Gregory Isaacs - Substance Free - Vizion Sounds
Now here a real test for any producer, how do you get something new from a man like Gregory Isaacs, he's worked with the best in all kinds of styles. Last years set for Blacka Dread 'Masterclass' was probably his best since 'Warning' that he recorded for King Tubby - and that was in 1989. But this one matches those two and goes further. Its a truly incredible set. Gregory Isaacs sings like a youth! The songs are more reality than anything else and that kinda style suits him the best. He's always had something to say about the way of the world and you will find plenty of real comment here! Congrats to Wally again and big respect to Jah Tooth!!! Keep up the good works!!!!!
Gregory Isaacs - Here By Appointment - Jetstar - CD
Gregory's done work for nearly every producer in Jamaica - I don't think he ever went down to Brentford Road, but who knows? In the UK its a bit different, the set for Acid Jazz was very good - and that's about it. Yet with Jetstar Studio - The Cave - doing the work, it was only to expected that they would sooner or later invite the Cool Ruler in for some sessions. The results are truly excellent as well. With the Ruff Cut's band - Tony Phillips at the controls Gregory presents us with a very varied set of lyrics, reality and lovers. All his best albums have that combination, listen out for and too 'Lost My Job'.'War On Poverty' for great examples of the former, and 'If Tomorrow Never Comes' and 'New Lover' for the latter. One of Gregory's best out of a lot of bests!!!
Gregory Isaacs - Cool Ruler - Trojan - 2CD
Putting together anything like a 'Best Of' from Gregory is always going to be a fun task, you don't tally Gregory albums in anything but pages of releases!!!! Even so a good place to start with anything like this would be to include all the big hits. And true to form Trojan have omitted 'Love Is Overdue' a massive hit for Gregory back in 1974 for producer Alvin Ranglin. But on the plus side they included 'Dancing Floor' a very early tune for Prince Buster after leaving The Concords. His early African Museum is also present in the form of 'Look Before You Leap' and 'One One Cocoa' The highlights of Disc 2 are just as impressive 'Oh What A Feeling' for Sly and Robbie (12" mix) and 'Night Nurse' (10" Mix). The great thing about this selection is that it just gives a peek at what is a incredible career of great music and hits - with more to come!!!
Gregory Isaacs - Mr Isaacs - Blood & Fire
Its so good to see Gregory's greatest album on Blood & Fire its to easy to forget that these sort of albums are the cornerstones on which reggae music is built on. They were very successful within the reggae market at the time, and brought Gregory to the attention of labels like Virgin and Island. Most reggae people have them in their collection, but what of the larger audience? If they start looking for a Gregory, there are some are very good albums - but now the Chances of them picking up the best set by Gregory go up Tremendously and that can only be a good thing.
Gregory Isaacs - In Person - Trojan - 1975
It took about 5 years for Gregory to make this his debut album, produced by Alvin Ranglin. Not five years in the making, five years of hard work. Which started with the creation of the African Museum label, plus singles for most of the producers in Ja. Finally he got a big hit 'Love Is Overdue' which was produced by Alvin, which lead to this album. That contains all that, which made 'Love Is Overdue' such a success, and a lot more. Production on the album is minimal, but Gregory makes that work for him in fine style.
Gregory Isaacs - Mr Isaacs - Earthquake - 1977
The two years from 'In Person' in 75 to this album in 1977 were not only crucial years for Gregory, but also for reggae music in general. The music needed someone who could take it forward. The task fell to Gregory Isaacs. Here was a man who could sing and write songs with total conviction about "Truths And Rights". And then sing a love song in that soft and gentle way more or less unique to him. This self produced set is really is all about "Truths & Rights", although his version of 'Story Book Children' is truly wonderful.
Gregory Isaacs - Extra Classic - Conflict - 1977
By the time of the release of this album, which is a collection of self produced hit singles, plus material from Pete Weston/Micron and Lee Perry, Gregory Isaacs was well and truly the biggest sensation in reggae music. Of course outside of the music he was still unknown. Bob Marley supplied all the rock audience with all they needed. Gregory meanwhile was voicing subject matter that was pure reality. Titles like 'Mr Cop' and 'Black Against Black' were huge hits. Yet because he also sang 'Loving Pauper' he was a joke.
