Audio Remasterer: Warren Barnett.
Liner Note Author: Alvin Lucia.
Arriving after Bear Family's exhaustive four-disc trawl through Eddie Noack's prime -- a triple-disc of '50s honky tonk called Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and 2014's Psycho: The K-Ark & Allstar Recordings, which collected his weirder sides -- Omni's 2015 collection Ain't the Reaping Ever Done? (1962-1976) effectively bats cleanup, reissuing the singer's eponymous 1976 LP on Look Records, along with a bunch of singles released on Tellet, Resco, Riviera, Stoneway, REM, and D, which appears not to be the same imprint Pappy Dailey ran in the '50s and '60s. Obscure labels, in other words, and Alvin Lucia's liner notes acknowledge as much, lingering on Noack's tragic biography and the murderous singles "Psycho" and "Dolores," songs that certainly influenced Omni's creepy artwork on Ain't the Reaping Ever Done?, if not the music itself. Generally, this is cheaply made, straight-ahead hardcore country, rooted in Texas but with an eye on Nashville even if it has no chance for commercial success. This is particularly true of the 1976 LP that kicks off the set: apart from a couple of lively moments -- "Barbara Joy," "No Blues Is Good News" -- Noack sounds tired and, apart from a revival of his standard "These Hands" and the weirdo novelty "The Poor Chinee," which he originally gave to George Jones, the songs are pro forma. The singles rounded up on the rest of the collection are better -- there's a nice, light skip on "For Better or for Worse" and "East Texas" that's balanced by the weariness of "Ain't the Reaping Ever Done?," not to mention such oddities as "Raise the Taxes" and "Before You Use That Gun," songs that veer toward a odd, outsider art vibe -- but generally, these sides are curiosities that wind up highlighting just how sharply assembled Bear Family's Psycho compilation actually was. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine