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Visions Of Dennis Brown

Visions Of Dennis Brown

Visions Of Dennis Brown

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Review of Visions, classic and a must have album from Dennis Brown originally released in 1977.

Sampler

dennis brown visions 2007The sad death of Joe Gibbs last week robbed reggae music of one of its prime movers. But during his final years VP negotiated the rights to reissue his albums on their vintage imprint 17 North Parade, including Dennis Brown’s seminal 1977 release, Visions Of Dennis Brown.

Brown, of course, cut records for plenty of other producers, so, understandably, there is some disagreement as to which represents his best work. Yet given the incredible consistency of Visions, the clean assured production overseen by Gibbs and his Mighty Two partner Errol Thompson, the presence of Lloyd Parks on bass, Sly Dunbar tapping his signature snare on drums and Tommy McCook on tenor sax, the argument for this album as his finest single achievement is a convincing one.

Although a gifted songwriter, Dennis never insisted on composing everything himself. On Visions he puts his distinctive stamp on Leroy Sibbles’ ‘Love Me Always’, Earl 16’s ‘Malcolm X’, Clive Hunt’s ‘Milk & Honey’, and Eric Monty Morris’ ‘Say What You’re Saying’, never failing to equal the original each time.

Visions also contains material by Brown, Errol Thompson and the band. ‘Deliverance Will Come’ is classic Brown, predicting a world turned on its head by the revelation of Rastafari, amid fearsome horns. ‘Oh Mother’ places Dennis on an overlapping trellis of wah guitar and meandering organ, while the furious percussion of ‘Repatriation’ turns into a crazy ‘Mighty Two’ dub featuring ringing telephones. ‘Stay at Home’ calls on a wayward young girl to do just that, and ‘Concrete Castle King’ is one of the most powerful and haunting tales of poverty ever committed to disc.

So whereas those coarse, earthy Niney productions, or his youthful, soul-inflected cuts for Harriott may reach higher heights in terms of individual tunes, this well-conceived slab of late seventies sound system roots has to be the Crown Prince’s most consistent artistic statement. There are no bonus tracks (you’ll need an earlier reissue for that) but the album has been re-mastered and four of the songs now turn into dub showcase style. A stone cold reggae classic you must surely own.

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