17 Nov 2010

Mumia Abu-Jamal on Gregory Isaacs

Gregory Isaacs ~ LOVE Reggae
[col. writ. 11/9/10] (c) '10 Abu-Jamal

His name was Gregory Isaacs, and for a time, his sweet, sultry tenor rang like a birdsong on a spring morn -- or rather, a steamy, summer night.

For reggae lovers, the rebellious songs and stylings of Rastaman Bob Marley seemed to exemplify the best of the breed.

But along came Isaacs, who sang of love, not rebellion. And despite our best wishes, his songs stuck like honey in the ear, in the mind, and in the heart.

He became emblematic of what came to be called 'lovers reggae' -- best exampled by his 1980's classic, "Night Nurse"

'Oh no, I don't need no doc; not when I got da nurse around da clock.......' With style, a slow molten swagger, and lover's confidence, Gregory Isaacs opened minds around the worlds with his songs.

He expanded reggaes's possibilities, and made it the music, not just of the downtrodden, the down pressed, but of those who had room in their hearts for Love's sweetness, and its triumphs.

Born in Kingston, Isaacs lived a rough life as a youth, and an even rougher one as a man.

Drug addiction, repeated arrests, and stays in joints on two continents; and the inevitable ups and downs of Life in Babylon took it's toll.

But it did not wipe away the memory of an extraordinary singer.

Gregory Isaacs passed away recently at 59.

His name, his voice, and his magnificent songs will long be remembered.

--(c) '10 maj

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