Dennis Brown - Money in my pocket

A: Dennis Brown – Money in my pocket

B: Joe Gibbs & The Professionals – Money love


After having recorded some thirty songs for Coxsone Dodd’s Studio One imprint, laying down a solid foundation to build upon, Dennis Brown, still a kid with only 12 or 13 years to his name, went on to release a number of equally impressive recordings for other producers. By the time Dodd released two albums by the “Boy Wonder,” Dennis had already jumped ship and was busy recording his third full length together with his very first, and then again current, producer Derrick Harriot. Although songs like “Concentration” and “Silhouettes” were popular enough, as were his tunes for labels like Impact!, Sun Shot and Matador, nothing could have prepared the youth for the huge succes he was about to gain from his next recording.

Teaming up with Joe Gibbs and his inhouse producer, Winston “Niney” Holness, in 1972, Dennis Brown embarked upon a new stage in his already forceful career. With both men Brown would endure a long and fruitful relationship, continuing well beyond the producers duo’s split in 1972. Perhaps ‘Money in my pocket’ had something to do with that particular breakup, because both men have a different view on the process of recording the song.

I always suspected that ‘Money in my pocket’ was a coversong, as it oozes influences from US rhythm and blues, but I have never been able to track down any proof. Certainly there are many songs in the R&B songbook that cover the same topic, but never in the way Dennis put it to wax. It wasn’t entirely his, though, as both Niney and Gibbs state that “Money in my Pocket’ was actually written by ‘some guy from MoBay‘ (Gibbs in a 2006 radio interview with Roy Black) and “a guy I met [.. ] who couldn’t sing it the way I wanted him to” (Niney in a 2013 interview with Angus Taylor). That’s about the only thing they agree upon. Gibbs claims he already owned the song, Niney says he brought it to Gibbs, tried a thing with the original writer and then gave it to Dennis. It’s not hard to imagine that a feud over money, either not going in or not getting out of someone’s pocket, ensued when the song hit big in both Jamaica and the UK.

Whoever is right, if anyone, shall forever be a mystery. As will the identity of the writer, who seems to have drawn the shortest straw, but what remains is Dennis’ strong and soulful take over the rough Meters backing track -featuring Earl ‘Wire’ Lindo and Bobby Kalphat as members. A backing track that Joe Gibbs made sure of he used to full effect, releasing a handful of different cuts in time to come. ‘Money’ would eventually propel Dennis Brown into superstardom, although he had to wait six more years for that to happen. In 1978 he succesfully re-recorded the song, again for Gibbs, with a more up to date sound, provided this time by Lloyd Parks’ We The People band.


Label: Joe Gibbs Record Globe (Ja) / Pressure Beat (Trojan) (Uk)
Release date:1972
Riddim: Money in my pocket
Matrix: DSR JG 7517

(originally posted on 11-02-14)


Leave a reply

Fields marked with * are required