|12-01-2012, 12:58 PM||#32 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Berkeley, Ca
Barrinton Levy "Vibes is Right"
Johnny Osbourne "Nightfall"
Midnite "Late Night Ghetto"
Frankie Paul "Kissing In the Dark"
Twinkle Brothers "I Love You So"
Can't have just 1. Those 5 are just a few. REALDEAL. checkfidem
|04-28-2013, 12:57 AM||#35 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Sunnydale Cemetary
|04-28-2013, 04:41 PM||#36 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: In a champagne supernova in the sky
|05-11-2013, 08:34 PM||#38 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2009
I think Marley is on everyone's shortlist but I like Gregory Isaacs even more than Marley.
Gregory is marginalized mostly by those who dismiss him as a lightweight crooner of lover's rock. Those who are really acquainted with Gregory's prolific body of work know that 75% of his songs are sufferer's tales, politically conscious anthems and hymns in praise of Rastafarian living. Gregory's appeal to females was like a force of nature but those who criticize Gregory's lover's rock forget that some of Marley's most loved songs are lover's rock selections like Three Little Birds, Is This Love, Waiting In Vain, and Could You Be Loved.
Gregory was the consummate singer who understood vocal dynamics, phrasing & timing. In that sense, Gregory had the same sort of vocal chops as the great song stylists like Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday & other jazz vocalists. He usually was backed by Jamaica's premier reggae band, the Roots Radics.
The number of songs he wrote and recorded in the decade between 1974 and 1984 is staggering. Between 1981 and 1984, Gregory's label, African Museum, released over 500 singles by Gregory. Most people outside of Jamaica have only heard a small portion of Gregory Isaacs complete recorded body of works.
Even so, his album releases in the USA number in the hundreds. Gregory licensed a lot of those Jamaican singles out to small boutique labels who paid him a flat fee of anywhere between $1000 & $5000 for the rights to bundle of a dozen or so of his Jamaican songs. June Isaacs, Gregory's widow, told me in 2001 that there were over 500 different licensed albums by Gregory in release worldwide. All Music gave up trying to keep track of Gregory Isaac's official releases at about 100 albums. By comparison, Bob Marley's catalog of official releases is 17 albums. However, if you're interested in hearing Gregory in his prime, don't buy any of his albums issued after 1988.
Gregory should have gotten himself a good manager, instead selling off the rights to his songs, every time he needed fast cash. Long after the supply of Bob Marley's catalog of out-takes and rarities has run out, I'm still coming across first rate songs by Gregory that I've never heard before.
Gregory was his own worst enemy. During the height of the golden age of reggae, Gregory had a bad habit of getting himself locked up in the penitentiary on drug & gun charges. Worst of all his arrests got him placed on the "undesirable" lists of most immigration services which keep him from touring the USA, the UK and the European continent for most of the Eighties. His crack cocaine addiction had a negative impact on his voice & eventually he lost all of his teeth which is the bane of any singer. By 1990 Gregory was finished as a singer. He finally moved to London where he soldiered on doing lackluster appearances at reggae shows and recording some awful albums. He died in 2010. He deserved better.
One of my favorite songs by Gregory Isaacs was Storm because I was living in Jamaica in 1981 when it was released. Gregory's songs were like a musical newspaper to the poor people living in Trenchtown. Many of Gregory's singles commented on the news events of the day and or informed the public of the latest events in his colorful personal life.
Never a dull moment for Gregory. He wrote songs about going on a fast to protest conditions in the General Penitentiary (Dieting), being on the lam from Jamaican authorities (The Border), the need for penal reform in the Jamaican prison system (GP), getting busted for possession of herbs (Mr. Cop), and the oppressive climate of crime in Trenchtown (Black A Kill Black)
In August of 1981, Hurricane Dennis was approaching Jamaica and Kingston residents were panicking for their lives. Gregory went into the studio two days before the hurricane was predicted to make a devastating landfall in Jamaica and recorded Storm. It was a plea to his fellow Jamaicans to hang on and hold steady through the storm. The day before Hurricane Dennis hit Kingston, the single release of Storm was being sold by every record store and street vendor in Kingston. You could walk around and hear the song playing in every government yard and tenement hall in Trenchtown. It was truly amazing. Below is a YouTube embed of Storm:
There are two types of music: the first type is the blues and the second type is all the other stuff.
Townes Van Zandt