Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Love Was Overdue for Gregory

Early Monday Morning a voice was stilled in London - it was an angelic voice that will forever grace our memories.  This morning we lost Gregory Anthony Isaacs to Lung Cancer. This is the Video announcing the death of Gregory Isaacs on TV Jamaica

Many of you only know the later Gregory Isaacs. Personally, We remember Gregory from the 70's rocking the soundsystems in town and country.
He was very popular in New York, Miami, Chicago, Detroit, Dallas and even Los Angeles; with the expat Reggae loving community. When the word came out that he was coming; we jammed into any small hole in the wall to get to hear the smooth strains of Gregory singing anytime he blew through.

Remember this gem - it was his most requested tune - Night Nurse

I was at this Sunsplash and got to see him with the Roots Radics. this is real music and this is a real singer. today this voice has left us but we shall not forget him.

Jah Gregory as we affectionately refer to him,  Has became the symbol for Reggae Royalty. His cool moves, smooth sounds and stellar shows set a whole new standard for those who would follow him. Seeing him live was an unforgettable experience.

He would glide onto the stage with his ever present Bossalini cocked to the side jammed down  tight ontop of  a mound of Dreadlocks spilling out here and there.  His suited up and shinny shoe style made many of the raggamuffin stylists of the day wish that they could garner the love from audiences that Gregory's sheer appearance brought.  Gregory was a Trendsetter Always -

You may remember this tune - Slave Master, which is a twist from his usual tunes.
even the track sounds rather bossa nova-ish. Mr Cool however never lets you forget that this is a revolutionary tune - smooth but deadly.

I actually saw him wear this outfit at a show in New York, and it was crisp. this is a scene cut from the movie Rockers - and that's Count Ossie introducing him. btw that is the first version of the Roots Radics playing so you get a real view of genuine Foundation Music here.

In the mid to late 1980's, Gregory was caught up in the Jamaican Posse' dragnets that spun out in most urban communities in the US.  It had alot to do with his connection to his Waterhouse roots. You see Gregory was big in many ways.  Rumors circulated that he was a major player in the new cocaine market setting Jamaica's back alleys on fire. His arrests were legendary, including the one in Dallas when he was literally allowed to finish his show to prevent a full out riot in the packed club where he was apprehended by DEA Agents.  We were there that night and saw the entire performance and then saw him led away from the stage, into a waiting car; and whisked off to ins jail.

This is at the Fox Theater in Oakland California - before a packed house and sold out show in March 2010. Gregory is Cooking

Oh Yeahhhh he is all that and a bag of plantain chips baby.

This is at the Raggamuffin Festival in Long Beach California in February 2010. Rocking The House with Pure Classics and Hits. notice the crowd is young and they know all the lyrics. he is what you call Reggae Standard. the New York Times today called him the Frank Sinatra of Reggae and we highly agree. Gregory always controlled the room, always; even with his shirt mis buttoned in a raggamuffin style. it was a part of his charm and roughneck alure. this is who fifty cents wishes he could be. uh huh..

The Cool Ruler always had a way with the ladies.  He was married  during the waning years of his life; Finally tieing up with his sweetheart in London,  Linda.  It was widely known that he had a string of relationships with women from sea to sea. lots of them were well known beauty queens, reggae songstresses and even rich girls in european capitals where Gregory charmed their pants off, literally. In the end it was Linda who he was to spend his last days with before his death in London earlier today.

This was in the summer of 2010 - Gregory is cookin with steam; givin his all to his fans. who would know he was so ill.

He never had trouble getting shows until his teeth started to fall out, from his cocaine abuse. It was too much to ignore and that was the changing point in his career. He could no longer deny that he was into some really bad shit. He suffered bad health, bad finances and even bad record sales due to his addiction. Like his friend Dennis Brown it would eventually cost him his health.

Thankfully His later days were spent recording and managing African Museums' treasure trove of recorded gems. Jah Gregory leaves us with one of the richest legacies as a lovers rocker. He is the first to have recorded what we now know as Lovers Rock. His pioneering production and promotions were the key to his success, even in his declining years as an artist.

This is his final  music film interview clip for the video from tune Kingston 14 - by Dub Syndicate
Remarkably this is a scene for a funeral march. how appropriate..

