Dennis Brown

Tribulation

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In the 1970s, the teenaged Dennis Brown was one of the most popular singers in Jamaica, a reggae artist generally referred to in the same breath as Gregory Isaacs (with whom, in fact, he collaborated from time to time) and Bob Marley. Dubbed the "Crown Prince of Reggae," Brown seems to be ageless; although his voice has mellowed somewhat with time, his more recent work has the same emotive power as his vintage recordings from reggae's golden age, and he continues to effortlessly combine cultural and religious themes with romantic pleas. Tribulation finds him teamed up with some of the top reggae session players around (notably the redoubtable Roots Radics, who sound at the top of their form here) on 16 new songs, all of them presented in the rootsy but contemporary style that has typified Brown's work since the 1980s. Highlights include the aching "Go On Now Girl," which is supported by a very fine computer bassline; the old-school throb of "Rougher Yet," and the more electronic "This Love of Mine." Alvin Ranglin's production is top-notch throughout.

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