Give It All Up
November 25, 2004
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4||Backing : 4/5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4|
One of Jamaica's most beloved vocalists with a strong appeal on women and men alike, Gregory Isaacs aka Cool Ruler (chosen for him by critics and fans after the title of his successful album for Virgin's "Front Line" label), has ruled the reggae market with distinction for three decades and more. Like so many Jamaican artists before him, he began by doing the rounds of Kingston's producers and entering various talent competitions, before recording with Rupie Edwards' Success Records in the early 1970s. He set up his own African Museum shop and label in 1973 with Errol Dunkley, in order to gain artistic and financial control of his own work. He continued to record for many other producers during the rest of the decade to finance his own label, notably Winston "Niney" Holness, Gussie Clarke, Lloyd F. Campbell, Glen Brown, Alvin "GG" Ranglin and Phil Pratt. Between 1973 and 1976 alone, the singer released more material than most artists do in a lifetime, virtually all of it timeless classics. In the second half of the 1970s the two polar sides of Isaacs were apparent: the roots singer, whose emotive sufferer's songs and cultural numbers were filled with fire, and the crooning lover, whose passionate declarations of devotion quivered with emotion. By 1980 Isaacs was the number one star in the reggae world, touring the world extensively, and his live appearances resulted in frenzied crowd scenes, with audiences eating out of the palm of his hand. Throughout the 1980s he maintained has star status and delivered many sublime singles and albums including the superb "Let's Go Dancing", "Warning" and "Red Rose For Gregory". However, much of Isaacs' releases throughout the '90s were hit-and-miss affairs and his instantly recognizable voice wasn't on par anymore with the one that brought him into the forefront of reggae music in the early 1980s. In the new millennium the singer returned to form with album releases such as "Father And Son", which true to the title features Isaacs and his son Kevin, "I Found Love" and "Open The Door".