Those who were lucky enough to become a part of the African Museum family are truly destined to always be sought after. Gregory used only the finest musicians, studios and arrangements. if it wasn't hitting him, he was known to stop the session to vibes up. what that meant was he had to be into the song, to feel the song to sing the song. that's why we loved him so much.

This is from his final film - he's performing one of his biggest hits - Border. This was in January 2010 right after he was diagnosed with Cancer.

Jah Gregory Was The Song and Now that Song is Eternal - He Has Gone Home

This is a special dedication to my boss the Bassa; who was friends with Jah Gregory for many decades.

Yes Bassa Wi a Tune In Pon Him..

Reggae legend Gregory Isaacs’ death has caused a huge amount of sadness among fans of Isaacs’ music, but how much do you know about Gregory Isaacs’ life?
News that celebrity dad Gregory Isaacs is dead hit the internet today, with word that the Reggae great passed away at age 59 following a long illness. He was diagnosed with lung cancer last year.

Today Babbke Gave us 5 things about Gregory Isaacs:

1. Jamaican singer Gregory Isaacs is best known for his 1982 album, “Night Nurse.” The title track is his most well known song.
2. Isaacs was musically prolific – he released over 500 albums in his lifetime! His final album, “Brand New Me,” was released in 2008.
3. Isaacs appeared in the film “Rockers,” performing “Slavemaster.”
4. Isaacs was arrested at least 27 times and was an admitted cocaine addict.
5. Nicknamed Cool Ruler, Gregory Isaacs got his start in talent competitions in Jamaica.
Gregory Isaacs’ wife, Linda, released the following statement: “Gregory was well-loved by everyone, his fans and his family, and he worked really hard to make sure he delivered the music they loved and enjoyed. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.”
This is a bit more about his life from Wikipaedia - we will be adding Gregory Isaacs to our Rockers Hall of Fame Pages in the near future.
Gregory Isaacs
Birth name Gregory Anthony Isaacs
Born July 15, 1951(1951-07-15)
Origin Kingston, Jamaica
Died October 25, 2010 (aged 59)
Genres Reggae
Occupations Singer - Songwriter
Years active 1968-2010
Gregory Isaacs (July 15, 1951 - October 25, 2010)[1] was a Jamaican reggae musician. Milo Miles, writing in the New York Times, described Isaacs as "the most exquisite vocalist in reggae"
In his teens, Isaacs became a veteran of the talent contests that regularly took place in GHANA / JAMAICA . In 1968, he made his recording debut with a duet with Winston Sinclair, "Another Heartache", recorded for producer Byron Lee.[1] The single sold poorly and Isaacs went on to team up with two other vocalists (Penroe and Bramwell) in the short-lived trio The Concords, recording for Rupie Edwards and Prince Buster.[1] The trio split up in 1970 and Isaacs launched his solo career, initially self-producing recordings and also recording further for Edwards.[1] In 1973 he teamed up with another young singer, Errol Dunkley to start the African Museum record label and shop, and soon had a massive hit with "My Only Lover", credited as the first lovers rock record ever made.[1]

He recorded for other producers to finance further African Museum recordings, having a string of hits in the three years that followed, ranging from ballads to roots reggae, including "All I Have Is Love", "Lonely Soldier", "Black a Kill Black", "Extra Classic", and his cover version of Dobby Dobson's "Loving Pauper".[1] In 1974 he began working with producer Alvin Ranglin, and that year he had his first Jamaican number one single with "Love Is Overdue".[1] Isaacs recorded for many of Jamaica's top producers during the 1970s, including Winston "Niney" Holness, Gussie Clarke ("My Time"), Lloyd Campbell ("Slavemaster"), Glen Brown ("One One Cocoa Fill Basket"), Harry Mudie, Roy Cousins, Sidney Crooks, and Lee "Scratch" Perry ("Mr. Cop").[3]

By the late 1970s, Isaacs was one of the biggest reggae performers in the world, regularly touring the US and the UK, and only challenged by Dennis Brown and Bob Marley.[3][4] Between 1977 and 1978, Isaacs again teamed up with Alvin Ranglin, recording a string of hits including "Border" and "Number One" for Ranglin's GG's label.
International stardom seemed assured in 1978 when Isaacs signed to the Virgin Records offshoot Front Line Records, and appeared in the film Rockers, in which he performed "Slavemaster".[3] The Cool Ruler and Soon Forward albums, however, failed to sell as well as expected,[3] although they are now considered among his best work.[5]

