Personnel includes: Gregory Isaacs (vocals); Ranchie, Bingy Bunny, Chinna (guitar); Bobby Ellis, Tommy McCook, Herman Marquis (horns); Ansell Collins (keyboards); Robert Shakespeare, Ernest Wilson (bass); Sly Dunbar (drums); The Heptones (background vocals).
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Recorded at Dynamic Sounds, Kingston, Jamaica.
In 1978, reggae vocalist Gregory Isaacs released COOL RULER, a title that also served as the performer's nickname. Although the album, unlike some of his earlier '70s offerings, didn't prove to be an international success, it received critical acclaim and became recognized as one of Isaacs's finest records. After hearing this solid 10-song set, it's easy to understand why the disc is so revered. For one thing, Isaacs's distinctively smooth vocals are backed by pitch-perfect contributions from a cadre of top-notch session players, including bassist Robbie Shakespeare and drummer Sly Dunbar. The percolating rhythms and buoyant melodies are ideal for Isaacs's lover's-rock style, but rather than stick to a predominantly romantic mood (a la LOVE IS OVERDUE), he mixes in a refreshing amount of social commentary on tracks such as the shuffling "Party in the Slum" and the rural lament "Word of the Farmer." The result is an album that makes a wonderfully like-minded companion piece to another classic record from that year--Bob Marley & the Wailers' KAYA.
Q (1/01, p.138) - 4 out of 5 stars - "...Reggae's sweetest voice....capable of moving emotional mountains..."