You know the old saying about trying to be all things to all people? Well, with an artist as prolific as Gregory Isaacs, even a box set can never be an ultimate package but, that said, this 20-track collection is one of the better introductions to the artist. Bundling up songs recorded between the mid-'70s and the late '80s, the album leapfrogs about chronologically. Thankfully, the liner notes are extremely complete (even identifying the backing bands and listing their members!), while also including a history taken from an interview with Isaacs himself. The earliest songs included -- "Love Is Overdue" and "My Number One," both produced by Alvin Ranglin -- are among the singer's greatest, while the latest -- "Rough Neck" and "Rumours" -- are dancehall classics both overseen by Gussie Clarke. In between there are such seminal songs as the Niney Holness-produced "Slavemaster," "Oh What a Feeling" (cut for Taxi), "Mr. Cop" (co-produced by Lee Perry and Isaacs), a number of excellent self-productions, and such Flabba Holt-overseen classics as "Night Nurse." What's missing is too long to list, but Ultimate Collection does capture some of the highlights of several periods during the singer's lengthy career, and is an excellent starting place for new fans.
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AllMusic Review by Jo-Ann Greene
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