Alton Ellis was one of the true originals and innovators of the Jamaican ska and reggae sound. Right up there with Bob Marley, Prince Buster and Desmond Dekker. He originated the rocksteady beat that would become the staple of the British two tone movement. He was a fine recording artist who knocked out a whole range of classic tracks in his own unique style.
This collection anthologises his classic output from the Trojan label between 65 and 73. These were great years for the label and the style of music. Ellis provides us with a mixture of reinterpretations of older songs (I particularly love his take on Duke Of Earl) and a whole host of classic originals. Jamaican reggae singers can sometimes be a little difficult for the English ear to hear the words, but Ellis had a very clear singing style and excellent diction that make these tracks an easy listening joy. Best of all is the backing music, utilising that famous rocksteady beat and played by a bunch of musicians who are clearly enjoying themselves. And that's what this is all about, it's laid back, grooving and just a whole load of fun to listen to. It's music designed to help you have a good time, and listening to it is really uplifting.
A classic set, 5 stars.