Nooks rides out the storm

By Howard Campbell Observer senior writer

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

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SHORTLY before her death in February 2001, singer George Nooks made a commitment to his grandmother Estella Marshall that would revive his career.

"Shi was real ill an shi always ask mi, ‘when yuh a come back inna the church an’ sing some nice song?’. So, mi sey, ‘alright, mi a go do some gospel tune fi yuh’," Nooks recalled.

He kept that promise. Most of Nooks’ songs since then have been spiritual, including the massive God Is Standing By, released months after his grandmother’s death, and his latest, Ride Out the Storm.

"When yuh look at it, wi all riding out wi own kinda storm. Wi jus’ need guidance an’ protection," said Nooks.

Like most of his songs in the last decade, Ride Out The Storm is self-produced for Nooks’ Total Records label.

Good Is Standing By, a cover of Al Green’s I’ll Be Standing resuscitated Nooks’ career. It was his first hit since the late 1970s when he was part of producer Joe Gibbs’ successful camp with Dennis Brown and Culture.

Tribal War and Fortyleg Dread (done as deejay Prince Mohammed) were two of his big songs for Gibbs. Nooks recorded intermittently during the 1980s and 1990s before his remarkable comeback in 2001.

Though he has done secular songs, including a tribute album to Brown, his mentor and colleague, Nooks favours the gospel path. He is quick to point out that, for him, doing Christian songs has never been solely commercial.

"Mi grow up inna di church, dat neva leave mi. In the hardest time mi lean pon mi faith ‘cause mi believe in the Almighty," he said.

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