Music videos play a huge part in the availability of music to the people in this age of Youtube, often allowing people to get a first look and listen to a tune. They are, especially in reggae music, turning into the modern equivalent of dubplates, or at least for what a dub used to be for. By this I mean a device to judge the reaction of the potential record buying public through playing a song as a pre release for up to a year before it would come out on single. There are obvious down sides to having such a freedom of material now, such as being able to convert a video from Youtube or similar websites into an mp3 track that can be played wherever you want, this does not take away from the skill of the video makers however.
The producers of videos don’t really get a mention in the same way as music producers do, and this is where that stops. If you are a video maker in the reggae world and the list of artists that you have worked with reads like a who’s who of the music then you must be doing something right. This is where Dean Thompson and Dennis Thompson JR step in, in the 1980’s they saw the gap in the market for reggae music videos, with no artists really doing them at the time, and stepped in with full force.
The list of artists that these two guys have worked for is unreal, including absolute legends such as: Dennis Brown, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Michael Jackson, Miles Davis, Fats Domino, B.B King, Derrick Parker, Shinehead, Jerry Harris, Gumbae Culture and Whitney Houston to name a few. Although these are not all reggae artists, they are some of the biggest stars to ever walk the planet. This has got to be a good sign as to how respected these two are in their chosen field. On top of this Dennis and Dean have worked on Grammy winning projects for the likes of Peter Tosh and Steel Pulse, in other words, these guys know what they are doing and they are BIG.
Lately, for the reggae fans, they have been working with some of the best artists that the US can offer, including Wordplay favourite, Jerry ‘Spreading all Over’ Harris and many new artists that I guess don’t get heard in small towns such as Norwich as quickly as the rest of the world. These artists include people like Bigga Haitian, Pablo Rufs and Living Truth. The Thompson brothers made both of the videos already on the site for Jerry Harris, and they succeed fully in relating the images to the words and message of the song, resulting in a pleasing end result which only helps enforce the messages that the artist wanted to come forward in the music. Many of the videos too, such as ‘King of Glory’ by Bigga Haitian especially, utilise wicked special effects, for this tune they help to enforce the judgement in the lyrics, with storms in the background in vibrant colours.
There are not, to my knowledge, in the world of reggae, any other people really who have been making videos for so long and so successfully, this shouldn’t even be a surprise as the brothers’ father Dennis SR was deeply involved in music too. He was an engineer for such greats as the wailers and also worked at Randy’s – for those who don’t know this is one of the first and most influential recording studios in reggae history.
There are a few examples of the Thompson brothers’ work for you to watch that I have included, these are: ‘Health Conscious’ – Jerry Harris ‘More Schools’ – Jerry Harris ‘King of Glory’ Bigga Haitian and ‘Fed Up’ – Pablo Rufs.
There are new videos being produced all the time so it would be well worth logging into their Youtube channel and keeping fresh with the updates or even adding them on facebook to get the hot new productions. I for one look forward to seeing more work by this extremely talented duo.
By Jack Duffield