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DENNIS BROWN

Dennis Brown interview with Carter Van Pelt


 

As I post this interview, I am uncertain whether this was the last or the second to last interview done by Dennis Brown. His brother, Leroy Clarke, and son, Daniel Brown, were certain he didn't do any after this. However, I understand he did a radio interview in Miami around the time he spoke to me. Under any circumstances, this is the last substantial interview given by the Crown Prince.

I was told minutes before the interview that he only wanted to talk about the present -- no questions about the past. The present in this sense was his recent recording project with Karl Pitterson and Rico Laing for their new label Meditation Records. The night before, Brown headlined an all-star showcase with Gregory Isaacs, John Holt, Freddie McGregor, and Michael Rose at the Cameo Theater on South Beach. Surprisingly, for a man rumoured to be on his last lung, Dennis was impressive in concert for nearly an hour. While his voice was a strained relic of its former self, his spirit was strong and the performance of combination style encores with Holt and Isaacs gave me the impression of an artist with full days ahead of him. Instead, it was a final farewell. He would only perform once more -- in Brazil several weeks later.

The interview was difficult, not only for the aforementioned restrictions, but because he was clearly used to being asked insipid questions that don't require much thought or energy in response. I fortunately managed to cast a little light on areas heretofore unexplored and in the process touched the spirit of one of Jamaica's most important creative forces during his final weeks among us.

©   Carter Van Pelt, September, 1999

 
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DENNIS BROWN  1970's Recordings
Last Update - 3/04/13 9:03 PM