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Alton Ellis remains one of the greatest of all reggae singers, going back to the late '50s up to the '80s, firmly established as a slick singing sex symbol of the roots pop, rocksteady, and lovers rock styles that all started with the ska movement. Ellis was there during the whole period, singing in Kingston via the Coxsone and Studio One facilities with a small rhythm section, horns, and backup singers. While more sweet than raspy or political, some variations and covers of rhythm & blues crop up on this 30-track, two-CD reissue collection that truly encompasses the best tracks of his career, and demonstrates why he is indeed a legend of reggae music. This compilation spans his career from the dirty, distorted production values of the reel-to-reel analog days to more modernized multi-tracked techniques short of digital. His first hit, "Muriel," with Eddie Perkins from 1959 is here, a non-reggae ballad with strings. So are the popular songs, the slow, rocksteady "Cry Tuff" (or "Cry Tough" in some discographies) and "Girl, I Got a Date," the dance tune "Remember That Sunday" strewn with organ and piano sounds from Jackie Mitoo, and the heavier and harder "Dance Crasher," which more closely resembles the Bob Marley style. Ellis will always inevitably be compared to the more famous international star Jimmy Cliff, save the edginess, but in his day Ellis was more popular. When Ellis — who had left the employ of Coxsone Dodd and production wizard Bunny Lee for arch-rival Duke Reid — returned to his original producer in 1968, the rocksteady sound was well established, and the singer's career took off. "I'm Still in Love" is perhaps his most definitive song, with a bouncy bassline reflecting the ups and down of how heartstrings still function after rejection. Songs like the frivolous "I'm Just a Guy," and the crying chorus about finding love during "Willow Tree" established Ellis as a true superstar. He covered R&B songs such as the Deltronics hit "La La Means I Love You," the Tyrone Davis chart buster "Can I Change My Mind?", or the Gene Chandler evergreen "Duke of Earl" with passable style, a deeper voice, and pure soul, respectively. Where "If I Ruled the World" has Ellis as ultimately naive, "Black Man's Word" is his most political statement in terms of a black/white schism, and "Reggae Is My Thing" comes through very personal or autobiographical. The collection is missing his hit, "Sitting in the Park," but that's about it. Legend is a satisfying collection no true fan of reggae should be without. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi


Nacido(a): 01 de septiembre de 1938 en Kingston, Jamaica

Género: Reggae

Años de actividad: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the first vocalists to enter the Jamaican music business, Alton Ellis was generally revered as the greatest and most soulful singer the country ever produced — that is, until Bob Marley came along. Ellis had his first hit during the ska craze, but made his true lasting mark as the definitive solo singer of the rocksteady era. Sweet, smooth, and deeply emotive, Ellis was equally at home on Jamaican originals or reggae-fied covers of American R&B hits. He cut a series of ska singles...
Biografía completa
Legend, Alton Ellis
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