Label: Kingdom Records - CD KVL 9027 • Format: CD Album • Country: UK • Genre: Reggae • Style: Roots Reggae, Dancehall, Lovers Rock
One of Jamaica's most beloved vocalists who was as pertinent in dancehalls as he was in bedrooms, Gregory Isaacs' career stretched over 30 years. From the heady days of reggae through lovers rock, a genre he virtually invented, his talent reached into the modern age.
Born in the Fletcher's Land area of Kingston, Jamaica, on July 15,Isaacs arrived in the music business via the talent show circuit, a tried and Anschlag I - Treacle People - Treacle People formula Oh Jodie - John Tirado - Slow-Motion Party many of the island's budding singing stars.
Byron Lee was the first in the industry to spot his talent and brought him and Winston Sinclair into the studio to record the duet "Another Heartbreak" in Sadly, it went nowhere, and Isaacs decided to try his fortunes with a new vocal trio, the Concords.
They set up home at Rupie Edwards ' Success label, and over the next couple of years Mr. Brown - Gregory Isaacs - Live At The Academy a number of singles, including one with Prince Busterbut none caught the attention of the Jamaican public. Inthe Concords Mr. Brown - Gregory Isaacs - Live At The Academy and Isaacs struggled on alone.
His initial self-productions were similarly unsuccessful, while further cuts with Edwards did no better. Regardless of this poor track record, in Isaacs set up his own record store and label, African Museumin partnership with Errol Dunkleya young singer with a string of hits to his own name. Apparently some of Dunkley 's own magic wore off and one of the label's first releases, Isaacs' own self-produced "My Only Lover," was an immediate hit and the floodgates opened wide.
Besides African Museum 's offerings, Isaacs helped keep the label solvent by recording with virtually every producer on the island for a stream of hits that showed no sign of abating.
Between and alone, the singer released more material than most artists do in a lifetime, virtually all of it timeless classics. Isaacs' early albums inevitably gathered up strings of these hits, while usually also including a few new songs.
Released inIn Person, for example, features a heavy-hitting collection of successes for producer Alvin Ranglin and was followed up in by Best Of, Vol. The Heartbeat label would bundle up this material across three CDs for the U.
Extra Classic, co-produced by Isaacs, Pete Weston, and Lee Perryis also stuffed with chartbusters and showcases the singer's deepest roots material. The latter album appeared on African Museumcut with a diverse range of producers, across three volumes titled Over the Years. Inthe U. Turnabout is fair play and Brown had released several classic albums of his own on African Museum. By this time, the two polar sides of Isaacs were apparent: the roots singer, whose emotive sufferer's songs and cultural numbers were filled with fire, and the crooning lover, whose passionate declarations of devotion quivered with emotion.
Eventually, the vocalist's ties to the lovers rock scene Mr. Brown - Gregory Isaacs - Live At The Academy his reputation as the Cool Ruler overshadow the equally impassioned roots performer, but his work in the latter half of the '70s shows his heart was true to both. Isaacs was quick to take advantage of the rise of the DJs; producer Ranglin paired him with a string of cutting-edge toasters for another flood Doggy Style (Remix) - Afro-Rican - Against All Odds hits, beginning in It was at this time that he first hooked up with DJ Trinitya partnership maintained into the next decade across a stream of seminal singles.
By now, Isaacs was too big a talent to ignore, and in he signed with Virgin 's Frontline label. That same year, the singer had a featured role in the classic Rockers movie.
Inexplicably, however, as Isaacs was poised on the brink of international success, he failed Débiloélektro - Lady Jane - Bring Up The Kids set the rest of the world alight. His debut Frontline album, the excellent Cool Ruler, barely ruffled a feather outside Jamaica.
It did, however, provide most of the material for Slum: Gregory Isaacs in Dub, which boasted fat rhythms by the Revolutionarieskeyboardist Ansel Collins with Prince Jammyand Isaacs himself behind the mixing board.
Cool Ruler's follow-up, 's Soon Forward, was filled with hits that would soon become classics, but also did not make the slightest dent on the world beyond Jamaica. Isaacs cut several more great singles with the team, which were brought together for 's Showcase album. Even with Frontline out of the picture, Isaacs continued going from strength to strength. Inking a U. His Pre debut, The Lonely Lover, and its follow-up, 's More Gregory, both boast the Roots Radics and a host of Jamaican hits that range from lovers rock to deep roots and on to the emerging dancehall sound.
No wonder the singer was a hands-down success at the first Reggae Mr. Brown - Gregory Isaacs - Live At The Academy . It was at this point that Island stepped up to the plate and signed the singer to their Mango imprint. Virgin label head Richard Branson must have cursed his own stupidity, as Isaacs immediately repaid his new label's faith with his biggest hit of all, "Night Nurse.
