Gregory Isaacs

Father and Son

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The first studio album to be released on the Maritime Hall label (which has usually only released live albums recorded in concert at the label's namesake venue in San Francisco) is an interesting duo effort by legendary reggae singer Gregory Isaacs and his teenaged son Kevin. Kevin is an impressive talent; on about half of the tracks on this program, he and his father take turns singing their own lyrics and melodies on the same rhythm, and frequently, it's the younger Isaacs that ends up creating the more enjoyable song. It's also worth noting that while Kevin's singing style is heavily indebted to the smooth, cool delivery that is his father's signature, his voice is more immediately attractive, with none of the whining, reedy tone that Gregory has somehow managed, over the years, to turn to his benefit. The most impressive tracks on this album are two of Gregory's signature tunes -- the Rasta anthem "Border" and the regretful "Once Ago" -- which Kevin bravely performs on his own and pulls off very nicely. There's also one duet number, the rather undistinguished "Forgive Her." This album would be a delight from start to finish if it weren't for the sloppy production values -- despite fine rhythms provided by a backing band that includes Danny Marshall and Ernest Wilson, the vocals and drums are frequently saturated, giving them a harsh edge and making the overall sound unattractive.

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