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.

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