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October 25, 2010 6:49 AM   Subscribe

Reggae legend Gregory Isaacs has died after a battle with cancer.

Isaacs has been a constant presence on the reggae music scene almost since it had been introduced to the West. The singer has released a number of hits including Night Nurse, Tune In, My Number One, Love Is Overdue, Rumours and Border.

R.I.P. Cool Ruler.
posted by analogue (42 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
ah shit.
posted by pwally at 6:53 AM on October 25, 2010


I also came in to say oh shit.
posted by OmieWise at 6:54 AM on October 25, 2010


Thirded :(
posted by jtron at 7:01 AM on October 25, 2010


Sad Mood Tonight
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:05 AM on October 25, 2010




That's sad.
posted by Forktine at 7:22 AM on October 25, 2010


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posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:32 AM on October 25, 2010


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posted by lapolla at 7:32 AM on October 25, 2010


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posted by HandfulOfDust at 7:47 AM on October 25, 2010


Damn, but that man could sing.

This quote from his wikipedia entry is a quote from one wise motherfucker:

'"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."'
posted by item at 7:50 AM on October 25, 2010


well shit.
posted by elizardbits at 7:52 AM on October 25, 2010


also, fuck cancer.
posted by elizardbits at 7:53 AM on October 25, 2010


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posted by horsemuth at 7:54 AM on October 25, 2010


Damn. Saw him at a Sunsplash back in the 80's. He was a great, for sure.

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posted by Devils Rancher at 8:13 AM on October 25, 2010


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Truly the Cool Ruler.
posted by Aquaman at 8:30 AM on October 25, 2010


Gregory Isaacs was a giant.

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posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:31 AM on October 25, 2010


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posted by lunachic at 8:35 AM on October 25, 2010


I was going to make some kind of 'Night Nurse' joke, but, yeah, too soon.

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posted by box at 8:51 AM on October 25, 2010


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posted by DreamerFi at 9:16 AM on October 25, 2010


This best-of collection from his early years is probably the most-played reggae cd I own.
posted by mediareport at 9:20 AM on October 25, 2010


My favorite reggae voice.

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posted by kozad at 9:22 AM on October 25, 2010


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posted by cell divide at 9:49 AM on October 25, 2010


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posted by anansi at 10:11 AM on October 25, 2010


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posted by bonefish at 10:27 AM on October 25, 2010


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posted by peterkins at 10:50 AM on October 25, 2010


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posted by pahool at 10:52 AM on October 25, 2010


For the longest time, I thought I didn't like reggae music. As it turns out, I just wasn't too fond of that one over-played Bob Marley best-of compilation that's issued to every college dormitory on the planet. Gregory Isaac's music was instrumental in making me see my short-sightedness. He will be missed.
posted by .kobayashi. at 11:04 AM on October 25, 2010


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posted by initapplette at 11:25 AM on October 25, 2010


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posted by interrupt at 11:30 AM on October 25, 2010


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posted by ramix at 11:48 AM on October 25, 2010


/.\

(that's a period surrounded by dreads)
posted by hellbient at 11:59 AM on October 25, 2010


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posted by El Brendano at 12:21 PM on October 25, 2010


Another one of the 4 Tops of Reggae gone.

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posted by dr_dank at 12:32 PM on October 25, 2010


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posted by strawdog at 12:45 PM on October 25, 2010


Oh damn. What a great musician.

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posted by fourcheesemac at 1:13 PM on October 25, 2010


nthing the fucking of cancer.

sexiest voice ever

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posted by victors at 2:16 PM on October 25, 2010


Reggae has always been at least as much about the producer as the performer, and so true reggae fans will talk about producer Lee Perry's work at the Black Ark in the mid-70s, or Duke Reid's rocksteady productions or the Channel One studio sound, often even more than talking about the artists who sang and played on those records. (Rock music has seen only a little of this by comparison, as with Phil Spector or Joe Meek.)

But every now and then, there will be a seemingly perfect meeting of a producer with just the right touch at the right time, and an artist whose songs and persona melds perfectly with the producer's ephemeral magic.

For my money, the most perfect pairing like this in reggae was the work produced by Alvin GG Ranglin for Gregory Isaacs. GG's production was smooth and pure, but somehow rootsy and organic. Metronomic, yet heartfelt and emotional. Isaacs' songs were poetic and romantic pure, but still hinted at humour and a sly sexual suggestion. On paper, they must seem rather plain, but his delivery showed a complex range of emotion and underlying cause. I imagine that back in the day, they must have formed the soundtrack for many a romantic interlude.

Amazingly, the quality of Isaacs' music didn't diminish for years, when rampant drug abuse took its toll on his once silky voice. In sheer numbers, Isaacs must have recorded more really fine tunes than just about any singer in any genre (such was his prolific output for at least two decades, and the consistent quality of most of it.)

His relative obscurity is hard to understand, given the many reggae singers who mined a similar vein not nearly as well, and for a much briefer period of time.

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posted by Dee Xtrovert at 3:16 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by asok at 3:48 PM on October 25, 2010


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posted by vibrotronica at 4:00 PM on October 25, 2010



My boyfriend's name was Gregory. He introduced me to Reggae (and Issacs) and I just fell in love with it. He'd make me compilation tapes and it had "Night nurse" on it.

After my boyfriend passed away in the a motorcycle accident, "Night nurse" with it's lyrics "There's a patient by the name of Gregory", made me a bit emotional when I'd hear it, especially when I'd see Issacs in concert. Now this song will be even a little more poignant for me.

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posted by beccaj at 5:40 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by zaelic at 12:08 AM on October 26, 2010


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posted by Wolof at 6:03 AM on October 26, 2010


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