Gregory Isaacs "Confirm Reservation" (BBC 1981) | MIDNIGHT RAVER
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Gregory Isaacs “Confirm Reservation” (BBC 1981)

My favorite track by Gregory is “Confirm Reservation.” The tune was written and produced by Gregory Isaacs and, perhaps more than any other tune, it showcases the brilliance of his songwriting.

Upon first listen it might sound like several other Gregory tunes that have an overt lovers rock vibe, however, “Confirm Reservation” is one of Gregory’s most honest, personal and deeply spiritual tunes:

“I’d really like to make you confirm reservation
So here I am with my application
I wanna be with my friends and family
Where the living is much easier for me
‘Cause in this town I can’t take the vibes no more, ah”

No, Gregory is not leaving town.  He is very clearly singing about an eternity in Zion.  By the early 1980s Gregory was losing a battle against a severe cocaine addiction.  It is a demon that would eventually destroy his voice, ruin his career, and leave him dead at 59 years old.  He longs for an eternity in Zion, free from the chains of his illness…“Cause in this town I can’t take the vibes no more, ah…”

He makes it crystal clear in the second verse that the load he carries is too much to bear:

“Couldn’t take another day under this condition
I’m going over to cross river Jordan
Though I may lose, one day I’m gonna win
I’m going to a land where there is no sin
‘Cause in this town I can’t take the vibes no more
I can’t take the vibes no more, ah um”

It is really such a brilliantly-written tune.  There aren’t many artists who could muster the courage to look in the mirror and tell the world what they see.  That is exactly what Gregory does here.  A very well-known reggae producer once told me that in his 30+ years in the business he met only two true geniuses.  The first is Sly Dunbar.  The other is Gregory Isaacs.  He said Gregory has a perpetual song in his head.  All he has to do is decide to write it down.

This version of “Confirm Reservation” comes from the BBC Radio sessions that Gregory did in 1981 backed by the Roots Radics.  I think it sounds even better than the original 7″ mix.  In 1981 Gregory’s voice was still in top form and his vocal performance on this track is phenomenal.

Included here are several never-before-released photos that I shared here several months ago…

Gregory Isaacs w/ Dennis Brown

Gregory Isaacs w/ Peter Broggs

CLICK HERE to read several interviews including Roger Steffens’ fascinating 1995 interview with Gregory.

 

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Comments

  1. Martin Blomqvist says:

    The tune reservation is in fact not Confirm reservation which you are talking about. Reservation on african museum is a digital tune with completely different lyrics…. I don´t think confirm reservation was released on a single only on LP so no version available other than dubplate. I might be wrong though….

    1. midnightraverblog says:

      You know what…you are absolutely right. Just checked that. I botched that one. Many thanks for keeping me honest.

  2. Martin Blomqvist says:

    No worries! It´s one of those tunes that I really like and would like to have the dub. Hush Darling is also a tune that never came out on 7 inch… Probably exists on dub plate though as many other of Isaacs tunes from this period, Black liberation struggle for example…. pure killer!!! Respect for your works!!! Big Up!!

  3. Sir James says:

    just heard the jah shaka dubplate to this it’s murderous !!! i could never pick one gregory tune but this one id definitely one of my favs 🙂

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