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Pressure Beat mixes
About Pressure Beat
His father used to summon his kids to the dinner table by playing a song on his trumpet, his uncle played the tenor sax and his cousin was a locally famous percussionist. Then there were his brothers; Dapper Don, who ran a soundsystem and his other, more famous sibling called Castro Brown, who ran the D.E.B. Music label with Dennis Brown (whom was not related). With a background like that and growing up in Jamaica – where music is omnipresent – it’s almost impossible not to go whole hog into the Kingston music business and achieve a well deserved role as a key figure. And Jackie Brown was just that.
Starting his career as a session guitar player for various producers – including Dickie Wong (Tit for Tat) and Joe Gibbs, with whom he maintained a lifelong friendship – Jackie Brown soon became a ‘go to man’ in Kingston. A friendly and sociable man, he worked together with each and everyone, varying from big artists to absolute nobodies, to try and build something. Jackie was active as a promoter, talent scout, label owner and producer (Cash, Telegraph), A&R manager for Joe Gibbs (signing Black Skin, among others) and songwriter. Although he is probably best known as a singer. One who recorded a multi-faceted catalogue consisting of lighthearted, poppy reggae tunes to superheavy roots reggae. Blessed with a voice that was truly second to none, and always presented in his own, unique style – rural, carrying a swing, contemporary with an edge – you can always tell a Jackie Brown record apart from the rest.
Brown started his singing career in the traditional way, in a group. He was a member of the Silvertones for a while, but only recorded as a solo artist. His first tunes were done for Ossie Hibbert, after which Brown pocketed his first hit in 1971 with ‘One night of sin‘ for Sonia Pottinger’s Gayfeet label. This upbeat song did very well with the ladies, the so called ‘housewife’s choice’ division, and Jackie would cater for this group all throughout his career. But this isn’t to say he was an ‘easy listening’ or ‘middle of the road’ artist. In fact, Jackie was very versatile and recorded a discography that can only be described as: accomplished. It contains lightweight or pop reggae, like his first hit and ‘Send me the pillow’; (mild) slackness, like ‘Fat girl’ and ‘Shake Pretty Girl’; festival songs like ‘Bam Bam Festival’; social commentary like ‘Living in sweet Jamaica‘; and it contains some of the best roots reggae out there, which he released on his own labels, like ‘Bearded babylon‘ and ‘Wiser Dread.’
‘Love and affection’ belongs in the first category, obviously, but I doubt it reached very far. Even great men have off days and I reckon Jackie was having one when he recorded his take on Bobby Bland’s ‘Call on me.’ Jackie sings off key every now and then and seems rather uncomfortable with the song of choice. Yet, I still rate it for the riddim, which is rough and tough, and because I’m quite partial to Jackie’s style and fashion. ‘Love and affection’ is for the collector’s only, though. Make sure you get the great ones first. Like the Black Ark recorded ‘Knotty Vision‘ or the magnificent ‘Sheep and Goat. Oooh, or the superb “Feel no pain‘ or, or… well, I’m sure you’ll know what I mean by now.
In 1981 Brown moved to the USA, where he hit the charts again with ‘Sweet music man‘ which was released in 1984 and appropiately bigs up the man and his music. Despite a short stint working as a dentist, Brown never stopped recording. In 2002 he recorded an album’s worth of material for Gibbs, which gained popularity in Brazil, where Jackie had a huge following. He tells about it in this great interview with Peter I, which was also the main source for this little article and comes highly recommended. Sadly, Jackie Brown passed away recently, aged 68 and leaving behind a wife and 10 children. May he rest in peace.
Label: Pressure Beat (ja)
Release date: 1972
Riddim: Call on me
Matrix: DSR JG 7784 / DSR JG 7785
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