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At The Foot of the Mountain

Dennis Brown

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Album Review

Far from your typical Dennis Brown compilation, this 21-track set eschews all the much lamented late singer's best-known hits in favor of many of his lesser-known numbers. Culled almost exclusively from recordings done in the '80s and '90s, At the Foot of the Mountain features originals as well as a plethora of covers, including remodels of some of his own hits. The latter includes a re-cut of Brown's roots classic "Africa We Want to Go," and although the singer is still emotive, the song lacks both the militancy and yearning impatience that made the original so unforgettable. Brown re-cut this masterpiece on a number of occasions over the years, sadly, this was one of the least successful. His covers of other artists' hits, in contrast, are delightful, whether the singer is tackling the Beatles' "I'll Be Back" or Broadway's "Beautiful Morning," the results are sublime. Brown beautifully interprets a coterie of Jamaican masterpieces as well — John Holt's "A Love I Can Feel," Ken Boothe's "Moving Away," Bob Marley's "Rainbow Country," Delroy Wilson's "Rain from the Sky," all are superbly delivered, with backings that can't beat the originals, but give them all enchanting modern make-overs. But not all the covers are grand slams, there's just no good way to reggaefy Procol Harem's rock standard "Whiter Shade of Pale," while even the mighty Brown can't salvage Minnie Riperton's twittering "Loving You." Much stronger material can be found among the singer's own compositions, like "Joy in the Morning" and "Come on Over," both cut for Prince Jammy in the mid-'80s, or "Say What You Say" recorded with the Mighty Two in 1978, and one of the only roots-era numbers to be found on this set. Brown's emotive vocals are showcased throughout this album, but roots fans will probably quickly lose interest with the perky reggae backings that have defined the dancehalls since then. But pure ragga is avoided, and there's plenty of hefty bass lines and incandescent keyboards to keep up interest. Not a definitive set of Brown's work by any means, but it does gather up many lesser, recycled recordings and throws a spotlight onto the singer's later years.

Biography

Born: 01 February 1957 in Kingston, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

One of Jamaica's most beloved and prolific artists, the late Dennis Brown has left behind a slew of classic songs and myriad hits, a rich musical legacy born of a career that spanned over 30 years. Born Dennis Emmanuel Brown in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1957, his childhood home virtually destined him to a future in the music industry. He grew up on Orange Street, the heart of the island's music scene, with most of the major recording studios a mere stone's throw away. As the stars and future hitmakers...
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At The Foot of the Mountain, Dennis Brown
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