Gregory Isaacs

Turn Down the Lights

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Gregory Isaacs, the Cool Ruler, still has his unique, laid-back delivery and effortless off-the-beat phrasing going for him. His voice-a whiny tenor that has never played a very big part in his international allure-is starting to go, however, and his pitch is no longer always reliable. Worst of all, where he used to sound cool and relaxed, he's now starting to sound just plain tired; on this set of King Jammy-produced tracks, he occasionally gives the impression of struggling to stay awake. That's not a completely unpleasant effect, and his languid voice actually contrasts nicely with the relentless rockers beat on "Gone Is the Love" and with the militant theme of "Rude Boy in a Penitentiary." But on "Lady of Your Caliber" (the type of loverman tune that used to be his bread and butter) his approximate pitch and limp delivery undermine the intended romantic effect. All in all, this disc is a disappointingly mixed bag.

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