In a year when so many veterans have passed away, I have to admit I was totally surprised when I heard that Gregory Isaacs had died after a long battle with lung cancer. It always struck me that Gregory was one of those characters who spent soo long on the edge that I, as well as so many other people, just assumed that he could and would survive anything; so that, once he passed, we were all caught a bit unawares. And being caught unawares made us (or at least me) look back at his music with a fresh eye...And what music! Gregory had a unique and eccentric voice -- no one else sounded like him and try as they may, he had no imitators. From lovers to roots to the digital BOOMshots of the 80s and 90s, he put his stamp on timeless tunes with a plaintive lonliness that will wail away forever in the winds of our musical history.
portraits are from an apartment in Gloucester Road, West London 24 May 1984
Live shots The Venue, London, UK on 19 November 1982.
all photos courtesy of www.DavidCorio.com