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10 Best Gregory Isaacs Songs

These 10 best Gregory Isaacs songs reveal the smooth vocals that made him one of reggae's top singers for decades. Known as the "Cool Ruler," Isaacs was one of Jamaica's most celebrated musicians, and recorded consistently from the late '60s until well into the '00s. Isaacs died of cancer in October 2010 at age 59, but the news of his death is likely to expose a new generation of listeners to Gregory Isaacs songs.
'Simple Prescription'
Romantic love songs make up some of the best Gregory Isaacs songs. "No one can take your place," he sang on 'Simple Prescription,' a song in which he declares, "I'm falling in love again." The song appears on the 'Reggae Splash All Stars' collection, which also features Shabba Ranks, The Maytals and Maxi Priest.
Despite its somewhat ominous-sounding title, 'Interrogation' makes use of brass and piano to create a sunny, upbeat vibe. The song features only brief vocal clips, in which Isaacs' voice was echoed and mixed for effect. The track appears on the largely instrumental record 'Gregory Isaacs in Dub: Dub a de Number One.'
'Changing Dub'
Another of our 10 best Gregory Isaacs songs is 'Changing Dub,' which also appears on 'Gregory Isaacs in Dub: Dub a de Number One.' The instrumental track shows us that the music of Gregory Isaacs could remain relevant even without his familiar voice on the song.
'Wailing Rudie'
'Wailing Rudie' is a narrative about the song's title character. "When music plays he dance and sings," Isaacs sang over a mellow, but captivating beat. It appears on the compilation 'Over the Years, Volume 4,' while re-issues of the singer's 1981 album 'More Gregory' include 'Wailing Rudie' as a bonus track.
'Top Ten'
'Top Ten' serves as the opening track on the 'Ultimate Collection,' a 20-song package offering Isaac's best work over the years. "Though she isn't in my top ten, still she is on my chart," Isaacs sings. "Because I don't care whose school she's been, you see / She's still taking lessons from me."
'Paymaster -- Captives'
The 2002 Rounder compilation 'Rock On: Greatest Hits from the Observer Label' contains a number of remixed and previously unreleased reggae tracks from artists like Dennis BrownDennis Brown and Junior Byles. The version of 'Paymaster -- Captives' on the album was an extended mix by Isaacs and DJ Ranking Buckner, with horns propelling the rhythmic dance groove.
'Not the Way'
In 1982 Isaacs released his most successful album 'Night Nurse' with the help of talented Jamaican session band the Roots Radics, who backed Isaacs on a handful of records in the early '80s. On the 'Night Nurse' track 'Not the Way,' Isaacs sings about bringing women to God: "The daughters take a little longer / To sight up the Father, yeah."
'Crazy Over You'
One of the strongest Gregory Isaacs records of recent years was his 2000 release 'Private & Confidential.' The album closer 'Crazy Over You,' featuring guest appearances from Dennis Brown and Junior Delgado, incorporates a hip-hop influenced beat, but is still distinctly reggae. "Be mine tonight," the singers pleads repeatedly on the romantic-themed tune.
'Sad to Know (You're Leaving)'
On the mellow ballad 'Sad to Know (You're Leaving),' Isaacs grieves the departure of a loved one but puts a positive spin on the situation: "Sad to know that you're leaving / But I know that you'll return real soon." The song is one of several memorable tracks from the Island Records effort 'Night Nurse.'
'Night Nurse'
Heading our list of the 10 best Gregory Isaacs songs is 'Night Nurse,' perhaps the most well-known song Isaacs recorded. The track is a lighthearted story of being infatuated with a medical professional. "I need attendance from my nurse around the clock," Isaacs pleads, "Cause there's no prescription for me / She's the one, the only remedy."
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