Wednesday, 27 October 2010
As a youth Gregory Isaacs music was played around me nearly everyday, perhaps everyday, he is known as the ''cool ruler'' because of his silk vocals and sweet sweet rhythyms justly and righteously. His music stirred emotions in and around me that only reggae music could, but, his music was a class of it's own, simply speaking he was a magi of music, truefully speaking, a king of Atlantis, it was undisputed and still is.
For a reggae artist to transcend across the international boundaries in such a way that people of all different classes and colours would feel the emotional attraction to each other because of the quality of the vocal harmony and melodies, factually, Gregory Isaac melodies were simply devinity process's and delivered with a crucible effect that irresistably entwines the persons listening as drawn to humble perfection personified.
Lyrically, Gregory Isaacs was perhaps the greatest reggae artist of all known history for his sweet loving proclaimation, exclamating zero differentiation, exluding the prophet Robert Nesta Marley. Gregory Isaacs songs profoundly shake through historic shelves and justly deserve the warranted first choice handful of compact disks to grace any music collectors shelf. I'm certain his music will be among the front of my music collection for the rest of my life and will certainly be given to the collections of my children.
Perhaps the greatest space calling from recent Jamaican artists...
Gregory Isaacs / Night Nurse
More than 500 Gregory Isaacs albums have been released during his career, many being compilations. Studio albums of original material are listed below:
In Person (1975) Trojan
All I Have Is Love (1976) Trojan
The Best Of Vol. 1 (1977) GG's
Extra Classic (1977) African Museum
Mr Isaacs (1977) DEB
Cool Ruler (1978) Front Line
Soon Forward (1979) Front Line
Slum (Gregory Isaacs in Dub) (1978) Burning Sounds
Gregory Isaacs Meets Ronnie Davis (1979) Plant (with Ronnie Davis)
Showcase (1980) Taxi
Lonely Lover (1980) Pre
More Gregory (1981) Pre
The Best Of Vol. 2 (1981) GG's
Night Nurse (1982) Island/Mango
Out Deh! (1983) Island/Mango
Let's Go Dancing (1984)
Judge Not (1985) Greensleeves (with Dennis Brown)
Private Beach Party (1985) RAS
Easy (1985) Tad's
Double Dose (1986) Blue Trac (with Sugar Minott)
All I Have is Love Love Love (1987) Tad's
Victim (1987) VP
Watchman of the City (1987) Rohit
Come Along (1988), Live & Love
Red Rose for Gregory (1988) RAS
Warning (1989) Firehouse
I.O.U. (1989) RAS
On The Dance Floor (1990) Heartbeat
Call Me Collect (1990) RAS
Set Me Free (1991) Vine Yard
No Intention (1991) VP
Boom Shot (1991) Shanachie
State of Shock (1991) RAS
Past and Future (1991) VP
Pardon Me! (1992) RAS
Rudie Boo (1992) Star Trail
Unattended (1993) Pow Wow
Unlocked (1993) RAS
Midnight Confidential (1994) Greensleeves
Dreaming (1995) Heartbeat
Not a One Man Thing (1995) RAS
Private Lesson (1996) Heartbeat
Mr. Cool (1996) VP
Maximum Respect (1996) House of Reggae
Hold Tight (1997) Heartbeat
Hardcore Hits (1997) Ikus
Dance Curfew (1997), Acid Jazz – with Dread Flimstone
Kingston 14 Denham Town (1998) Jamaican Vibes
New Dance (1999) Prestige
Turn Down The Lights (1999) Artists Only
So Much Love (2000) Joe Gibbs Music
Future Attraction (2000) VP
Father & Son (2000), 2B1 – Gregory Isaacs & Son
It Go Now (2002), 2B1
Life's Lonely Road (2004)
Give It All Up (2004) Heartbeat
Rat Patrol (2004) African Museum
Masterclass (2004) Greensleeves
Revenge (2005) P.O.T.
Substance Free (2005) Vizion Sounds
Hold Tight (2008) Mafia & Fluxy
Brand New Me (2008) African Museum
Gregory Isaacs, who has died of cancer aged 59, was one of reggae music's most popular singers. Known as the Cool Ruler for his exceptionally suave and emotive voice, Isaacs scored many hits during the 1970s and 80s, including the perennial favourite Night Nurse, and remained active as a recording artist, live performer and producer in the decades that followed. Although best known for romantic ballads, delivered with a hint of vulnerability, he also excelled at songs of social protest and work that expressed unwavering pride in his African heritage. However, his long-term drug use and involvement in criminal activity led to long periods of incarceration and repeated arrests, hastening his physical decline.
