Title: Mr Isaacs
Artist: Gregory Isaac
Label: VP Records
Release Date: 19 July 2019
VP Records continues to celebrate its 40th anniversary with the definitive, deluxe reissue of an early title by Gregory Isaacs, one of Jamaican music’s icons and VP Records’ marquee catalog artists.
When it comes to sheer volume of output, Gregory Isaacs was one of Jamaica’s most prolific singers, with more than 125 albums to his credit in a 40-plus year career. His 13 albums with VP rival that of Dennis Brown.
VP was the first to press and distribute the touchstone LP Mr. Isaacs, the singer’s third full-length release and one of the first LPs the company handled in the US. It was originally pressed on Ossie Hibbert’s Earthquake label and entitled simply, The Greatest. In Jamaica, the album was also pressed on Trevor “Leggo” Douglas’ Cash & Carry label. The current reissue pays homage to the first edition – and VP Records’ 40th anniversary – with the return to the original artwork and labels.
Remastered by Kevin Metcalfe, the album is reissued on vinyl concurrent with the closely related dub album, Leggo Dub, and also packaged together on an expanded 32-track, double CD, including bonus tracks such as the 12-inch mix of “Mr. Know It All.” These are housed in a 6-panel digipack with 16-page booklet. The 2019 edition is the most expansive since the 2001 reissue on Blood and Fire.
The album includes the enduring hit “Slave Master,” later popularized through the live performance in the film Rockers, as well as “Set The Captive Free,” and “Storm.” The latter would become a widely reused ‘riddim,’ a rhythmic framework that was the basis of dozens of versions by different artists, including hits by Tappa Zukie (“Oh Lord”); Tristan Palma (“Spliff Tail”); and Pinchers (“Bandelero”), among others. In conjunction with the full release, VP will issue “Storm” b/w “Leggo Dub” on 7-inch single for this first time.
Isaacs’ catalog would grow to well over one hundred albums by the time of his death in 2010. Released in over two dozen different editions, Mr. Isaacs is second only to his iconic Night Nurse album in terms of its influence.