Album review
Give It All Up
Gregory Isaacs
HeartBeat Europe
November 25, 2004

Tracking list

  1. Give It All Up
  2. Alone
  3. Extraordinary Lover
  4. What Can't Offer
  5. Won't Give You Up
  6. Opel Ride
  7. I'm A Lover
  8. Met Her By Chance
  9. Do Nutt Like Me
  10. Roof
  11. Had Aquasted
  12. Don't Take Your Love
Rating : 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".
If you like the slick production that's the trademark of Bunny Gemini, chances are you'll appreciate this damn good selection of songs, released by HeartBeat Europe. Most of the tunes were recorded in the late eighties and early nineties, some of the tracks have been released earlier on an album entitled "No Intention". Producer Bunny Gemini has picked out some fine all-time reggae riddims such as "Shank I Shek" (Roof), "Queen Majesty" (Opel Ride) and Real Rock (What Can't Offer aka Lady of your Calibre) for Gregory to voice over and the result is more than satisfying. The whole album sees Gregory in fine shape and there are nuff favorite tunes here like Give It All Up, Alone and Don't Take Your Love.
Musicians on board include Sly & Robbie, the Fire House Crew, Dean Fraser and David Madden.

Teacher & Mr. T.