Dennis Brown - My Heart Is An Open Book
Orange Street (UK) - #OSD 50100 - October 08, 2007
Digital & Roots
Reviewed by Hans on September 22, 2007
When you go to see a live performance by a veteran reggae artist there's a big chance the band will play an intro medley made up of snippets from the singer's big hits. Any band doing this for Dennis Brown would need more than 15 minutes to play such an intro. Just check the Dennis Brown compilation albums in our Archives and count all those great songs he recorded, the result will amaze you.
I'm always curious which songs a new Dennis Brown compilation CD will include. Orange Street (don't confuse them with the other Orange Street), the label that has compiled this latest release, write in their liner notes: "His body of work is vast, that there are a number of tracks on this compilation that you would never have heard before". A quick scan of the tracklist on the CD reveals only a handful of titles I recognise as most of the songs on this CD are previously unreleased.
Almost 74 minutes Dennis Brown's voice are now encapsulated in my CD player. The first song is a 90's digital song. I have to admit this is not my favourite reggae period. Fortunately, when I hear Dennis and his roots voice on this first song 'Girl You Know', I am able to quickly forget the Nineties reggae. The backings on songs like 'My Heart Is An Open Book', taken from Niney produced the album 'Cosmic Force', and also on the tracks 'Bobby Socks', 'I Want To Be With You', 'If I Gave My Love' and 'Silly Sivlia' for example, are all typical examples of the Nineties reggae sound and yet all are perfectly matched with Dennis' voice. Or maybe i should say: Dennis' voice fits perfectly to this Nineties songs. A remake of one of my favourite Dennis Brown songs 'Inseparable' is also included on this release. Unfortunately both sound quality and the mix are poor on this song and the saxophonist seems to be completely missing the vibe. 'Too Young' is a remake of Gregory Isaacs’ 'My Only Lover' and one of my favourites on this CD. In perfect contrast to the digital songs on this CD Orange Street have also included some old style stuff such as 'Heart And Soul', 'Smiling Faces', 'Hold On Steady (Be Mine Tonight)' and 'Hold Your Head Up High' which is a trio with Gregory Isaacs and Junior Delgado.
Be it roots, soul, loversrock, dancehall or even digital, Dennis Brown's voice fits easily with these reggae styles. This album is perfect for anybody who wants to hear Dennis Brown riding previously unreleased digital and roots songs.
Hans - Roots Archives, September 2007
Edited by Leggo Rocker