Gregory Isaacs

Call Me Collect

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AllMusic Review by

With the likes of Sly & Robbie, Steely & Clevie and the Firehouse Crew laying down the rhythms, and the Xterminator Phillip "Fatis" Burrell producing, one would assume that Call Me Collect is one rollicking album. And one would be wrong. In fact, this set is so laid back it's almost prone, the musical backings so relaxed one could be forgiven for thinking that Burrell had distributed tranquilizers to all concerned. It's quite a trick considering the dancehall stylings that underpin the pieces. But this isn't a party set, but mostly a late night offering, awash in romantic atmospheres. Even ostensibly harder hitting numbers like "Rude Boy" and "Smokey Head" exude a delicate quality, its cultural message and warning against over-indulgence of drugs, respectively, gently prodding at listeners' consciences. But as Isaacs explains on "Brand New Me," he's at "the turning point" of his life, and is "turning a new page." And the new singer that emerges, is a much mellower one. The melancholy and broken relationships of yore have disappeared as well. Love no longer has to end in heartache, although it does for "Poor Barry," a gibe at those who lose their heads (and minds) over a girl. That Steely & Clevie backed number is one of the more upbeat and brighter of the set, "Give a Little Love," surprisingly enough, is one of the moodiest and toughest, backed by the Firehouse Crew's surging rhythm and lush, dark synths. "So Much Love," in contrast, is the gentlest, both Robbie Lyn's effervescent synths and Isaacs' fragile delivery a real delight. Equally notable is the title track, with Sly & Robbie laying down a wondrously lackadaisical rhythm, while Clive Hunt's synth luxuriates in the sweet melody.

So, even though Call Me won't be shouting down the dancehalls, it's a luminous set, with Isaacs at his most incandescent

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