Gregory Isaacs - Cool Ruler - Front Line - 1978
Another classic album from G.I., this time the emphasis between his much loved sufferers style and his social/cultural songs is more marked. In a fine tradition we have included here a couple of hits 'John Public' and 'Let's Dance'. Although the real interest on this album comes with the new tracks. Especailly 'Uncle Joe' and 'Word Of The Farmer'. 'Cool Ruler' is yet another step forward for him. It has everything we have come to expect from him. Including no compromises on his first major label release.
Gregory Isaacs - The Best Of - GG Records - 1978
Now when a reggae artist signs to a major label it is almost to be expected that a certain amount of average material will also get released. This was 1978, it was Gregory Isaacs, and that makes the difference. Alvin Ranglin never made anything remotely average with Gregory, so this production from him was warmly welcomed. And once again he and Gregory combine so well, that the title of the set almost comes true! Listen out for 'No Speech' and 'Special Guest'. A great album, in a great sleeve.
Gregory Isaacs - Soon Forward - Front Line - 1979
"I couldn't stand anymore of your baton blows, I said your baton blows got me moving slow." The real world in an unpleasant place, but don't shy away from the man who puts it all in perspective, a swift sharp blow of reality. If anything Gregory's second self produced album for Virgin's Front Line was even harder than the first. "Five reality and five love song, because love is reality." Included here are two massive hits 'Soon Forward' (produced by Sly & Robbie) and 'Mr Brown'. Yet it's the reality songs that make this album.
Gregory Isaacs - The Lonely Lover - Pre - 1980
After two very successful albums for Virgin's Front Line label, Gregory along with virtually all the other artists on the label, were let go, and the Front Line was closed down. Still Gregory had done enough to gain attention from other major labels, and he along with Prince Far I and a couple of others were then signed by Charisma Records. This album released in a stark black & white sleeve seemed at the time very subdued. 'Poor And Clean' one of his strongest and most powerful songs sums the album up well.
Gregory Isaacs - Best Of Volume 2 - GG's Records - 1980.
The timing of the last Gregory Isaacs album produced by Alvin Ranglin was perfect it gave Gregory just the right amount of attention that he needed at the time. And exactly the same could be said amount this album. 'Border' included on this set had been another big hit for him produced by Alvin, and here was an album of the same quality. The big difference between this and 'The Lonely Lover' is the production. This album is more Rockers influenced, more militant, ideal for the type of lyrics on the album.
Gregory Isaacs - More Gregory - Pre - 1981
Taking into the account that The Roots Radics were the top session band of the early eighties, playing on countless albums, it must have been very hard for them to come up with something a little different for every producer, even Gregory. Still they did just that for the man on this set. Although ironically the biggest hit on the album 'Front Door' was traditional Roots Radics. 'Hush Darling' & 'Confirm Reservation' are the next Radics best tracks. While Sly & Robbie provide backing on the excellent 'If I Don' Have You'.
Gregory Isaacs - The Early Years - Trojan - 1981
Gregory as released so many LP's and singles over the years, it's only natural to have missed some of them. So this great collection is a great way to fill in some of the gaps, from his early years. It collects productions from Alvin Ranglin, Niney and Sidney Crooks. And here you will find 'Way Of Life' and 'Give A Hand' two of the greatest reggae songs ever written. And a different cut of 'All I Have Is Love' one of his greatest love songs. Plus 'Rock Away' and 'Bad Da' A truly vital album.
Gregory Isaacs - Night Nurse - Island - 1982
Island Records signing of Gregory Isaacs years after they should have, was still most welcome. Gregory fully deserved major label support. And by now Island had learned not to interfere with the production of their reggae albums. Although it's hard to see Wally Badarou on Prophet & Synths being in the musicians credits without Island's help. Actually Wally's musical colourings do make the album better. Songwise the title track is the best known, but 'Material Man' is Gregory in great form.
Gregory Isaacs - Out Deh - Island - 1983
Gregory's last album confirmed to me that the man was going back to his roots, those being a singer of love songs. 'Material Man' and 'Hot Stepper' were outstanding reality tunes, but they were only two tracks out of eight. Thankfully this is nothing to do with Island Records. Gregory as been slowly drifting back towards his love songs for some time, and it's a shame. Still it is good to find that Gregory here, is practising what he earlier preached and was keeping his music hard even if his lyrics are mainly soft.