Amazingly, as the song spread around the world, the singer sat whiling his time away in a Jamaican jail as the result of a drug arrest. He was released later in and immediately entered the studio to record Out Deh with producers Errol Brown and Flabba Holt.
Once again able to take the stage, Isaacs played a series of awe-inspiring shows over the next year, captured on both 's Live at Reggae Sunsplash and the following year's Live at the Academy Mr. Brown - Gregory Isaacs - Live At The Academy albums.
Behind the scenes, Isaacs joined the shadowy conspiracy of vocalists determined to return vocalists to their rightful place in the market by flooding the shops with music. An all-star cast of veteran singers joined the plot, including Dennis BrownJohn HoltDelroy Wilsonand many more, but none would reach the prolificacy of the determined Isaacs. It's been estimated that the singer released up to albums including compilations in Jamaica, the U.
The singer recorded with anyone and everyone and was just as quick to revise his old songs as create fresh ones. Although none of these are entirely disposable, inevitably the quality of Isaacs full-length work began to decline in the mid-'80s. But that didn't mean the hits had dried up.
Those records are albums only, not singles, and the shops and charts continued to overflow with Isaacs' 45s. And the rise of ragga just added hot new producers to the singer's packed recording diary. Inproducer Prince Jammyequally intrigued with the changing sounds of dancehall, brought Isaacs into the studio for the superb Let's Go Dancing, while also pairing the singer with Dennis Brown for Two Bad Superstars Meet.
The latter proved so popular that a second set, Judge Not, appeared the next year. The two singers dueted again on a track on Isaacs' solo album, Private Beach Party, which also boasted an exquisite "Feeling Irie," which paired him with Carlene Davis. He hadn't quite succeeded yet, but Private Beach Party helped lay the groundwork. Isaacs swiftly found himself a dancehall hero. It was during this period that Isaacs also recorded an album for King Tubby.
Warning boasts the magnificent rhythms of the Firehouse Crew, and a dark atmosphere of foreboding slinks through the entire set. It was not released at the time and only came to light after the great man's murder in By then, Isaacs had already stormed the world, digital or otherwise, with the Gussie Clarke -produced "Rumours" whose rhythm would launch scores of further version hits, including J.
Lodge 's "Telephone Love," an even bigger smash. The masterful Red Rose for Gregory boasts a clutch of hits beside equally sublime non tracks, all cut for Clarke. The pair's follow-up, 's I.
Isaacs continued to cut seminal singles with Clarkewhile also recording with a host of other producers. And having inked a deal with RAS in the U. Philip Burrell was in the producer's chair for 's Midnight Confidential album. But there was a slew of lesser titles as well; while Isaacs seemed able to always hit the mark with singles, albums required more effort than he was often willing, or able, to give. No Intention and Boom Shot, both fromare workaday records, with the singer on autopilot.
LodgeWinston Rileyand Boris Gardiner on material both new and old, but it's obvious that no one's heart is really in it, Isaacs' Sugarcreek - Best Of Both Worlds / Aint That Enough of all.
The patchy Rudie Boo released by Heartbeat in the U. At least 's Unlocked featured a stronger set of songs, but much of Isaacs' releases throughout the '90s were hit-and-miss affairs. Midnight Confidential, for example, is totally disposable, except for the magnificent "Not Because I Smile.
Younger or less experienced producers were in particular danger, and as the years progressed it was only the toughest and most innovative producers who could coax the best from the singer.
Alvin Ranglinfor example, wrung an exquisite set of emotionally riven songs from Isaacs for 's Dreaming. The wisest course in negotiating one's way through the minefield of latter-day Isaacs is to look at the production credits. If you like the slick production that's the trademark of Bunny Gemini, chances are you'll appreciate 's Mr. King Jammy is let loose on 's Turn Down the Lights, and while not up to the standards of Let's Go Dancing, it's still an enjoyable ride.
The singer began the new millennium with aplomb on Father and Son, which, true to the title, features Isaacs and his son Kevin.
The duets are gorgeous, while the younger Isaacs is given plenty of room to prove that his talent is equal to his dad's. The next year, I Found Love marked the second time the two worked together. In between times, the singer continued to impress audiences Ya Es Muy Tarde - Nelson Pinedo Con La Sonora Matancera - ¿Quien Será?, and his recorded output continued sporadically during the remainder of the decade.
However, by he had reportedly lost his teeth due to crack cocaine Mr. Brown - Gregory Isaacs - Live At The Academy , and he was later diagnosed with lung cancer, which spread and ultimately took his life. Gregory Isaacs died at his home in London on October 25, at the age of Listen to Gregory Isaacs now. To play this content, you'll need the Spotify app.
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