Gregory Isaacs

It Go Now

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A new album from the Cool Ruler is always a treat, especially when it's one of his best. And while he largely embraces digital technology with this release, the sound -- while stripped down, as on the spare "Don't Go" -- has a very real feel to it, even on the sampling of "Someone Gonna Take Her." The man himself is in excellent voice -- a little older and possibly with not quite the range he once had, but still expressive and the perfect romantic, as on "Miss Understanding." If anything, his writing has matured and improved, and he demonstrates his ability to move easily between love songs, such as "Never Knew Love," and the grittier side of life on "False Evidence" and the stunning "Rat Patrol," both of which come from his personal experiences as a prisoner in Kingston's General Penitentiary. While so many reggae stars have come and gone, Isaacs has remained. He's done it not by changing to keep up with the times, but listening to what's going on around him and taking the bits that work with his style and incorporating them. He's a classic and this album finds him keeping his artistic presence high, not only as a singer and songwriter, but also as a producer who crafts a sound that suits himself. So even if he does seem to be overly swathed in backing vocals at times, he's still there, in control. Isaacs is still cool and he still rules.

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