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Dennis Brown sneaks Nooks into studio

Published:Sunday | March 21, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Five years ago George Nooks released a tribute album, George Nooks Sings Dennis Brown, on which he covered 18 of the Crown Prince of Reggae's hits. Among them are Hold on To What You've Got, Ghetto Girl, Revolution and Cassandra. There are also two songs that Nooks had previously combined his voice with Brown's on, as he had done the deejay segment on Money In My Pocket and How Could I Live as Prince Mohammed.

It was more than a musical tipping of the hat to a revered singer, as Brown and Nooks/Prince Mohammed were part of group of entertainers who would hang at Joe Gibbs studio. Nooks named Delroy Wilson, Ruddy Thomas, Jacob Miller, Trinity and Big Youth in the group as well.


And the connection with Brown went back even further, as Nooks said even before he went to Joe Gibbs they would have rehearsals with guitarist Earl 'Chinna' Smith. Brown was also one of the first persons to take Nooks into the studio, sneaking him in one night to record We Must Make It (written by Nooks and Johnny Clarke) for Brown's Yvonne Special label.

Nooks pointed out that after he hit as Prince Mohammed the deejay with Forty Leg, the following year he got Song of the Year for Tribal War as George Nooks the singer, so he never sacrificed one format of delivery for the other. Still, he started singing from being in the church, deejays U-Roy and I-Roy influencing him from radio. He said, "Singing is where the passion lies, but we love deejaying still because we get hits".

His next full-length project is an album of all original songs with TADS International.

- Mel Cooke