Gregory Isaacs

Open the Door

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There may be no reggae songwriter as jaw-droppingly prolific as Gregory Isaacs, who has written over 500 songs (and released practically that many albums) in the course of a career that has spanned more than three-and-a-half decades. He also is one of the genre's most instantly recognizable voices, a reedy, almost whiny tenor that somehow became synonymous with the lover's rock reggae subgenre. That a not-especially-handsome man equipped with a not-especially-handsome voice could become an international musical sex symbol is one of the most enduring wonders of reggae music. Open the Door is, against all the odds, one of his strongest; finding Isaacs teamed up with the formidable production team of Mafia & Fluxy, who provided him with powerful but not overpowering modern roots and dancehall rhythms, tastefully spiced up with real horns and mixed by an engineering tag team consisting of Gussie P. and Calvin "So-So" Francis. As with most Gregory Isaacs collections, this one has little in the way of notable high points -- it simply flows effortlessly in a gentle mid-tempo stream, from the bemused resignation of "Forgive Her" to the gentle romantic remonstration of "Josephine." Then the album ends with three perfectly serviceable dub versions. No, it's not exactly Night Nurse, but Open the Door is an entirely worthy addition to the Gregory Isaacs' catalog.

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