Released almost a year after his death at the age of 59, The Ruler: 1972-1990
is a fantastic 40-track collection covering the smooth reggae crooner's best years. Heartbreak, heartache, and occasional social commentary were well within Gregory Isaacs
' grasp, with all of it delivered in a convincingly reserved tone, earning him the nickname "The Cool Ruler." The quintessential numbers are almost all here, with "My Only Lover," "My Number One," "Mr. Cop," "Night Nurse," "Rumours," and "Red Rose for Gregory" making this one stellar track list. The stern uprising track "Slave Master" is here, too, although in a live version. Still, it's a very good version and the compilation's excellent second-tier selections more than make up for it; plus, to get some extended mixes as well is absolute gravy. Buy the physical release and a live 1984 show from the Brixton Academy is included on DVD, and the booklet features a welcome essay from Steve "Serpiente" Stromberg along with track-by-track commentary.