Godlike Genius Of 699


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Review Text This intriguing collection hones in on Dennis Brown's recordings from the roots era and into the first half of the '80s. During these years, the singer worked with myriad producers, but some of his most revered songs were overseen by Niney "The Observer" Holness, and it's his masterful "Wolves and Leopards" that opens this collection, the sole offering from this legendary partnership. Better represented, however, are Brown's own stellar self-produced singles from this period, which include the unforgettable "Emmanuel," cultural classics "Children of Israel" and "Lately Girl" (aka "Promised Land"), as well as the evocative "Party Time." However, it was the singer's work with the Mighty Two, producer Joe Gibbs and producer/engineer Errol Thompson, that would finally make Brown an international star. "Money in My Pocket" (not included here) was the first of Brown's single to enter the British chart, but it was the stream of excellent cultural cuts like "Whip Them Jah Jah" and "Created by the Father" that expanded Brown's reputation as one of Jamaica's greatest cultural artists. In the new decade, the success of Brown's work with the Two brought the singer a deal with A&M, which released three albums by the artist between 1981 and 1983. Several tracks from those sets are featured here, including the title song to his Love Has Found Its Way album. The partnership stretched to one final Jamaican album, 1984's Love's Got a Hold on Me, five of whose songs -- "Right Fight," "Hooligan," "Can't Stand It," "Souls Keep Burning," and "Let Love In" -- are bundled within. With the first half of this compilation filled with roots-era masterpieces and most of the second half devoted to the singer's attempt to crack the American market, the set is wildly diverse. Thus, far from showcasing Brown's godlike genius, part of the set is a distinct aberration, one the singer himself quickly acknowledged. Afterwards, Brown would throw himself back into the Jamaican dancehalls with a vengeance, successfully re-igniting a career that had flagged. This set is proof positive of where the singer went right, and where he went very wrong. ~ Jo-Ann Greene

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Wolves and Leopards - 3:43
  2. 2. Emmanuel - 4:51
  3. 3. Here I Come - 3:00
  4. 4. Whip Them Jah Jah - 3:35
  5. 5. Created by the Father - 3:42
  6. 6. Party Time - 3:21
  7. 7. Rolling Down - 4:27
  8. 8. Boasting - 4:47
  9. 9. Children of Israel - 3:11
  10. 10. Lately Girl - 2:11
  11. 11. Right Fight - 4:52
  12. 12. Hooligan - 5:56
  13. 13. I Can't Stand It - 4:22
  14. 14. Souls Keep Burning - 4:26
  15. 15. Let Love In - 4:14
  16. 16. How Can I Leave Him - 5:52
  17. 17. Get to Love in Time - 3:42
  18. 18. Should I - 4:57
  19. 19. Love Has Found Its Way - 4:23
  20. 20. Any Day Now - 4:03

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