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King Jammy revives the sound of Dennis Brown

Published:Monday | October 1, 2018 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small/Gleaner Writer
King Jammy
Dennis Brown

King Jammy's latest album is one for the record books. Reviving the voice of Dennis Brown, the pioneer producer combines the vocals of the late, beloved singer with a star-studded tracklist of features from contemporary reggae and dancehall artistes. On September 14, the Under Mi Sleng Teng producer released King Jammy Presents: Dennis Brown Tracks of Life, on VP/Greensleeves Records, a testament to the enduring power of Jamaican music across generations.

"Definitely, one of the best albums on the road right now in terms of listening, accepting, and just ... if you're a lyricist and love stories, you'd love the collabs," King Jammy told The Gleaner. The tracklist includes: Damian 'Jr Gong' Marley, Protoje, Dre Island, Agent Sasco, Alborosie, DYCR & Tristan Palma, Romain Virgo, Busy Signal, Bounty Killer, Jesse Royal, and others.


No Small Feat


Having everyone to agree to participate on the project was easy, but getting all those top-performing acts into the studio was no small feat. "It was not easy because everybody was not on the island when I came up with the project. People were on tour," King Jammy told The Gleaner.

The prolific producer knew the exact voice and vibe he wanted to complement 1985's Slow Down master tapes, along with other songs which he incorporated. The chosen featured acts were reportedly very receptive of the songs he selected, and King Jammy discovered that for most, Dennis Brown was their favourite singer. So he waited.

The last song recorded for the album was Can't Keep, featuring Jr Gong, whose schedule was, not surprisingly, full. "He was supposed to do a song, but he was on tour for a really long time. I had to close it off. But one day I just saw him turn up at the studio. And he said I can't put it out without him. I asked them to push it back for me. We did his track, and included it on the album," King Jammy said.

Can't Keep doesn't appear on the LP's vinyl, but comes packaged, including a 7-inch 45 single of the song, an update of Can't Keep A Good Man Down.

King Jammy hopes to take this album on tour. In Brown's absence, the producer has considered recruiting George Nooks for lead vocals on the road. "I have a strong intention of doing it, but I'm not certain if it's gonna work. I'd like us to tour all the festivals in Europe, if it's feasible," he said.

Tracks Of Life is currently available on CD, vinyl, and all digital streaming platforms from VP/Greensleeves Records. It was released on September 14.