Gregory Isaacs – who passed away last year – is one of the greatest voices in reggae music ever. Always relaxed, laid-back and almost nonchalant in his tone. It is for a reason why he went by the name The Cool Ruler, which was also the title of one of his self-produced albums in the 70’s.
Saxophonist and producer Dean Fraser was a friend of Gregory Isaacs and he is also the producer behind the Gregory Isaacs tribute album We Remember Gregory Isaacs.
This double album has 16 contemporary reggae artists paying tribute to Gregory Isaacs’ on one disc and Dean Fraser going wild with his saxophone on the other.
Most of the artists on this compilation weren’t born when these beautiful songs were originally recorded in the 70’s and the 80’s. But that doesn’t really matter. Because this set doesn’t want to imitate the original versions. This is contemporary and polished one drop reggae.
That’s the main problem – too smooth versions of mostly Gregory Isaacs’ lovers rock efforts. We Remember Gregory Isaacs could have been a little rougher around the edges.
Busy Signal’s version of Hard Drugs is the strongest cut. It’s not up-tempo, but it has a certain energy that the whole album could have needed.
The best Gregory Isaacs tribute so far is the Irie Ites-production Oh What a Story on a relick of the Soon Forward riddim. The Tamlins, Naggo Morris, Trinity and Dillinger sings and deejays in fine style.