Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Gregory Isaacs: My Number One [Heartbeat, 1990]
Isaacs has got to be the sameyest great artist in pop history--though I own only four of these 13 tracks from his big youth on Alvin Ranglin's GG label, two of them on a tape I haven't played since I got it, just about every tune sounded like an old friend after a brief, casual interchange, because just about every one has been sending its cousins by for years. Coolly crooning lyrics that declare for self-determination up against romance or oppression, caressing and suffering with equal imperturbability, Isaacs is the aural image of an unconquerable, ganja-guzzling serenity. With ace toasters pitching in on four de facto disco discs, this is the U.S. release that will convince doubters until he gets the boxed set he deserves. A-