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Nothing Like This

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Album Review

For the majority of music fans, the intricacies of productions and arrangements seem inconsequential, and most are left to wonder just what all the fuss is about. Well, for a crash course on the subject, listen to Nothing Like This. With time and wear, Dennis Brown's warm tones are growing hoarse, but producer Junior Reid plays to the singer's strength — his incredibly impassioned delivery. He cossetts Brown in a warm aural environment, creating a toasty glow around even the most stripped-back rhythms, like hot embers in a fireplace. The romantic "There's Nothing Like This" is absolutely smoky and as smooth as warm cognac, heated by the jazzy trumpet solos. The jazzy trumpet reappears as Brown pleads "Come Home," conjuring up a late night at a blues club, enhancing Brown's sweet tones here, even as the taut dancehall rhythms snap out. Reid was so pleased with the results that he had the singer recut it with new lyrics for the passion-strewn "Come Let Me Love You." "Dance Nah Keep" is also a dual-use rhythm, a rough-and-tumble dancehall backing that is revisited later in the set as "Street Kid." Reid himself joins the singer on the former, where the pair expounds on the vagaries of the dancehall scene; the latter Brown brilliantly handles on his own, an autobiographical cultural number fired by the rhythm's militancy. "Slave Driver"'s backing is even more fierce, almost pure drums and bass, and here Brown delivers up an awesome performance — pure, gruff soul — his tough lyrics less sung than spit out. In contrast, "Have You Ever Been in Love" is brimming with vivacious brass, a bouncy, jubilant celebration of matters of the heart. "Rock and Roll Lady" is breezier, although still sporting a taut rhythm, and here Brown is all sweet passion. But then Reid grows overconfident and hands over a pair of fractured hardcore rhythms; Brown tries his best, but "Give Love a Chance" and "People of the World" are the weakest numbers on the set. Thankfully, the album doesn't end there, but with "It's Not a One Man Thing," and here the singer is joined by the producer and the guesting Gregory Isaacs for a glorious celebration of music, an inspired blend of Reid's tough toasting, Brown's soulfulness, and Isaacs' cool tones winding in between. As dancehall-fired as this set is, there's a glorious jazzy R&B aura to it all, an atmosphere that imbues Brown's vocals with warmth, adding further fire to his own stellar, soulful delivery. No longer at his vocal peak, Brown still soars to

spectacular emotional heights, making Nothing Like This true to its title.

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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