Dennis Brown

Absolutely the Best: 1957-1999

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Cited by Bob Marley as his favorite singer, Dennis Brown's death in 1999 at 42 cut short an extraordinary career that spawned some 100 albums, and close to 300 singles; it's an imposing body of work that makes any single disc "best-of" collection immediately suspect. This one lacks some important songs ("Conqueror," "Ride On," "No More Will I Roam"), but does include some of Brown's best performances, including the wonderful "Money In My Pocket," "Westbound Train," and a smoky cover of Santana's "Black Magic Woman." Also included here is the intriguing "Wolves And Leopards," which was mixed by Lee "Scratch" Perry at his Black Ark Studio, and shows that Brown could be a sublime and clever songwriter, turning out succinct lines like "wolves and leopards/are trying to kill/the sheep and the shepherds," complete with its marvelous end rhyme. In all, this is a cool collection, but with such a prolific artist, it only begins to scratch the surface.

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