Monday, October 25, 2010

Gregory Isaacs passed away at age 59

Sad sad news reached the reggae world today: the Cool Ruler, Gregory Isaacs passed away early this morning when he lost the battle with cancer. One of my all-time favourite singers together with Delroy Wilson and Dennis Brown. Surely they'll have a big musical reunion up there! Gregory could voice cultural / reality lyrics as convincing as the smooth lovers lyrics he got ladies filling the first rows at all his stage shows with. Great voice, great flow, great original and poetic lyrics, great artist. I've always had a special soft spot for his lovers tunes from the early 80s with the Roots Radics (the albums The Lonely Lover, More Gregory, Night Nurse and Out Deh), of which a nice selection that I made years ago can be heard by clicking play in the below player (strictly lovers stylee):

(if you want to listen these 30 min of Gregory meets the Radics later you can download it here, though I gotta admit, the music is excellent, the mixing nothing special as I made it a long time ago, so this is a 'for the music only' kinda thing)

It must be said that Gregory's 70s and 80s output is overall very impressive if you ask me. Classic albums of the roots era like Extra Classic, Mr. Isaacs, Soon Forward, Cool Ruler, In Person etc. were nicely followed by amongst others the aforementioned albums with the Radics after which Gregory kept releasing some quality albums in the digital years of the later 80s like Warning, Victim, Watchman Of The City, Red Rose For Gregory, Feature Attraction and more. It is true that he made his fair share of weaker albums from the late 80s on (though still some highlights too), but on a day like this there's only room for focussing on the good stuff if you ask me. A true legend left us, but he left behind a catalogue of wicked music that will please many generations to come. RIP Cool Ruler, you'll be missed. My condolences to his family, friends and fans. Lots of strength to you all.

As an impression of his prolific carreer here's a discography of studio albums of original material as it is posted on wikipedia with a few titles added I found missing from that list (there's numerous compilations, live albums and probably some other studio titles missing here, but this list is still pretty close to complete when it comes to his studio albums):

* 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
* For Everyone (1980) Success
* More Gregory (1981) Pre

* The Early Years (1981) Trojan
* The Best Of Vol. 2 (1981) GG's
* Night Nurse (1982) Island/Mango
* Out Deh! (1983) Island/Mango
* The Sensational Gregory Isaacs (1983) Vista / Burning Sounds
* Let's Go Dancing (1984)
* Two Bad Superstars! (1984) Burning Sounds (with Dennis Brown)
* 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
* Feature Attraction (1989) Mixing Lab
* Dancing Floor (1989) Munich
* No Contest (1989) Greensleeves (with Dennis Brown)
* 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

With Gregory's passing 2010 is becoming sadder and sadder for us lovers of foundation reggae. We already lost Yabby You, Bobby Melody and Sugar Minott this year, and now Gregory Isaacs, what a sad realization. RIP to all a dem. Now let us all play some Gregory in respect to the man's work. I'll start with his album More Gregory, cause we'll always wanna hear More Gregory!


behem74 said...

i wanted to thank the work you did with gregory's tunes! i have put your mix on my blog cos i needed it for the tribute i wanted to do for the cool ruler...of course i give the link to your blog which is great! Jah guide i&i and may he bless you!
behem74 de

Anonymous said...

lucky girl likes to give some big respect for GREGORY en for BMC