A toast to Gregory

A toast to Gregory

Observer writer

Sunday, January 12, 2020

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AMERICAN singer Deniece Williams and Grammy nominee Third World are headliners for this year's 'Red Rose for Gregory', scheduled for Liguanea Golf Club in New Kingston on February 15.

The event is in its fourth staging.

June Isaacs, organiser and widow of reggae singer Gregory Isaacs, said this year's staging will be memorable.

“This year is his [Isaacs's] 70th birthday celebration and we want it to be spectacular. We are pulling out all the stops,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

As a part of the commemoration, Isaacs said there are plans to host tributes across the world, including Canada and Brazil. She, however, declined to give details at the time.

Veteran band Third World is experiencing a renaissance in times. The group is currently one of five Grammy nominees in the Best Reggae Album category for their 22nd studio album More Work To Be Done. The Grammy Awards take place on January 26 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Third World's hit songs include Try Jah Love, 96 Degrees in the Shade, Reggae Ambassador and Serious Business.

Williams is best known for her hit tracks Let's Hear It for The Boys, It's Gonna Take a Miracle, Black Butterfly and Silly.

Also billed for the shows line-up are reggae artistes Sanchez and The Melodians.

The show is known for consistently having a mix of international and local acts on the bill. Last year's headliners were American singers Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle.

Popularly known as the Cool Ruler, Gregory Issacs passed away in October 2010 at age 59. He became well known locally and internationally through his nasal-like vocals and catchy lyrics. His songs, including Night Nurse, Love Is Overdue, Rumours and Hot Stepper, continue to dominate the airwaves.

He, however, suffered from cocaine addiction throughout his career, which has led The Gregory Isaacs Foundation to select Patricia House as its yearly charity.

Last year, following the staging of Red Rose for Gregory, widow June handed over a cheque for an undisclosed amount to aid the rehabilitation centre. Patricia House helps drug and alcohol addicts reform and reintegrate into society.

She said she continues to stage the concert in a bid to preserve her husband's legacy.

“We have to pay homage to the 'Cool Ruler',” she said. “We have to continue the legacy and his memory. I am not a singer so I do it the best way I can.”

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