When someone dies, it's easy to sensationalize the tragic aspects of their life -- the flaws and foibles we all fall prey to in one way or the other. It's no different for legendary reggae singer Gregory Isaacs. You can dig into the stories about how drugs made his life hell; it's a good cautionary tale at the very least, but for me, all I need to know about Gregory Isaacs is that when he sings it lifts my spirits and makes me feel something. His tender vocals speak to the pain that comes easily to a romantic soul, and if his own soul was damaged, it wouldn't really be a surprise. When he sang he had that same wounded, raw-nerve quality of someone like Brian Wilson or David Ruffin, and though he may have tried to hide it behind his Cool Ruler persona, his heart was right there on his sleeve at all times. You can't go wrong with anything in his catalog, but the best place to start is his incredible run of albums in the mid '80s that included Night Nurse
and More Gregory
. "Slave Master""Tune In""Cool Down the Pace""Sad Mood Tonight"
The classic "Night Nurse"
performed live in 1983