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Brand New Me by Gregory Isaacs

Brand New Me by Gregory Isaacs

Brand New Me by Gregory Isaacs

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The Cool Ruler is back with the new self produced album Brand New Me featuring Dean Fraser and Nambo Robinson that shows he can still cut it on disc.


Gregory Isaacs - Brand New MeNow that Gregory’s live shows are more exercises in nostalgia than anything else, it is nice to know that in the quiet environment of the studio he is still quite capable of turning out quality product. The soon to be released Sly & Robbie track-creation ‘Poor Man Lover’ pays fitting tribute to his Ossie Hibbert helmed classic ‘Mr Know It All’ (right down to the use of the flexatone on the dub) and this, the Cool Ruler’s latest self produced long player, showcases his lighter side to pleasing effect.

Sure, his spoken voice may sound a little croaky on opener ‘Love Turn Catastrophe’, but once he starts singing with that blend of tender vulnerability and wily charm, it really doesn’t matter. The same applies when he works his magic on an old standard, The Drifters ‘Fools Fall In Love’, (most famously recorded by Elvis Presley) and tries his hand at some modern day rocksteady, ‘Send Back My Heart’, credited as co-written with his son, Gregory Junior.

Then it’s time to put love aside for more serious matters with ‘Idren Gone A Jail’ on the Craven Choke Puppy rhythm, before some synthesised ska called ‘No Trust’, and ‘Don’t Come Running’; a warning to a wayward lover with the winningly cheeky lyrics of “you are dismissed from my school”. A bit of laid back rude boy ska is the basis for ‘Mix Up’, Six Months’ makes a return to hardy perennials (Alton Ellis/Neil Sedaka’s ‘Breaking Up’), and the only minor key tracks are eighties digisoul number ‘Point Of View’, hard reality roots relick ‘Penetentury’ and the closer, ‘Diplomatic Fools’. 

The majority of instruments are played by Paul “Wrongmove” Crossdale with horn duties by Dean Fraser, Nambo Robinson and others, while most of the drums are pre-programmed and only ‘Love Turn Catastrophe’ and ‘Betrayers Downfall’ boast a full live band. But if that doesn’t put you off, there’s plenty to enjoy here, even if the record’s title is misleading. This isn’t really a brand new Gregory, just the one we’ve always loved, still in good spirits and doing his thing for his many adoring fans.

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