Gregory Isaacs

Rasta Business

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Gregory Isaacs' resumé is one of the most impressive in all of reggae. His list of past collaborations include recordings under Gussie Clarke, Joe Gibbs, the Channel One crew, Glen Brown, and Alvin Ranglin, as well as occasional forays into self-production. Examples of the last form the potent core of Exworks' Rasta Business set. Though Isaacs' voice was always perfectly suited for lovers material, he would occasionally turn his attention to more troubling concerns for great results. Recorded during the mid-'70s, reality numbers like "Black Against Black" (aka "Black a Kill Black"), the title track, and "My Religion" all feature the singer himself at the helm. Along with "Mr. Cop," a product of Lee "Scratch" Perry's Black Ark circa 1976 that's also included, the songs represent some of the finest conscious material of his career. A portrait of the Cool Ruler's work wouldn't be complete without a few examples of his exquisite lovers style however, and Rasta Business delivers with "If I Don't Have You," "Loving Pauper," and "Permanent Lover." "Substitute" (with its admonishments of a former lover's "smoking cigarettes by the pack" and "drinking liquor") and "Dreadlocks" (a tale of a girl's forbidden love for a Rasta), though also in this category, manage to cut deeper than usual. Complaints with Rasta Business are minimal. The sound quality occasionally slips, with the odd cut sounding like it was mastered from a vinyl release rather than a master tape. Though the track listing isn't comprehensive enough to be a hits collection, nor specific enough to hold a particular place in Isaacs' catalog, the material is of a consistently high quality, making for a satisfying package.

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