Since Gregory Isaacs’ untimely death last year several tribute albums and tunes have appeared. The earliest was The Tamlins & Naggo Morris & Dillinger & Trinity’s Oh What A Story on a relick of one of Gregory Isaacs’ biggest tunes – Soon Forward.
Other notable releases include saxophonist Dean Fraser’s all-star project We Remember Gregory Isaacs, Suga Roy & Conrad Crystal’s Universal Tribute to Gregory Isaacs and VP’s compilation Gregory Isaacs – The Ruler 1972-1990.
The latest addition is Tad’s Records‘ two disc compilation The African Museum + Tads’s Collection II, and follows in the footsteps of the first part released in 2007. It includes 41 tracks from Gregory Isaacs’ sublime catalogue spanning from the 70’s up until his more recent material. Part of the proceeds from the sales of the album will benefit the Gregory Isaacs Foundation.
Gregory Isaacs and Tad’s Records CEO Tad Dawkins have a musical history together, so this compilation naturally includes some of his productions, such as All I Have is Love Love Love, Tenement Yard and Continent Woman, all of which were recorded in the mid 80’s.
Other producers include Gregory Isaacs himself, Winston “Niney” Holness, Sly & Robbie and Errol “Flabba” Holt, with whom Gregory Isaacs recorded his smooth international hit song Night Nurse, included here in a delightful extended version.
It’s clear that several of the songs on this compilation overlap with those on VP’s The Ruler 1972-1990. However, the latter also includes a bonus DVD and extensive liner notes.
Gregory Isaacs’ catalogue is certainly strong enough for two compilations, and both sets are a great mix of lovers and cultural tunes, on which Gregory Isaacs’ showcases his slick, laid-back style. Always cool, always easy and always excellent.
Warrior King first came to international prominence with his chart-topping single Virtuous Woman in 2001. He was a breath of fresh air when he was part of breaking the bad man themed dancehall domination of the 90’s with his passionate and message oriented lyrics.
Another set of strong singles followed and helped to make a resurgence of roots reggae in the early 2000’s. His critically acclaimed debut album was put out in 2002 and was followed by Hold the Faith in 2005 and Love is in the Air in 2009. The latter didn’t make any great impact.
Tell Me How Me Sound is Warrior King’s fourth album, and his first together with producer and engineer Colin “Bulby” York, who has previously worked with a wide range of artists, including Madonna, Chaka Khan and Sean Paul. Other producers include Steely & Clevie and Sly & Robbie.
This 19 track set features mainly new recordings, and is in the same vein as Warrior King’s previous efforts – upful, at times trite, lyrics that deals with love and Rastafarian faith over mainly revitalized riddims recorded in a contemporary setting.
And just as Warrior King’s previous albums, this one contains too many tunes. 19 are in abundance. If he would have left out about five or six this album would have been much more consistent.
On both Girl and I’m in Love with You he’s at times off-key and Wanted is soaked with auto-tune to no great effect.
Still, there are several great songs included. Among the highlights are Oh What a Feeling on Frenchie’s Ashanti Warrior riddim, Melody (Tell Me How Me Sound) across the Midnight Hour riddim and the energetic dancehall flavored Barrington Levy duet I Can See it.
Warrior King continues to deliver his smooth, yet energetic, brand of contemporary lovers rock. He and his labels just need to choose tunes more carefully. Less is more as they say.