Isaacs was born in Fletcher's Land, a particularly neglected patch of the ghetto in the Jamaican capital, Kingston. His father left for the US during his childhood, so Gregory and his younger brother, Sylvester, were raised by their mother in the rough streets of nearby Denham Town. Showing a natural aptitude for singing, Isaacs began making an impact on talent contests during his teens (often as a duo with Sylvester). He was inspired by stars such as Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, as well as local acts including Alton Ellis and the Melodians, but named his mother as his first vocal role model, since he used to hear her singing while she ironed.
In 1968, Isaacs recorded and produced a duet, Another Heartache, with an aspiring singer from the neighbourhood, Winston Sinclair, but the song sank without a trace. His next effort, Ballroom Floor, was recorded for Prince Buster, after receiving a personal recommendation from a local gangster, Lester Lloyd Coke (aka Jim Brown). In the same era, Isaacs sold marijuana on behalf of Toddy Livingston, father of the singer Bunny Wailer.
Isaacs subsequently formed a trio, the Concords, with two other hopefuls, recording a number of impressive tunes for Rupie Edwards in 1969, of which the most notable was Don't Let Me Suffer. Other stirring solo singles, such as Too Late and Lonely Man, followed. By 1970 he had formed the independent label African Museum with a fellow singer, Errol Dunkley. They found instant success with Dunkley's Movie Star and Isaacs's moderately popular My Only Lover (featuring the Wailers' backing band), before Dunkley broke away to found his own label. Isaacs's first substantial hit, All I Have Is Love, was produced by a perceptive downtown promoter, Phil Pratt, in 1973. The following year, he scored an even bigger hit with Love Is Overdue, the first of several for the producer Alvin "GG" Ranglin, who soon issued Isaacs's debut album, In Person (1975).
As his songwriting skills matured, Isaacs shifted focus to address social injustice, in work that expressed longing for his ancestral African homeland, and grew dreadlocks as a sign of his commitment to the Rastafari faith. At Lee Perry's Black Ark studio, he cut the anthem-like Mr Cop in 1976 and the censorious Black Against Black, which decried self-destructive ghetto violence. After the release of the self-produced concept album, Mr Isaacs (1977), he received a major career boost in 1978 by signing to Virgin Records for the album Cool Ruler and making an appearance in the feature film Rockers. The 1979 Virgin follow-up, Soon Forward, included the chart-topping Mr Brown and a popular title track which was one of the first recordings to make use of the production skills of Sly and Robbie.
A shift to Charisma Records' subsidiary Pre in 1980 brought the album Lonely Lover and its follow-up, More Gregory, the latter featuring the Jamaican chart success Top Ten. Both albums were backed by the Roots Radics band, with whom Isaacs toured the UK in 1980-81. Night Nurse (1982), issued by Island, was his most commercially successful set to date, but just as he reached a pinnacle of popularity, problems arose. He was imprisoned in Jamaica following the discovery of an unlicensed firearm at his home, and he also served time for cocaine possession. He addressed his experiences of prison in the subsequent Island release, Out Deh! (1983).
After recording the relaxed Private Beach Party album for the producer Gussie Clarke in 1985, he cut less impressive work for a number of relatively unknown producers. Then, in 1987, another cocaine bust prompted him to go into rehab. This was followed by a more productive period that peaked with the release of Red Rose for Gregory (1988), a hit dancehall album issued by Clarke, and featuring the outstanding single, Rumours.
Although Isaacs would score a few more Jamaican chart hits, record for the British label Acid Jazz, open a recording studio in Jamaica, and launch the singing career of his son Kevin, he continued to use drugs. This resulted in several patchy releases, the loss of a number of his teeth, and a reputation for unreliability. Nevertheless, he maintained a loyal fan base, both at home in Jamaica and overseas.
He is survived by his wife Linda and several children.
• Gregory Anthony Isaacs, singer, songwriter and record producer, born 15 July 1951; died 25 October 2010
Gregory Isaacs / Slave master
Gregory Anthony Isaacs (15 July 1951 – 25 October 2010)