We got in touch with Wally Badarou to find out how his contribution to the classic Gregory Isaacs ‘Night Nurse’ album came about. Here’s what he said.
What do you remember about the Night Nurse sessions?
Everything, because my involvement was brief and very simple: February 22nd 1982, I flew from Paris to Nassau, no specific project in mind. The very night I arrived, I left my suitcases still packed in my flat and went down the studio just to say hello before crashing back in my bed, so jetlagged I was. As I sneaked into Studio A, there was Godwin Loggie, whom I’ve known from the days of Countryman soundtrack recording (he had done Toots “Bam Bam” magnificent version for it), now sitting at the desk mixing some great music. “Hey Wally ! Glad you came by ! Here is the Prophet ready for you !”. The synthesizer was up and ready indeed, God knows who for, prior to my showing up. I had never heard of Gregory Isaacs before, and what came out of the speakers was irresistible already. So despite my near 20 hour trip exhaustion, I agreed to have a go at a couple songs. Less than a couple of hours later, I had overdubbed on the whole of the album, somehow reinvigorated by the “less than two takes or leave it” performance, hypercritical of what I did (as usual), and never realizing this unplanned last minute session would land me to be part of one of reggae’s indisputable classics.
That album is one of the very few I contributed to, that I can listen to from start to finish, skipping no song in the process, with absolutely no favourite in mind: from “Night Nurse” to “Sad To Know That You’re Leaving”, each of the songs bears special momentum, groove, grace and spirituality within.
I met Gregory only once, a few months later, still at Compass Point Studios. We just ran into each other one day, with a “Hi Prophet!” and a “Hi Gregory!” informal exchange, mutually respectful, yet quite brief since, as far as I can recall, each of us was busy doing something. So I never got to know the man really, nor any of the brilliant musicians who performed on that album: I did not attend the main sessions. My contribution was a during-mixing totally unplanned injection, with just Godwin, some assistant and myself in the studio.