No Grammy for a prince and the ruler

Grammy flashback

Observer senior writer

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

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The 60th Grammy Awards takes place on Sunday at Madison Square Garden in New York City. There are five nominees for Best Reggae Album. They are: Chronology by Chronixx; Stony Hill (Damian Marley); Avrakedabra (Morgan Heritage); Lost In Paradise (Common Kings) and Wash House Ting by J Boog.

Today, the Jamaica Observer continues its series reflecting on the Best Reggae Album category.

THERE is no disputing Dennis Brown's and Gregory Isaacs' place among reggae's greats. However, neither won a Grammy Award, though they were nominated a total of five times.

Brown, the “Crown Prince of Reggae”, died in 1999 at age 42. He was nominated twice for the Best Reggae Album category.

Isaacs, “The Cool Ruler”, died in 2010 at age 60. He earned three nominations.

Their albums that got Grammy nods are not classics. In fact, they are way below the lofty standards Brown and Isaacs set in the 1970s and 1980s.

Brown was first nominated in 1995 for Light My Fire, which was distributed by American independent company Heartbeat Records. It contained the hit song General, but that was not enough to beat Bunny Wailers' Crucial! Roots Classics.

His next nomination came in 2001 for Let Me Be The One, produced by Steel Pulse keyboardist Sydney Mills. Beenie Man's Art & Life won that year.

Interestingly, Inseparable, the 1988 album some consider Brown's finest work, was never considered for a Grammy.

Isaacs first made the Grammy cut in 2001 with Private & Confidential, a weak effort distributed by VP Records.

Nine years later he was back in contention with Brand New Me, which lost to Mind Control Acoustic by Stephen Marley. The following year, he and Zimbabwean singer King Isaac were nominated for the album Isaacs Meets Isaac; Buju Banton's Before The Dawn won in 2011.

Like Brown, Isaacs had one strong album left in him. That was 1988's Red Rose For Gregory, distributed by RAS Records.

It contained the hit ballad of the same name, as well as Rumours, Rough Neck and the hard-hitting Mind Yuh Dis. Red Rose For Gregory was not nominated for a Grammy.

There was some compensation for Isaacs. Mick Hucknall's (of Simply Red) cover of his 1982 hit song, Night Nurse, was part of Sly and Robbie's Grammy-winning Friends album in 1999.




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