today And Tomorrow - JGM - 1982.
The early eighties found Dennis on the A&M label being produced by Joe Gibbs. The results were very smooth, and by all accounts very successful. Great, but it didn't really suit Dennis. A night club singer the man is not. He returned to reggae music to work with Sly & Robbie and to self production. The tracks on this album and the follow up, are some the best music the man's has ever made. Powerful rocking rhythms, great songs beautifully sung by Dennis. Jointly produced by himself, Sly and Robbie and Gibbo.
Dennis Brown - Love's Gotta Hold On Me - JGM - 1984
Another collection of hit singles produced by Joe Gibbs and Errol Thompson and presented in a showcase style. 6 tracks in all. The big hit here is the title track, but all the tracks are just as good. This is the sort of material that should have been presented to an international audience on the A&M albums. Strong memorable lyrics, great melodies, thoughtful arrangements and superb production. All very inspiring. Perhaps one day albums like this will be enjoyed by a wider audience.
Dennis Brown - Slow Down - Greensleeves - 1985
It's been a long time since Dennis has had a brand bew set of music that was worthy of the man. 'Joseph's Coat Of Many Colours' was the last such album. Now this Prince Jammys album joins the likes of 'Just Dennis' 'Visions' 'Wolf' and of course 'Joseph'.Don't misunderstand me, Dennis has proved years ago that he was a major talent. Recently though when it came to albums, you wasn't sure what to expect. Yet on this magnificent work you will find crisp rhythms, great songs and that superb voice of the one D.Brown.
Dennis Brown - Revolution - Yvonne's Special - 1985
A new Dennis Brown collection is always welcome, yet if only Dennis would channel or contain the many great songs found here into a single new album. The full success he truly deserves would come. Just imagine if he had held onto 8 songs like these on this album. Let's say 'Revolution' 'Get Myself Together' 'Armagedeon' 'Breaking Down The Barriers' 'Weakman' 'It's Magic' 'Your Love Is A Blessing' 'I Like It Like That' and 'Have You Ever Been In Love' Then put them out altogether as new works...What an album!
Dennis Brown - Hold Tight - Live & Learn - 1986
Since the 'Slow Down' LP of 1985, Dennis has been in the kind of form that took him to the top of the music some ten years ago. Like those great LP's from the mid 70's, this LP has received no recognition, or very little. And that causes problems, none of which Dennis or the music as a whole can solve. All he can do is keep putting out great music like this album, produced by the very talented Delroy Wright. Between him and Dennis they give us superb tunes like 'Let Him Go', 'Things In Life' and the excellent title track.
Dennis Brown - The Exit - Trojan - 1986
One thing about the likes of people like Dennis Brown and Prince Jammy is that they are not easily discouraged. They know that the 'Slow Down' LP was something special. Very few LP's get played track by tracks on sound systems in Jamaica - yet 'Slow Down' did, and not by King Jammys alone. This follow up LP 'The Exit' (originally called 'History' when on Jammys in Ja) is just as good. It's also fully computerized/electronic. Real songs can be made over such rhythms; this LP is more proof.
Wherein reggae's late Crown Prince revisits his illustrious past to stunning effect assisted by a stellar lineup of musicians which include Cat Coore, Franklin 'Bubbler' Waul, Keith Sterling, Headly 'Deadly' Bennett, Dean Frazer and on bass, drums (?) & production duties, former Roots Radic 'Flabba' Holt. Recorded at the in demand Leggo Studio, 'Bless Me Jah' is 12 updated recording of classic D.Brown originals, and covers he had made his own, from Studio One and later. Given a new lease of life are such shots as 'Make It Easy On Yourself' 'Once Upon A Time' (aka 'I Was Lonely' - see Small Axe Reggae News No.9 for review of this on Impact 7"), an atmospheric 'Black Magic Woman' and the prayerful title track. Great songs and superb vocals are somewhat marred by the producer's rudimentary drumming. A fine set still. JKH
Dennis Brown – I Was Lonely/Dennis Alcapone – Get In The Groove – Impact 7".One of Dennis Alcapone’s few productions with another artist, and one that he and Dennis B can take a lot of pride in. The rhythm sounds very close to the Delroy Wilson version of this song ‘Once Upon A Time’, getting Dennis to voice this way back then was inspired. It changes the vibes of the song. On the b.side you can hear Dennis A, riding the rhythm in fine style. Two Dennis’s for the price of one! It would be nice to see both of them have a good oldies set well packaged and available.