Gregory Isaacs

Live at Maritime Hall

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It wouldn't do for Gregory Isaacs to try to reinvent himself -- his Lonely Lover persona is too fully realized and holds too revered a place in the reggae pantheon. But the problem is that it's just about worn out, as is his voice, which was never that strong to begin with. So this live album is an unfortunate document of a singer well past his prime trying to keep listeners interested by increasing the tempo. The Calabash Band is up to the challenge, but their speed and volume tend to cover Gregory's thin voice. That's not a completely bad thing, since he's only singing approximately on pitch these days, but it's a little frustrating. Not as frustrating as the medley format in which most of these songs are presented, though -- a format which ends up giving the listener about one minute each of such favorites as "Tune In," "Number One" and "Soon Forward." Gregory actually outdoes himself on a fine version of "Rumours," but unfortunately it's only one part of a three-song medley. Overall, the tempos are too fast and Gregory's singing is simply not good enough to make this a recommendable purchase.

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