Here is a great story by Mel Cooke relating The Cool Ruler to the Steppin’ Razor which was published in the Gleaner on October 27, 2010.
The Studio 38 series, started in January on the grounds of Pulse’s Trafalgar Road, New Kingston, headquarters, gave audiences a rare chance to see top-notch mature entertainers in an up-close and personal setting, tailor-made for extended performances.
On Sunday, July 25 Gregory Isaacs gave what turned out to be his final show in Jamaica, sharing the bill with The Mighty Diamonds.
It was not the first time that Cooper was doing a major show with the ‘Cool Ruler’. And on one memorable occasion there was another legend on the bill as well, who would not be seen by Jamaican audiences again.
“Gregory Isaacs appeared on the final night of Pulse’s Reggae Superjam in 1983. At the time, Night Nurse was the number-one song in reggae and many mainstream music charts around the world. Interestingly, he appeared on the final night just ahead of the great Wailer Peter Tosh, who headlined the show. That show turned out to be Peter’s last concert,” Cooper said.
Peter Tosh was murdered in Barbican, St Andrew, on September 11, 1987.
The two concerts were 27 years apart, the Cool Ruler doing other concerts with Cooper in-between. He says “we also had Gregory on a couple of other Pulse gigs. Over the years we enjoyed a great relationship. Another interesting fact is that Copeland Forbes managed Peter Tosh at the time of that last performance at Superjam in 1983. He also managed Gregory at the time of his last ‘Live at Studio 38’ concert appearance this past July.”
On the night, Cooper said, “he (Gregory) wanted to perform first. He told Lloyd Parks ‘me a bat first’. We knew that he wasn’t well, so we put him on immediately he arrived.”
A trouper to the last, Cooper said Isaacs “never complained. However, he had not been able to perform at Studio 38 earlier, as we had wanted, because he had been suffering from poor circulation in his leg.”
Assessing Isaacs’ showing, Cooper says “Gregory’s performance at Studio 38 was probably one of the best of his latter years. He no longer had the really great voice and ill health had already taken its toll. However, he managed to craft a memorable performance, complete with his trademark fedora, suit and tie, one side of his shirt hanging below his jacket and a full catalogue of hits, plus all the antics for which he was famous around the world.”
And summing up the Cool Ruler’s place in Jamaican popular music, Cooper said “Gregory’s legacy as a real icon of Jamaican music cannot be denied. He is in the front row of the exclusive club of reggae’s true greats. He invented lovers’ rock and was the original bad boy of Jamaican music – but a bad boy everyone loved. His music is as fresh today as it was when recorded. He will be remembered fondly wherever reggae music is played, both now and in the future.”
CLICK HERE to listen to Gregory Isaacs’ crucial vinyl selections from the MIDNIGHT RAVER collection.
CLICK HERE to read the story behind Gregory Isaacs’ and Dennis Brown’s performance of Carlton “Tetrack” Hines’ mind blowing song “Let Off Sup’m.”
CLICK HERE to listen to Gregory Isaacs’ performance on the BBC’s John Peel show.
CLICK HERE to listen to some rare Gregory Isaacs dub tracks by Jim Fox.
CLICK HERE to read my favorite ROGER STEFFENS written piece from THE BEAT. STEFFENS embarks on a strange journey into the world of Gregory Isaacs as STEFFENS flies to Jamaica seeking an interview with the tormented reggae genius.
Two memorable performances from THE COOL RULER:
Here are two photos given to me by Doctor Dread. These photos have never been released.
I wish there was a compilation of his best selections from late 80s and 90s