Rocker TV: Dennis Brown Live and Gregory Isaacs Live


Title: Dennis Brown Live

Artist: Dennis Brown

Label: MVD Visual

Format: DVD (60 min.)

Release date: July 14, 2014



Title: Gregory Isaacs Live

Artist: Gregory Isaacs

Label: MVD Visual

Format: DVD (60 min.)

Release date: November 4, 2014


Two episodes of the legendary television show “Rockers,” which was broadcast from New York City for over 25 years starting in the 1970s, have recently been released on DVD. The show was the first reggae music television series and helped introduce reggae to millions of music fans. Directed and hosted by Earl “The Roots Man” Chin, one of the most famous reggae deejays in the United States, “Rockers” featured interviews and performances by Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Shaggy, and many other reggae artists.

The first episode released on DVD, Dennis Brown Live, features a 1999 performance of Brown on Spice Island in Grenada. Brown first became known as a reggae musician in Jamaica in the late 1960s, when he was only eleven years old. Later, Bob Marley said that Brown was one of his favorite artists, even naming him the “Crown Prince of Reggae.” This live performance features hit songs of Brown’s such as “Here I Come” and “Revolution.”

Gregory Isaacs Live includes interview as well as performance portions. Isaacs started out as a member of the Jamaican vocal trio The Concords, but after they broke up in 1970 he launched his own label, African Museum. He rose to popularity in the late 1970s in Jamaica and was nicknamed the “Cool Ruler” for his crooning vocal style, which he said was influenced by singers such as Sam Cooke and Percy Sledge. In Gregory Isaacs Live, Earl Chin speaks with Isaacs about his success, passion for people, and his preference for using live instruments to create music. The whole episode was shot in 2001 at Isaac’s African Museum studio in Kingston, Jamaica. Isaacs also performs his version of “House of the Rising Sun” and a special rendition of “The Border” with his son Kevin.

“Rockers” has also seen a revival through the recently released website, Rockers TV Media, which they call “the ultimate reggae website.” Here you can find clips from other episodes of the show, as well as links to new reggae music. There’s no news as to whether or not more episodes will be released on DVD, but these two programs certainly provide access to an important part of reggae’s history, especially its rise in popularity in the United States.

Reviewed by Anna Polovick