Gregory Isaacs is such a superstar today that it seems unimaginable that his talent wasn't instantly recognized. In fact, though, it would take five long years from his recording debut before Isaacs scored his first hit. With that, however, the floodgates opened, and the smash singles burst forth in force. In the aftermath, the singer recorded with a plethora of producers, although some of his most seminal work was with Alvin Ranglin. In 1974, Ranglin released Isaacs' In Person album, the singer's second in Jamaica but his debut in Britain, where it was picked up the following year by Trojan. Isaacs would soon be renowned for his cool deliveries, but here he's overflowing with emotion, particularly so on the album's two powerful cultural numbers. The poignant sufferer's song "Financial Endorsement" is rent with sympathy and anger at the plight of the unfortunate, while "Sweeter the Victory" is fired by Isaacs' fervid cry for freedom. The set's many romantic numbers are equally potent. On "Far Beyond the Valley," a song the singer originally cut for Rupie Edwards, Isaacs exalts at the day when his love will join him; on "The Way She Walks" he is exuberant, while in contrast, he croons out his heartache on "If You're in Love." With the Soul Syndicate Band providing sizzling reggae backings, In Person was a stellar set, an ideal introduction to the larger world for one of Jamaica's hottest young stars. Incidentally, in the '90s the American Heartbeat label would reissue the album with bonus tracks under the title Love Is Overdue. ~ Jo-Ann Greene
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