Reasoning with Dennis Emmanuel Brown

The Crown Prince Would Have Turned 56 Today

The first of February marks the beginning of Black History Month and Reggae Month. It’s also the birthday of the late great Dennis Brown, known to reggae lovers as the Crown Prince. (If only because Bob Marley was the undisputed King, although Marley himself gave Dennis maximum respect.) The immortal voice that sang “Love and hate can never be friends…” and so many more classics was first cut on vinyl at Studio One. His first release was “No Man Is An Island,” which connected instantly and made him a child star. DBrown would go on to achieve international renown with his 1972 smash “Money In My Pocket,” which entered the UK pop charts. It was a British TV crew that shot the invaluable footage that follows, for their 1982 Channel 4 documentary Deep Roots Music—and yes this is the same interview sampled for the intro to the Damian Marley & Nas Boomshot “Land of Promise.” Check it out while you put one in the air for the Crown Prince.  Video After The Jump…
And now let’s listen in on a reasoning with one of the greatest singers and coolest brothers ever to trod the earth…

Note that Dennis mentions Lou Rawls, Nat King Cole, The Temptations and the Delfonics among his biggest influences. D.Brown had a global musical vision. He did not just measure himself against his fellow reggae singers, he was inspired by great vocalists of many genres. His rendition of “Autumn Leaves” brings a tear every time.

And on that note: with all due respect to Glen Campbell, DBrown’s version of “Wichita Lineman” bodies the original.

Now let’s check out Dennis in the studio laying down the irresistible “Rocking Time”—again from the crucial Deep Roots Music doc, which is available on DVD here. And while you’re at it, you might as well cop this exccellent DBrown singles anthology, The Crown Prince of Reggae, which  comes with a live DVD and typically authoritative liner notes by Carter Van Pelt.

Rest in power Dennis. Music along shall live.

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