Empty World

In the spirit of Diana Ross covers, here are a couple covers of her 1965 classic, the dark, driving “My World Is Empty Without You.”  There are several reggae covers, including one by the Heptones, but my personal favorite is Dennis Brown’s rendition.  Entitled “(My Whole World Is Empty) Without You,” Brown lifts the hook from Ross but comes up with his own lyrics.  Most of Brown’s classic material came out during the 70s, but this was actually recorded in 1992, with the famous reggae rhythm section Sly & Robbie — who played on an absurd number of famous reggae records — providing backup for the singer. While Ross has somber instrumentation but polished vocals, Brown reverses things, putting the tragedy in his voice, but keeping the rhythm cheery.

 

In 2009, Lee Fields recorded a version of the song for his Truth & Soul debut, My World.  Fields puts a bossa nova spin on the song, which is a nice idea, pushing the song in the direction of a breezy sigh (literally, with those nice backing vocals), rather than a world-ender.  But his vocals are a bit too strong for bossa nova, which hampers the impact.  A singer with a lighter touch should take this on.

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