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Be True to Yourself - The Godfather of Lover's Book (Anthology 1965-1973)

Alton Ellis

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Recensione album

Alton Ellis created a template in the 1960s that subsequent Jamaican singers like Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs would follow to a T, combining soulful vocal phrasing, derived in part from American R&B, with hard island rhythms and a bent for romantic material into a surefire way to keep a presence on the charts. Although he is often celebrated for his subtle Jamaican interpretations of American pop hits (which often improved on the originals, as is the case here with Ellis' version of Chuck Jackson's "Willow Tree"), it is startling to realize how many of the best songs on this two-disc, 56-track compilation of Ellis' early years were actually written by the singer. "Dance Crasher," "Cry Tough," "The Preacher," "Black Man's World," "Harder and Harder," and "Better Get Your Heads Together" were all penned by Ellis, and his soaring tenor renders them both poignant and irresistible. It's also interesting how many of the tracks deal squarely with social issues, and while there are plenty of romantic ballads included here, Ellis clearly had a wider range of concerns than his public persona as a crooner would afford. Songs like "Cry Tough" (with its classic "how can a man be tougher than the world" interjection by Lloyd Charmers) are immortal, in part because of Ellis' emotive and nuanced vocals, but also because the writing is so smart, wise, and assured, not to mention timely and political. As an introduction to Ellis' classic early years (and in particular, his work with Treasure Isle producer Duke Reid), Be True to Yourself, Rovi

Biografie

Nato(a): 01 settembre 1938, Kingston, Jamaica

Genere: Reggae

Anni di attività: '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...
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Be True to Yourself - The Godfather of Lover's Book (Anthology 1965-1973), Alton Ellis
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