Thursday, 28 October 2010

Gregory Isaacs - Rest In Peace

Gregory Isaacs (15 July 1951 – 25 October 2010)

It was a normal Monday morning, I had just finished chattin' to Seanie Tee about his new single when I got a text from a friend saying that Gregory Isaacs had passed away at his London home aged 59.
Gregory Isaacs aka The Cool Ruler aka Jah Tooth and many other alias was a LEGEND even before his passing. I've never done a Tribute mix to any other artist before but I felt I had to for the Cool Ruler. You can download it with the link at the bottom of this article or listen to it on the mixcloud link here.

I had enjoyed listening to Gregory Isaacs's music for quite some time but it was when a friend returned from Jamaica in the early 90's with about 20 Gregory cassettes that I really got into his music. After Bob Marley died, Gregory and Dennis Brown were the two men who ruled Reggae. Back then I was always asked who was my favorite Dennis or Gregory? Well as much as I love Dennis Brown's music, Gregory was the man. He killed it on every riddim he was on, whether it was a Lovers Rock tune or a Rub A Dub cut. For me Gregory sang the blues over Reggae riddims and his distinctive voice sent shivers down my spine. If your ever feeling down in the dumps stick on some Cool Ruler and the grey skies soon turn blue again.

Love Overdue - Gregory Isaacs

Born in Fletchers Land in 1951 and a resident of Denham Town he recorded his first single "Another Heartbreak" in 1968, he then join the group The Concords and they released several singles with little success and split up in 1970. He then teamed up with Errol Dunkley and formed the African Museum record label and record shop in Idlers Rest in Kingston and the hits then started. He recorded for many producers at the time to finance the label with classics like "All I Have Is Love" "Extra Classic" "Black A Kill Black" to name a few. In 1974 he started recording tunes with Alvin Ranglin and had his first number one "Love Overdue". A string of hit records followed and in 1978 he signed to Virgin records offshoot Frontline records and appeared in the classic Jamaican movie Rockers peforming "Slave Master".

"Slave Master" - Gregory Isaacs from the movie "Rockers"

The Cool Ruler and Soon Foward albums he did for Virgin didn't get the sales that were expected although they remain possibly his best work. A string of hits off these albums and other works around this time included "Soon Foward" "Tune In" "Wailing Rudie" "Number One" and countless others. International success was looming but it was a hard road to travel for the Cool Ruler.

"Tune In" - Gregory Isaacs Live TV Performance

He then signed for Island Records and finally got his break into the mainstream.He performed at his first Jamaican Sunsplash in 1981 and "Night Nurse" the single and album received heavy radio play in the US and UK and it seemed that now was the time when things were going to start happening for him and they did happen although probably not what he expected. He was arrested and sent to prison for possession of cocaine and firearms.It emerged that this was his 27th arrest and he was suspected of dealing drugs and was addicted to crack cocaine.

"Night Nurse" - Gregory Isaacs Live At Sunsplash 1983

His addiction had a big impact on his voice after most of his teeth fell out.In 2007 he said of his addiction "Drugs are a debasing weapon. It was the greatest college ever, but the most expensive school fee ever paid – the Cocaine High School. I learnt everything, and now I've put it on the side."
Through the 80's he released more material working with the likes of King Jammy and Bobby Digital and in 1988 he released the classic album "Red Rose for Gregory" with the massive international hit "Rumours". Through the 90's he released more and reissued his classic works on his African Musuem label. One of the hardest working men in the industry he continued to perform and record through the 2000's and in 2008 he released a studio album entitled "Brand New Me" to very positive reviews.

"Denham Town(Kingston 14)- Gregory Isaacs from the documentary "Made In Jamaica"

A terrible loss to the reggae world, I salute the Cool Ruler, The Don of Denham Town. Bless Up Gregory Isaacs... Rubadub In Paradise, your music will live on forever.

Rebel "I"
Banana Klan

Rebel "I" "Tribute To The Cool Ruler" Download...


1. Out Deh
2. Mr Cop
3. Skank to Jah Music
4. Front Door
5. Top Ten
6. Stranger In Town
7. Storm
8. Tune In
9. Soon Forward
10. Cool Down The Pace
11. Love Overdue
12. Ba Da
13. Don't Go
14. Thief A Man
15. Rasta Business
16. One One Cocoa
17. Slave Master
18. Conversation
19. Extra Classic
20. Sun Shines For Me
21. Raving Tonight
22. Smile
23. Mr Brown
24. Bend Down Low
25. Substitute
26. Something Nice
27. A Few Words
28. Hard Time
29. Black A Kill Black
30. Uncle Joe
31. Down The Line
32. Jailer, Jailer, Bring Me Water
33. Warriors
34. Babylon Too Rough
35. Reasoning With The Almighty
36. Lonely Soldier
37. Promised Land
38. Once Ago

Friday, 1 October 2010

Foundation Words From Roots Manuva


The Banana Klan mission in essence is an "informal appreciation community," that has evolved out of the Roots Manuva live tour entourage. Indeed, this said party have partied hard over the years. In a nutshell, Banana Klan is a vessel of anti brand provocations, and interactive socio-economic concern, for a street level think-tank community.

Membership is achieved from living the Hip-Hop and Punk Rock "do-it-yourself" aesthetic. As a result, the Klan is a constantly evolving organism. For me the inception was more akin to a trade seal of approval rather than a conventional record label or band. There are 3 degrees of Banana Klan type:


A rebel community animal in its very least, we will: jam, brainstorm, squabble, and agree to agree or disagree. We obsess about all things elastic to a migrant adjustment in the UK and beyond. As founder of the platform my inspiration grows out of frustration with the "give me a record deal mentality" of our times.

The Klan hustle is deeper than money, genre, religion, age, greed, class and political persuasion. The struggle continues strength of conviction; recognized over-standing. When you see the trade mark: let it be said that we do not follow trends. We do this for the love of our school of thought; an underground Academy of DIY reluctant anti-heroes.

As the Klan grows daily, the Question "What is Banana Klan?" is getting harder to answer. The harder the better.

Thank you for your interest,

Roots Manuva

This Station Rules Di Nation With Version! The Funhouse Dub Special With Rebel "I" aka DJ Diablo & Chris P Cuts