Covering the years 1977-1979, The Promised Land explores a particularly productive period in the life of Dennis Emmanuel Brown. Having won the loyalty of Jamaican record buyers through numerous singles and albums for a variety of producers, the singer organized his own DEB imprint, with the help of Castro Brown, in 1978. Dennis Brown's own output for the label included several excellent 45s and the Joseph's Coat of Many Colours album. Though this is essentially a reissue of that set, the team at Blood & Fire has gone to great lengths to ensure that The Promised Land is much more than that as well. Enhancing the original are seven bonus cuts, an excellent remastering job, and an 18-page booklet with photos and notes by Steve Barrow and Noel Hawks. On the opening "Emmanuel God Is With Us," with its haunting backing vocals, the singer outlines his vision for a world free of sorrow and pain, where god is present. However, as made clear by this song and many that follow, this is only attainable in a world where unity, consciousness, and peace exist as well. The fact that such an environment can seem so far out of reach is precisely what makes the message of songs like "Open Your Eyes," "Together Brothers," and "A Cup of Tea" so vital. Throughout the album, Brown's words are pushed and pulled by rhythms both gentle and tough, executed by musicians as skilled as drummer Sly Dunbar, bassist Errol "Flabba" Holt, and guitarist Eric "Bingy Bunny" Lamont. The result is a marriage of music and lyrics both seductive and instructive. One of Brown's finest album statements.
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AllMusic Review by Nathan Bush