Album review
Mr. Isaacs
Gregory Isaacs
Blood and Fire
02 - 04 - 2001

Tracking list

  1. Sacrifice
  2. Storm
  3. Story Book Children
  4. Handcuff
  5. Slavemaster
  6. Take A Dip Featuring Dillinger
  7. Get Ready
  8. Set The Captives Free
  9. The Winner
  10. Smile
  11. Conversation
  12. Mr Brown Extended
  13. Mr Know It All
  14. War Of The Stars
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 5

Blood and Fire's latest release is the album 'Mr Isaacs' which was recorded in 1977 at Channel 1 studios and produced by Ossie Hibbert. The whole set - mostly roots material - features Gregory Isaacs at the height of his considerable powers and illustrates perfectly why - along with Big Youth, Dennis Brown and Johnnie Clarke - Isaacs ruled the Jamaican dancehall of the 1970s. He started out in the late sixties with the single 'Another Heartache'. In 1973 he achieved initial commercial success with the Phil Pratt produced tune 'All I Have Is Love', followed by the superb 'Lonely Soldier' for Clive Chin. In 1974 Trojan released the album 'In Person', a fine album produced by Alvin Ranglin. In 1975 they put out the 'All I have Is Love' set. A string of -mostly roots and culture- tunes followed and Gregory became a household name in the business. Early 1977 Ossie Hibbert voiced Gregory at Joe Gibbs studio, the riddims having been previously recorded at Channel One. The set of songs saw Jamaican release as the 'Mr. Isaacs' album in 1977 on the Earthquake imprint. This fourth Gregory Isaacs album turned out to be a landmark in the career of Gregory Isaacs.
This Blood and Fire release expands on the original release with the addition of Dillinger’s deejay cut of Slave Master entitled Take A Dip, plus an extended version of Mr Brown and Conversation, the full 12” mix of Mr Know It All plus its b-side War Of The Stars. Although most tunes take roots and culture as their themes, you will find some nice lovers tracks such as Storybook Children, a remake of the William Bell and Judy Clay soul classic. Mr. Brown, is one of his most popular sides ever and Conversation reworks the original Slim Smith cut. Every track on the album is a killer tune. Storm is the first cut of an original riddim that has gone on to be versioned frequently over the years. Handcuff is one of most brilliant cuts here with beautful backing vocals by The Heptones. Producer Niney contributes Slavemaster, probably one of Gregory's best songs ever. The Silvertones' Studio One Smile is reworked by Gregory, who transforms it into a rebel song.
Although this set was avaible before on compact disc (Shanachie), this release adds a lot more than just some bonus tracks. The liner notes are extensive and the addition of some pictures makes this release well worth checking out. The music found here is more than classic, it's vital and ital....Gregory at his best !

Teacher & Mr. T.