Gregory Isaacs - Easy - Tads
Happily Gregory's stay with Island didn't do him any harm musically. It didn't do him much good either, but unfortunately that was to be expected. This excellent set 'Easy' is produced by Gregory and Tad Dawkins. And it's got to be Gregory's best album in a long time. That's not to say the man as made any bad albums, he hasn't. It's just that this is so good. Present are 10 great songs. With only two not being love songs. Which just means he's going deeper into his roots where he came from. A singer of outstanding love songs.
Gregory Isaacs - Private Beach Party - Greensleeves
Normally one album per year, per artist would be the best way for the music to progress. But we are not yet into that ideal situation. So two Gregory Isaacs albums in one year, won't do no harm. Especially when they are as good as this Gussie production. The Music Works label is probably the best example of music that is not dance hall style, yet is still roots music. Gussie's been working on the sound now for years. And it's now perfected. Gregory meanwhile gives us more of his new country style singing.
Gregory Isaacs - All I Have Is Love Love Love - TADS
This is his second LP for producer Tad Dawkins and concentrates mainly on love songs, with the notable exception of 'Hard Drugs' that is included as a bonus track. The tune is not a condemnation of hard drugs, more a matter of fact explanation of that the more drugs you get the more you want. Hard drugs are just another part of the system. Remove the system and the problem is solved. Love is not a problem, although it can get complicated. These complications are delt with by Gregory on the rest of the album.
Gregory Isaacs - Victim - C&E
Recent LP's from Gregory Isaacs have been very relaxed, easy, comfortable albums - still deep roots, but essentially mellow in sound. 'Victim' for new producer Redman was expected to be such an album. What a shock then to find out that this is something new from the man. Once again Gregory is teamed up with the Radics, but this is a Radics with a sharper more lively sound. And for that, the credit must go to Redman. For it's not only Gregory who as benefitted, Sugar & Frankie's LP's also have the sound.
Gregory Isaacs - Come Along - Live & Love
Gregory's recent popularity as got nothing to do with him singing betterm for the truth is that he's never sung badly throughout his career. He remains for me reggae's most expressive singer. No, what as happened in the last year is that Gregory as started agin to sing about things that concern him. His love songs are still here on this King Jammy produced set, and so are some great messages. 'Take A Look' and 'Curfew'. It was music like this, that really made him, back in the mid 70's. He cared then, and he still cares now.
Gregory Isaacs - Red Rose For Gregory - Greensleeves - 1988.
Any doubts over the seriousness of Gregory's return to the top - must surely have come to an end last year with the release of 'Rumours' and 'Rough Neck'. It was the sort of music that took him to the top in the first place. This album would have been a classic if it had taken the same angle - hard reality. Yet Gregory being Gregory, a man who loves a good love song - returns once again to his favourite subject for the rest of the album. While 'Me No Ina A Dat' gives us at least one more reality tune.
Gregory Isaacs - New Dance - Bun Gem
Bun Gem is short of Bunny Gemini. who in co-operation with Triston Palmer takes Gregory into a more dance hall style. Recorded with the Fire House Crew and mixed by Fat Man it probably means this set was cut at King Tubbys. Its certainly got that tight but heavy sound that Tubby was getting getting on his releases towards the end of last year. Gregory sounds will relaxed and sings very well. He also wrote all the songs for the album, which is good to see. He didn't get where he is today by being just a good singer.
Gregory Isaacs - In Red - Tappa
It's taken a long time for Tappa and Gregory to get together to work. This should have been a classic, but it isn't - and at the moment it's very hard to think what went wrong. Present on this album is Clive Hunt - who not only plays but arranges - you also have Chinna, Owen Stewart on bass (from Wackies) as well as Jackie Mittoo. Still it's not a bad album - far from it. 'One Man Against The World' and 'House Of Leo' seem the best tracks at the moment. Followed by 'After Smoking...' which is a really good R&B tune.
