Entertainers mourn Cool Ruler's passing

Entertainers mourn Cool Ruler's passing

By Cecilia Campbell-Livingston and Basil Walters Observer Staff Reporters

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

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Reactions to yesterday's passing of the Cool Ruler, Gregory Isaacs have been coming in. Although he has been ailing for some time, his fellow entertainers have expressed sorrow at the passing of this artiste who was often seen as a fixture of the local and international reggae scene.

The 59-year old artiste who passed yesterday morning in London, was known for his smooth brand of Reggae and hits Night Nurse, Rumours, Hard Drugs, and All I have is Love.

Singer George Nooks who was also billed on Isaacs' last show in Jamaica, reflected on the life of his friend and colleague. "I was just glad for the time he gave us on earth and the kinds of songs he has left behind, ensuring that his memory will live on. On a personal note I was blessed by his friendship and he will be forever missed," Nooks revealed.

Another veteran of the music, and Isaacs' contemporary, Ken Boothe, was also in a reflective mood when he spoke to the Observer. "Most singers are like family" he said, "I know I am gonna miss Gregory. We grew up in Denham Town, and I know him as a compassionate man. He know the needs of people, he helps out," Boothe reminisced.

Leroy Sibbles, another master from the rocksteady era, noted that he had worked with Isaacs in the past and they were planning another show. "Gregory is a big loss to the entertainment industry and to the world. I did back-up on a lot of his songs, like Mr Brown. Actually we were planning to do a show in England, but it never materialise as he took sick suddenly. Gregory wanted to do one more performance,"

Among Gregory Isaacs' credits are three Grammy Award nominations. The most recent was this year for his 2009 release, Brand New Me. Producer on that album, Tad Dawkins Snr, was full of praises for the late artiste. "Gregory has produced some of the best Reggae lover's rock songs of all times and has left his eternal imprint within the industry. Having worked with Gregory for many years on some of his classic projects we know first hand the impeccable craft which he possessed and we are truly saddened by his passing."

In their reflections of the latest departed treasure of reggae music, two more of his peers who were among the last to share final moments recalled his jovial nature. "For me, Gregory is phenomenal and a true veteran," Lloyd Parks said. The popular, bandleader, bassist and vocalist added. "He (Gregory) had a sense of humour which was like a sample."

Parks also disclosed that he was preparing to perform free of cost for a benefit concert which was being planed in England for Gregory Isaacs. "I would a go free. Because, I don't know for anybody else, but for me, Gregory was a wonderful human being. From my experience with him, he is a great person," he stressed.

Isaacs and Parks both of whom have done numerous tours together had their last conversation last Thursday, even though, the singer could not respond verbally. "I spoke to him on Thursday but him couldn't talk but him listened. I said Gregory talk to God Almighty right now. Regardless of what people may say, I think his soul will be resting in peace," Parks who played on two of Isaacs' hits Number One and Hard Drugs, told the Observer.

Freddie McGregor, another of Isaacs' contemporaries, noted, "Gregory Isaacs is my singer, my brother, my great friend. We shared many special moments and time with Gregory both on tour and personally. As I can remember he is just one of the nicest persons there ever was. He always reminds me of Dennis Brown and when you hear people like them pass away is like you never ready for that to happen," said McGregor. "Right now mi a celebrate with Gregory because I saw him two weeks ago in London and sit down with him and hold a great vibes. Him gi we joke like crazy and we laugh just like old times. He was in a happy mood but physically he was weak, but it was the same old Gregory."

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