Eddie Noack had a rough '50s, working hard and never scoring a hit, but that's nothing compared to his '60s. After he was dropped by Mercury, the singer wound up drifting to Allstar, a fly-by-night Nashville indie that specialized in "song poems" – suckers would send in lyrics and pro musicians would set them to music, for a fee – and found space for Noack, a songwriter who had success, but a singer who had none. At Allstar, he was usually able to record his own songs, but Noack wound up chasing trends instead of setting them. Specifically, he wound up cutting several singles in the style of Buck Owens & the Buckaroos, sides that may not have charted but illustrated Noack was a pro, capable of following shifting fashions and delivering upon them ably, even appealingly.
Over the course of four CDs, this is the essential musical history of the loudest island in the world, with the emphasis on essential. It starts in the time before ska, and brings it all up to the dominance of dancehall in the '90s. Along the way there's ska, rocksteady, reggae, and dub; 95 great tracks, every single one a classic. About the only major artist not represented is Lee Perry, and his productions sneak in there. Steve Barrow's notes will carry you through the story. This is about as perfect as they come, in both form and content.