30 Songs, 1 Hour 28 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Before his relaxed demeanor and sartorial savvy won him the title “The Cool Ruler," sleepy-eyed Jamaican crooner Gregory Isaacs was known as William Shakespeare, “The Bard of the Tenement Yard.” As a singer and writer, Isaacs was possessed of a rare eloquence, and his unhurried delivery could transform the most undistinguished love song into a nuanced disquisition on life in the Kingston shantytowns. Take, for example, Isaacs’ transcendent read on Dobby Dobson’s 1967 hit “Loving Pauper," which Isaacs invests with previously undreamt-of emotional resonance. Or the Isaacs original “Look Before You Leap," which finds Isaacs stringing together Bible quotations and folk sayings into a remarkably original reflection on the importance of self-knowledge. The 30 tracks here were recorded at a dizzying array of studios, under producers as diverse as Alvin Ranglin, Errol Dunkley, Sidney Crooks, and Augustus Clarke. Yet despite this eclecticism, Isaacs’ inimitable voice makes The Early Singles a satisfyingly consistent listen; it's an ideal introduction to his remarkable talent. 

EDITORS’ NOTES

Before his relaxed demeanor and sartorial savvy won him the title “The Cool Ruler," sleepy-eyed Jamaican crooner Gregory Isaacs was known as William Shakespeare, “The Bard of the Tenement Yard.” As a singer and writer, Isaacs was possessed of a rare eloquence, and his unhurried delivery could transform the most undistinguished love song into a nuanced disquisition on life in the Kingston shantytowns. Take, for example, Isaacs’ transcendent read on Dobby Dobson’s 1967 hit “Loving Pauper," which Isaacs invests with previously undreamt-of emotional resonance. Or the Isaacs original “Look Before You Leap," which finds Isaacs stringing together Bible quotations and folk sayings into a remarkably original reflection on the importance of self-knowledge. The 30 tracks here were recorded at a dizzying array of studios, under producers as diverse as Alvin Ranglin, Errol Dunkley, Sidney Crooks, and Augustus Clarke. Yet despite this eclecticism, Isaacs’ inimitable voice makes The Early Singles a satisfyingly consistent listen; it's an ideal introduction to his remarkable talent. 

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