Listening to Dennis Brown's biggest roots hits post-1973, it's virtually impossible to believe that the singer had began his career as a teenaged pop star, as comfortable knocking out love songs as lightweight covers. Even as Brown joined forces with producer Niney Holness and began unleashing a stream of sharp,roots-styled megahits, his themes continued revolving around relationships. That began to change in 1974, when the singer began to record more culturally themed numbers.
"Africa" was actually an updated version of an old Gaylads song, cut for Studio One back in the rocksteady era. With its repatriation theme, the original foreshadowed roots, and here Brown and Holness give it the sound it cried out for. A sizzling roots rhythm underpins the song, as insistent as Brown's own adamant, "Africa, we want to go." The Soul Syndicate are inspired, Brown's performance is awesome, and the production is immaculate, further aided by King Tubby's superb mix. A huge hit, and a roots masterpiece.