Private Lesson (Special Edition)
Gregory Isaacs
Roots Records
January 9, 2010

Gregory Isaacs - Private Lesson Track list
  1. Preacher Boy
  2. Feeling Sad Tonight
  3. Try Me
  4. Mister Know It All
  5. Matey
  6. Private Lesson
  7. Diplomatic Fool
  8. She Doesn't Want Me
  9. Ticktock
  10. Girl Of My Dreams
  11. Slave Master
  12. Blessed Are The Poor
  13. Freedom Song
  14. 9 To 5
  15. Feeling Sad Tonight (Sad Dub)
  16. Hold Tight Dub
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4/5
Like many before him, Gregory started his singing career in the early 70's by working with a number of producers and entering various local talent competitions. His first records of notice were on Rupie Edwards' Success label. To gain artistic freedom and financial control of his own work, Isaacs started his own African Museum label and shop in Kingston in 1973 with singer Errol Dunkley. In order to finance his label, he continued to work with other producers such as Winton "Niney The Observer" Holness, Gussie Clark, Lloyd Campbell, and Alvin "GG" Ranglin for the rest of the 70's. His early recordings were responsible for the development of his singing style, love ballads with his cool relaxed nasal style, as well as his ease with songs about social protest.

He easily adapted the new digital style of the mid 80s, and his popularity further increased with consistent albums for King Jammy, King Tubby and Gussie Clarke. His impressive number of releases in the nineties included, almost inevitable, plenty of below avarage quality albums but the one he recorded for Acid Jazz records in 1995 was the one that would become a highlight in Gregory Isaacs’ career and taking him away from the digital recordings of the 80s and 90s.

It's an album that linked Gregory back to his days when he ruled the Jamaican charts. Although his vocal delivery wasn't what it used to be, this set saw him in fine shape, voicing over some riddim tracks laid down by real musicians, no gimmicks, no synthesizers, pure musical craftsmanship here! It was a set of good original tunes, and some do-overs of his early hits such as Mister Know It All and the brilliant roots tune Slave Master. The set carries a perfect laid back vibe with plenty outstanding tracks such as She Doesn't Want Me, Diplomatic Fool, Feeling Sad Tonight and Ticktock, to name but a few.

The re-issue by Roots Records adds new artwork, 4 bonus cuts and extensive sleeve notes by album producer and Acid Jazz head honcho Eddie Piller. We're glad that they've picked up and reissued this long deleted Gregory Isaacs masterpiece, which deserves a place in the collection of any reggae fan. Do grab a copy if you forgot it 15 years ago!