This is the first of four albums the Heartbeat label has released featuring Gregory Isaacs
' work with producer Alvin Ranglin
(the other three are Love Is Overdue
, The Best of Gregory Isaacs, Vol. 1, and The Best of Gregory Isaacs, Vol. 2, with the latter pair since repackaged as a single disc). The producer was responsible for giving the singer his first number one hit, "Love Is Overdue," in 1974, and their partnership remained particularly fruitful, but not exclusive. So while much of the best of Isaacs
' mid- to late-'70s work can be found across this and the other aforementioned albums, there's other equally stunning material still out there from this period. That said, another qualification needs to be made: Many of the hits included here are not the original versions, but either extended mixes or alternate takes. But don't think that makes My Number One
of interest to collectors only. You may not get the single version of the title track, but in its stead comes Trinity's spectacular DJ version, and it's not to be missed. Nor is U-Brown's fiery version of "Border." DJ Ranking Barnabbas takes on two further songs, including a fabulous version of "Tumbling Tears." Also of interest is an alternate take of "Lonely Days." The rest of the record is fleshed out by original 45s, including the superb "Philistines" and a few tracks culled from albums also produced by Ranglin. To say this is Isaccs at his height would merely slight his equally powerful later work, but this is certainly a clutch of crucial cuts from one of Jamaica's greatest artists.