Gregory Isaacs - Watchman Of The City - Rohit
By now Gregory was recording for nearly every well known producer in Jamaica, and some not so well known. This set co/produced with T.Lawrence is one of them. With a very interesting title, it could be expected that this album was something a little different from the usual mix of 2-3 life songs, plus 7-8 love songs. In fact out of the 8 songs on the album, 5 are love songs leaving 'Old Friend Fred' 'Promise Land' and the title to show really what Gregory is really capable of. At least the production is solid.
Gregory Isaacs - Reserved For Gregory - Exodus
Another album that keeps Gregory on the right track, but isn't really exciting lyrically or musically. This is another co/produced set as well, with D.Williams. This album though does contain at least one big hit in the form of 'Experience-Vs-Common Sense'. Although another track 'Easy Life' is a lot better, with him returning to an old theme - which is a woman he knows preference for a decadent lifestyle. Truly a shame that there isn't a few more tracks like this. He always sounds at his best with this type of material.
Gregory Isaacs - I.O.U. - Greensleeves - 1989
One of the good things about artists working with high profile producers like Gussie Clarke, is that the artist usually gets a boost from such an association. The Gussie Clarke magic certianly worked on their two previous albums. On this occasion though it would seem that even Gussie is at a loss, as to what direction to point Gregory in. The result here is a little bit of everything. And it all works, but there is nothing inspirational. Perhaps the most important thing about this album is that it's still a good work.
Gregory Isaacs - Past And Future - Techniques - 1989
Producer Winston Riley was Gregory's next stop. If Gussie Clarke is high profile, Winston Riley must be low profile. This is man who as been producing as long as Gregory as been singing. And with a list of classic albums from the likes of Johnny Osboure, Don Evans to Courtney Melody & Sanchez he certainly had the know how to get something a little special from Mr Isaacs. However getting Gregory to sing all his old hits over one rhythm isn't the know how needed. Although side two is a lot better, with five new songs.
Gregory Isaacs - Warning - Serious Business - 1989
Sometime between the terrible murder of King Tubby in February 1989 and the end of that same year came the release of this album, produced by King Tubby. Which means it was recorded and mixed sometime during 1988, or very early 1989. It is also one of Gregory's best albums. The production is sparse, but the mixing is outstanding taking full advantage of the wonderful Firehouse Crew rhythms. Just as important is the balance of songs, and this time it's just right, 5 lifesongs and 5 lovesongs.
Gregory Isaacs - Cooyah - New Name
A positive trend in reggae music over the last five years is the amount of new studios being built. And Castro Brown's - New Name studio is one of them. His first set of albums was very varied, and included this set from Gregory. Noel Browne is credited with production and arrangement, he also plays all the instruments. And musically it's well put together. Lyrically, love songs rule. The only problem with this is the standard of them. Gregory is capable of a lot better.
Gregory Isaacs - Call Me Collect - RAS - 1990
Outside of the major producers in Jamaica, are a long list of upcoming producers.At the very top of that list at the moment must be Fatis. Since the mid eightes he's produced some quality LPs, and'this is another one. A wide variety of musicians are included here, but it's the attention to detail and the very high quality of the songs - that makes this a very enjoyable album from Gregory. A best example of this is 'Poor Barry'. Only Gregory could sing this song with the sincerity that it needs.
(Gregory Isaacs) V/A An Afrincan Museum Selection: Togetherness - Heartbeat - 1984.
Gregory Isaacs disdain for producers is one of the main reasons why he's produced so few other artists. The very reason for the exstence of the Awrican Museum abel was that he could limit the amount of producers he had to work with. This then is a rare treat. And in every respect this is a classic album. Ten tracks made up of two each from Ronnie Davis. Bobby Melody, The Viceroys & The Mighty Diamonds, plus two from himself, the massive hips 'Top Ten' and 'Cream Of The Crop'.
Gregory Isaacs- Slum Dub - Burning Sounds -1978
Yet another rare event isa Gregory Isaacs dub album. Of_the two so far released this by far is the best one. Most of the tracks come from Gregory's 'Cool Ruler' album, with the balance all coming from the same era which is late seventies Rockers, recorded at Channel One. The mixing was probably done their as well,twith no details it hard to to certain. What matters though is that the album is well forward. All the attention is on the rhythm, no gimmicks, or weird fxs, Dub as it should be.