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My Number One: RIP Gregory Isaacs

October 25, 2010

Most people not from reggae’s native regions tend to find their entry into the genre through Bob Marley — his greatest hits album practically comes gift wrapped in college freshmen welcome kits.  For me, it was Gregory Isaacs.   A remix of his song “9 to 5” — about the double whammy of losing your job and your lover — was on a collection I got while interning at the college radio station, and his voice ensnared me.  I played the song over and over, put it on mixtapes, then started looking for his albums while scouring the bins of used record shops.

“Same time I lost my job, same time I lost you.”

While I learned later about Dennis Brown and Lee Scratch Perry and Horace Andy and Toots & the Maytals and Peter Tosh and Black Uhuru (and all the Marleys), it was the “Lonely Lover” Gregory who remained my first and strongest love as a reggae vocalist.  Mr. Isaacs died this morning, much too soon at the age of 59, after a long battle with cancer.  He recorded over 50 albums!  I love prolific artists.

His song Night Nurse was one of his few crossover hits, but I think my all-time favorite track is still this one.

You will always be my number one, Mr. Isaacs.  Safe passage up to the sky.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. cara permalink
    October 25, 2010 5:32 pm

    he was amazing, thank you for sharing these videos.

  2. evmaroon permalink
    October 25, 2010 8:30 pm

    What a thoughtful tribute, Snarky. I love Night Nurse, too! I didn’t realize he’d made 50 albums. He was pretty freaking incredible.

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