Sun | Jan 19, 2020

'Cool Ruler': Dark horse for the Grammy Awards

Published:Sunday | January 31, 2010 | 12:00 AM


Under the caption 'Cool Ruler' dark horse for the Grammy Awards', incorrectly referred to Phil Pratt as the producer of Gregory Isaac's Love is Overdue. While Phil Pratt did indeed produce All I Have is Love, it is, in fact, Alvin Ranglin's GG records which produced Love is Overdue. The Gleaner apologises to Alvin Ranglin and GG Records for any inconvenience or embarrassment occasioned by the error.


Howard Campbell, Gleaner Writer

Even though he is the long shot to win the Best Reggae Album award at tonight's Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, veteran singer Gregory Isaacs is not thrown off by his unfavourable odds. In fact, the man known as the Cool Ruler believes he has a good chance of taking home his first Grammy with the self-produced Brand New Me.

"I always think I can win yuh nuh, an' this is a good album. Mi spen' a lotta time on it," the 58-year-old Isaacs told The Sunday Gleaner last week.

Brand New Me is the third Gregory Isaacs set nominated for the Best Reggae Album Grammy. Mr Cool in 1997 and Private and Confidential in 2001 were his previous nominations.

Tonight, Isaacs has some formidable opponents, led by the 2004 winner Sean Paul with Imperial Blaze. The field is completed by Stephen Marley, another past winner, with Mind Control (Acoustic version), his brother Julian Marley for Awake and Buju Banton for Rasta Got Soul.

Isaacs says Brand New Me was released last year, shortly after he completed production on it at his Poor People Recording Studio in St Andrew. Distributed by Tads Records, little has been heard of it on radio.

"It coulda do wid some more airplay. That's the only thing wey bother mi," Isaacs said.

Ironically, Red Rose For Reggae, which is considered Isaacs' last solid album, was not nominated for the 1988 Grammys. Produced by Gussie Clarke, it had hits such as the title track, Rumours, Rough Neck and Mind Yuh Dis.

Interestingly, when Sly and Robbie won Best Reggae Album with Friends in 1999, that album contained Mick Hucknall's (lead singer for Simply Red) version of Isaacs' classic lovers rock song, Night Nurse.

Over the years, the judges for the Best Reggae Album category have been criticised for selecting little-heard sets or mediocre albums, usually by veteran acts. Another grouse is the number of times persons associated with reggae legend Bob Marley have won since the slot made its debut at the Grammys in 1985.

The Fletcher's Land-born Isaacs has been recording since the 1960s, but broke through in the mid-1970s with Love Is Overdue, which was produced by Alvin Ranglin's GG records. His smooth vocal style made songs like What a Feeling, Soon Forward, Tune In and Night Nurse chart-busters.

Although Isaacs has not had a big hit since the late 1980s, he continues to tour effectively in Europe and the United States.