In 1981, he made his first appearance at the Reggae Sunsplash festival (returning annually until 1991), and he moved on to the Charisma Records offshoot Pre, who released his The Lonely Lover and More Gregory albums along with a string of increasingly successful singles including "Tune In", "Permanent Lover", "Wailing Rudy", and "Tribute to Waddy".[6] He signed to Island Records and released the record that finally saw him break through to a wider audience, "Night Nurse", the title track from his first album for the label (Night Nurse (1982)).[6]

Although "Night Nurse" was not a chart hit in either the UK or US, it was hugely popular in clubs and received heavy radio play, and the album reached #32 in the UK.[7] This success for Isaacs coincided with drug problems which saw him serve a six-month prison sentence in Kingston in 1982 for possession of unlicensed firearms.[6][8] Isaacs claimed that he had the weapons only for protection, but it emerged that this was his 27th arrest and that Isaacs had become involved in drug dealing and had become addicted to crack cocaine.[8] He celebrated his release from prison with his second album for Island, Out Deh! (1983).[6]

When his contract with Island ended, Isaacs returned in 1984 with the "Kool Ruler Come Again" single, and began a period of prolific recording, working with producers including Prince Jammy, Red Man, Bobby Digital, Tad Dawkins, and Steely & Clevie, maintaining a consistent standard despite the volume of work produced.[4][6] Isaacs then built a strong relationship with Gussie Clarke of the Music Works label.

They began with Isaacs' 1985 album Private Beach Party, and had a massive hit with "Rumours" in 1988, which was followed by further popular singles including "Mind Yu Dis", "Rough Neck", "Too Good To Be True", and "Report to Me".[6] The association with Clarke continued into the early 1990s, teaming up with singers including Freddie McGregor, Ninjaman, and JC Lodge.[6] He duetted with Beres Hammond on the 1993 Philip "Fatis" Burrell-produced "One Good Turn", Burrell also producing Isaacs' 1994 album Midnight Confidential.[6]

In the 1990s the African Museum label continued to release all of Isaacs' music, and that of artists he produced. In 1997 Simply Red covered "Night Nurse" and had a hit with it. Isaacs continues to record and perform live in the 2000s. In 2005 Lady Saw produced another version of "Night Nurse" with her toasting over the original lyrics.

Isaacs' drug addiction had a major impact on his voice, with most of his teeth falling out as a result.[8] Isaccs said of his addiction in 2007: "Drugs are a debasing weapon. It was the greatest college ever, but the most expensive school fee ever paid – the Cocaine High School. I learnt everything, and now I've put it on the side."[8]

He also performed at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 Inauguration at Jamaica.
In 2007 he collaborated with the Spanish rap group Flowklorikos album Donde Duele Inspira.

In 2008, after some 40 years as a recording artist, Isaacs released a new studio album Brand New Me. The album received positive reviews from critics, such as this review from Reggae Vibes: "Gregory is back, and how! 'Brand New Me' is a very suitable album title for the cool ruler's new album. He is back in a different style, more or less like we were used to from this great 'lovers & roots' artist"[9]

His nicknames include "Cool Ruler"[10] and "Lonely Lover".
He died on October 25, 2010 in London. He died as a result of lung cancer

We're All In a Sad Mood Tonite

Jah Guide and Bless Your Singer Gregory

WE Can Never Forget the Cool Ruler, Bless Up Jah Gregory Isaacs Evermore with His Majesty Rastafari,


ManOverBoard.com said...

For some reason when you hit the comment button it won't open up, I had to open it on a separate page. Anyway, what a lovely tribute and so detailed. I was wonderfully entertained by Gregory from all the videos and must say I am glad I stopped by to learn more on his awesome talent.

RE Ausetkmt said...

@MOB - Thanks for taking the time to open and leave a comment. it's just another something about blogspot that we'll never understand.

Yes Gregory was the man. Mr Cool Ruler himself.

Talent like that only comes along once in a lifetime. I'm glad I've witnessed alot of it within my lifetime.