Cool Ruler

Gregory Isaacs

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Cool Ruler Review

by Rick Anderson

In the late '70s, Gregory Isaacs cut two albums for Virgin's Front Line imprint. Cool Ruler was the first and, although it never achieved significant commercial success, it remains one of his more impressive achievements. Backed by what is, in essence, the Revolutionaries band (drummer Sly Dunbar, bassist Robbie Shakespeare, keyboardist Ansel Collins, saxophonist Tommy McCook, etc.) and with the Heptones providing background vocals, Isaacs delivers a truly classic program of lovers rock and cultural tunes, from the sweetly adoring "Native Woman" to the coolly spiritual "Created by the Father." As always, he's making the most of a seriously limited instrument: Isaacs' voice is not attractive by any conventional standard, but his laconic, understated style makes a virtue of his thin, reedy voice, and the quality of his songs is on a par with the best reggae artists.

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