Reggae great Gregory Isaacs succumbed to lung cancer last year, but he left behind a huge body of work, much of which was performed in a romantic style that earned Isaacs the nicknames Cool Ruler and Lonely Lover. This two-CD tribute put together by longtime friend Dean Fraser came about in a bit of an unusual way; Fraser is a sax player and not a singer so when he got the idea for the homage he cut instrumental versions of 16 Isaacs favorites including some of his more famous numbers like “Border,” “My Number One,” “Night Nurse” and “All I Have is Love.”
What he ended up with was a great roots reggae album, included in its entirety here, with saxophone mimicking what would have been the vocal parts. But Isaacs’ aching vocals were such a big part of what made his music click that Fraser decided to invite a bevy of today’s hottest young reggae stars to cut vocal versions of the songs, enlisting Hezron for “Top Ten,” Jah Cure on “Mr. Brown,” J Boog for “Cool Down the Place” and giving rising superstar Gyptian the honor of covering Isaacs’ biggest hit, “My Number One.”
There’s no angry reggae here; this is the upbeat, bouncy stuff familiar to fans of Dennis Brown and the mellow side of Bob Marley, and collectively these two sets are a great opportunity to get familiar with a handful of upcoming artists as well as the individual styles of Isaacs and Fraser.
Music: CD Reviews
We Remember Gregory Isaacs
Artist: Various Artists
By Kevin Wierzbicki
We Remember Gregory Isaacs is currently available.
Article posted on 8/17/2011
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