Arise Black Man 1968-1978
Alton Ellis
October 4, 1998

Track list
  1. Arise Black Man
  2. If Loving You Is Wrong
  3. Sh-Boom (Life Could Be A Dream)
  4. Black Man's Pride
  5. Play It Cool
  6. Rasta Spirit
  7. Blackish White
  8. African Descendants
  9. Rhodesia
  10. Sun Of Man
  11. We A Feel It
  12. I'll Take Your Hand
  13. I Don't Know Why (Truly)
  14. How Can I
  15. You Are Mine
  16. It's Your Thing
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 5
Joseph Cotton's compilation set "Dancehall Days 1976-1984" was the first release of the German-based reggae label Moll-Selekta, a cooperation of the Moll-label with the Selekta Reggae Shop in Hamburg. Now, more than a year after the release of this excellent Joseph Cotton album, the label presents another truly noteworthy revive compilation album. In this case they have gathered 16 tracks of one of the top vocalists and true reggae legends : mr. Alton Ellis O.D.
In his enduring career - which spans four decades by now - the 1944 born Alton Ellis scored countless hits. The 1959 recorded "Muriel" was his first great hit (with his partner of that time, Eddie Perkins) and many more, mostly top 5 hits, followed during the sixties, which made Alton Ellis the undisputed no. 1 of Jamaica. When Jamaican music moved from Ska to Rocksteady Alton Ellis established his reputation further with own compositions as well as fine cover versions of mainly US Soul songs, the latter providing him the nickname "Mr. Soul of Jamaica". However, Alton Ellis didn't simply cover these songs, but always gave his interpretation an unique treatment and added that typical Jamaican flavour, which made them sound real fresh as can be witnessed when listening to tunes like "Sh-Boom", "If Loving You Is Wrong" and the Isley Brothers' hit song "It's Your Thing".
"Arise Black Man 1968 - 1978" is an excellent, beautifully packaged compilation set of rare and beloved Alton Ellis tracks. The album collects recordings from different production houses including Studio One and features hard to find titles such as "I'll Take Your Hand", "I Don't Know Why (Truly)" and "Play It Cool". Besides that this set includes a handful of rootsier titles : "Arise Black Man", "Rasta Spirit", "Rhodesia", the moving "Sun Of Man" and "Black Man's Pride", the latter not the Studio One or Treasure Isle version, but the one that came on the "Bullet" label. Furthermore some crucial Studio One gems are featured as well : "African Descendents" and the outrageous "Blackish White". Whether it is "Lovers rock" or "Roots and Culture", this wonderful set of songs fully showcases that Alton Ellis is equally at home with both genres. Timeless music from a great singer, songwriter and composer, who deservedly received the Order of Distinction for outstanding and important services to Jamaica from the Governor General. Ignore at your peril !!