Monday, October 25, 2010

Gregory Isaacs R.I.P.

The Cool Ruler, Gregory Isaacs, one of the greatest reggae singers of all time died today at 60. (The cause was cancer of the liver that spread to his lungs).  His voice is instantly recognizable, and there's no way to underestimate his importance in the reggae world.  He was one of the originators of the classic roots reggae sound, and also the best purveyor of "lovers rock" reggae ever.  Along with Dennis Brown, they were the best voices ever to sing reggae music.  (You could add Jacob Miller, Marley and a few other to the list, but the 2 best were Isaacs and Brown).   He had way too many albums to list, but some of his best singles are collected on the "One Man Against The World" compilation.  Isaacs became huge after his "Night Nurse" album in 1982, although he was much loved and well-known prior to that release.  I got to see Isaacs perform at Reggae Sunsplash at Radio City Music Hall in 1985, and saw him walk thru the airport (dressed all in white) in Kingston, Jamaica in 1991 or so.  I started to listen to reggae in 1981, and Gregory Isaacs was one of the 1st artists I heard.  Roots reggae was the primary style I enjoyed (and was very popular then) and everyone listened to Isaacs.  He was often backed up by the Roots Radics, the best reggae studio band ever.  Another reggae giant, and one of the last, is gone.

Friday, October 15, 2010

live Rads

Saw The Radiators at Mexicali Live last night.  They are a prototypical bar band, and have been touring steadily for over 30 years.  Last night's show was typical Rads, some good covers, some well-known, some obscure.  The 2nd set was very good, with some songs from their self-titled disc from 2001, along with a good cover of "Domino".  Not a packed poured last night and I think it kept some people away.  The place was less than 1/2 full for the 2nd set.  Good show nonetheless.  These guys play every type of music, and Camille (lead guitarist) is a jack-of-all-trades player.  The Rads are a true workingman's band.   (I recently bought a new ipod, which has a camera that also takes video.  I've got to learn how to actually use it...the videos I took were either sideways or upside down, and the photos were horrible.  It would be great to find a good quality compact video camera that's fairly idiot-proof.  The video below makes it look like I'm standing far way, but I'm actually about 15 feet from the band.)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

MMJ / Roots

Great performance last night on Jimmy Fallon, My Morning Jacket played "Wordless Chorus" (off their disc "Z") with the Roots.  Jim James did his best James Brown impression.  MMJ plays Terminal 5 this week, playing a different album each night.  Great band.  This video will prob be pulled shortly...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Solomon Burke R.I.P.

One of the last of the greats passed away this weekend, Solomon Burke.  There's just too much great music he produced over the course of his try and encapsulate it in a few paragraphs could never do it justice.  I was fortunate to have seen him perform live in September 1992 at Tramps in NYC.  He was still performing standing up, he wasn't on the throne full-time yet.  It was an amazing show, very close in spirit to the 1989 live disc "Soul Alive".  I remember him pulling Chaka Khan out of the audience to sing a song.  Burke was never on a par (hit-wise) with Sam Cooke, Otis Redding or some of the other early soul singers, but he was still a fantastic singer, rooted in gospel and r&b.  He had a career resurgence in 2002 and released a string of excellent albums this decade that ended this year with "Nothing's Impossible", which was the last record produced by Willie Mitchell (he died last year).   Another great talent gone....very few of the great soul singers left.

Early this morning, Sunday, October 10, 2010, the legendary King of Rock & Soul, Solomon Burke, our father, passed away due to natural causes.
Solomon had just arrived at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands for a sold out show at Paradiso with Dutch band, De Dijk.  He was on his way to spread his message of love as he loved to do. 
This is a time of great sorrow for our entire family.  We truly appreciate all of the support and well wishes from his friends and fans.  Although our hearts and lives will never be the same, his love, life and music will continue to live within us forever.  As our family grieves during this time of mourning, thank you for respecting our privacy.
Family of Solomon Burke