A superb collection of Isaac's early work, pre-empting Trojan's own The Early Years compilation released seven years before. That was previously the best to be had, but Loving Pauper leaves it in the dust. Laurence Cane- Honeysett penned the sleevenotes, that walks the listener through the singer's career, helpfully identifying the producer and year of release for most the tracks along the way. The songs are arranged chronologically, and the album pays particular attention to the years before Isaacs break through in Jamaica. It begins, appropriately enough, with "Another Heartache," the singer's debut, and moves on to four songs he recorded as part of The Concords for producer Rupie Edwards. This trio split in 1970, and Isaacs returned to his solo career, cutting more singles for Edwards, several of which are also featured. The album also includes his first self- production, "While There Is Life." In 1973, the singer began recording regularly with other producers, and his sublime version of the title track, cut for Augustus Clarke, and the Peter Weston produced "Coming Home" proved that Isaacs was more than ready for stardom. Of course, it was the singer's self-produced "My Only Lover," which finally provided him with the success he so long deserved. Oddly, that's not here, the only notable omission But we do get "All I Have Is Love," an equally big smash that same year, cut for Phil Pratt. The last third of the album is a bit more up for grabs, as over the next two years, Isaacs released a flood of hits, and there isn't anywhere room enough for them all. But we do get some stellar cuts, four recorded with producer Alvin Ranglin, including Isaacs first Number One, "Love Is Overdue," an excellent pair recorded for Niney Holness, another two crucial recordings with producer Sidney Crooks, and finally a hit cut for Tony Robinson. There isn't less than a seminal track to be found here, and one is left to wonder just how the earlier singles were ignored, for Isaacs was no less a cool ruler then, than Isaacs at his height.
AllMusic Review by Jo-Ann Greene