Gregory Isaacs

Cool Ruler Style

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In the mid-'70s to early-'80s, the honey-voiced Gregory Isaacs released a multitude of records for nearly every label in Jamaica and beyond. This collection rounds up 20 tracks from this prolific era in which Isaacs worked with some of the top producers of the day -- like Lee "Scratch" Perry, Niney the Observer, and Alvin Ranglin -- and cranked out record after record on a variety of record labels, including his own African Museum. Highlights abound on Cool Ruler Style; the lovely opener "Give a Hand," the searching "Help Us Get Over," the gritty "Mr. Cop," and "Lonely Lover" are all wonderful and every song on the album is up to that high level of quality. Isaacs' voice is distinctive and unfailingly romantic throughout. There are other compilations that focus on this time in Isaacs' long career, but this is the one with the widest range (others have skimpy track lists or focus on his releases for one or two labels only). Isaacs was at the top of his game at this time and Cool Ruler Style does a fine job collecting the best of his lovely lovers rock. Isaacs fans need to snap this up right away. Fans of pre-roots reggae, lovers rock, and good music with a lot of soul should get in line right behind them. ~ Tim Sendra, Rovi