Words by Jesse Serwer
Last year, in a span of just a few months, Jamaica lost its two most golden voices. There were more technically impressive reggae singers but Sugar Minott and Gregory Isaacs’ songs were unmatched in terms of emotional resonance. Each had what can only be described as quirky voices but their distinctiveness only made their music easier to connect with, as both filled their songs with a level of vulnerability and frankness and a personal touch beyond that of any of their other peers.
In celebration of both artists’ lives and careers, VP Records’ 17 North Parade imprint has just released a pair of triple-disc anthologies: Sugar’s Hard Time Pressure and Gregory’s The Ruler. Each set contains two audio CDs compiling the respective artists’ greatest hits, and a bonus DVD featuring rare concert footage: A 1986 Japansplash performance by Sugar and, in Gregory’s case, a 1984 Brixton Academy show in London. Watch the clips below for samples of footage from both performances. Both also come with informative liner notes and some of the most impressive packaging we’ve seen from a reggae/dancehall release.
Our friends at VP have given us two (2) pairs of both releases to give away. To qualify to win one of the pairs, you’ll need to follow (or already be following) @largeupdotcom on Twitter, and send us a direct message with your address and the correct answer to this question: What is the name of the combination LP that Sugar and Gregory released together in 1986? Two winners supplying the correct answer will be contacted via direct message. Good luck, and enjoy the music.