Father and Son, a son's tribute to Reggae's Crown Prince

BASIL WALTERS, Observer staff reporter
Friday, August 22, 2003

DANIEL BROWN... pays tribute to his father with the Father & Son album. Below Daniel is the album cover of his father's album No Man Is An Island

DENNIS Emmanuel Brown lives forever in our hearts as the Crown Prince of Reggae. His smooth voice and dynamic personality resonated throughout the world of Reggae for many years before his untimely demise in 1999.

The Crown Prince can never be replaced but thanks to modern technology, what is certainly the best effort at immortalising the work of one of Jamaica's most popular singers, is now in progress at the famous Studio One.

This seminal musical project now being conducted under the watch of the legendary producer, Clement "Sir Coxsone" Dodd and singer/ songwriter, Bunny Brown of the Chosen Few fame, is an album which will feature Dennis Brown and his son, Daniel.

Bunny Brown (top) and Clement 'Sir Coxsone' Dodd (below) co-producers of Father & Son

The set, called Father and Son, will have each (Dennis and Daniel) singing alternate verses in the same format as Bob Marley and Lauren Hill on Turn Your Lights Down Low, and Unforgettable featuring Nat King Cole and his daughter Natalie.

The material on the Father And Son album will be taken from two of D Brown's (as the Crown Prince was affectionately called) well known sets in No Man Is An Island and If I Follow My Heart, both of which were recorded at Studio One.

It is significant that this project is being done at Studio One, as the late child prodigy whose mellow style is often regarded as one of the best things that ever happened to Reggae music, always spoke fondly of his early experiences at this Brentford Road recording facility from which many famous Jamaican artistes made their entry into the world of music.

When asked in the June 1992 edition of Reggae Directory: "How do you look at Studio One today?" Dennis Brown, who was a pre-teen when he began thrilling Jamaican audiences in the late 1960s, replied: "I have lot of respect for Coxsone. He was the one who gave me my first opportunity in terms of being involved with recording-wise. I must lift my hat to him. People say all kind of crazy things about Coxsone Dodd, but people go through changes. Changes that one might have been through with Downbeat that doesn't mean I had to go the same road. Downbeat is cool. He's a businessman. People will always be people. I have nothing derogatory to say about him, he's a good man."

His son Daniel who was born in England, is now tracing his father's footsteps. He could not hide his excitement about the project, but even moreso that it was being done at Studio One.

"Doing the Father and Son album is a great opportunity for me to make a contribution to keep my father's name going. And I feel honoured to be working at the studio where my dad started. All the Studio One artistes have been a great influence on me," he told Splash.

Bunny Brown, who conceived the Father & Son project, said he is very thankful to Coxsone with whom he is co-producing the album as he (Coxsone) never hesitated to give his consent.

"When I approached him, he said yes right away," Bunny Brown pointed out.

He also said that his aim is to do a volume one and two which will include more of D Brown's classics some of which were recorded for producers Derrick Harriot and Bunny Lee. He promised that he will start working on volume two as soon as he can arrive at contractual agreements with the above mentioned producers.

"This will help to break Daniel into the market. I'm trying to get him to focus on his music which he wants to do (despite doing other things like modelling). Naturally the Father And Son project will also help to keep his father's tradition alive," Bunny Brown said.

Commenting on the singing ability of Daniel, Bunny said: "Like any other young singer he still needs grooming and he is currently doing some voice training and writing some songs of his own."

On the upcoming album, Daniel Brown will be featured as a soloist on only one song, Son of a Warrior. Those he will perform as a duo with his father are No Man Is An Island, If I Follow My Heart, I Love You Madly, Going To The Ball, Rain Drops Keep Falling On My Head, God Bless The Children, Created By The Father, I've Got to Go among others.

"I think is one of the strongest works for this year (out of Studio One), and I'm looking forward to the success of this album," Coxsone told Splash.

Other posthumous albums of Dennis Brown, who passed away at age 42 in 1999, are the Karl Pitterson-produced Generosity and Earl "Flabba" Holt's Bless Me Jah.