Gregory Isaacs

Dapper Slapper

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The prolific Gregory Isaacs had been blotting his copy book for years now, strewing the shops with albums like confetti, many just as disposable. Occasionally, however, a particularly wily producer would coax a fine set of performances from the lackadaisical singer, as Errol Flabba Holt did here on Dapper Slapper. The Roots Radics' bass player has developed into a consummate producer, overseeing albums (his work with Dennis Brown is equally notable) that have a wonderfully breezy quality, all underpinned by his own swinging basslines. On Dapper he adds fluid beats and percussion well, a one-man rhythm section. Equally intrinsic to Holt's productions is his glorious melodious sound, courtesy of effervescent keyboards parts, provided by a trio of Jamaica's top ivory players. Snappy guitar work adds to Dapper's real reggae feel, with brass emphasizing the brightness and sway of the backings. So tantalizing are the riddims that even Isaacs can't help but respond, and across a dozen tracks the singer romances, caresses, and teases, indeed most dapper of lovers. The cool aloofness that defined his glory days is now transformed into a delightful delicateness of delivery that is just as enticing. Although not quite as effective on the pair of cultural numbers -- "Food Clothes & Shelter" and "Struggling" -- it works a charm on the emotive "For Your Love," one of a number of album standouts. Equally worthy of note are "Joy Is the One for Me," the heartfelt "What's My Baby Doing," the rueful "Faithfully," and the get-on-the-floor "Inna the Dance." A wonderful return to form for one of Jamaica's most beloved singers.

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