The Ethiopian
Leonard Dillon w/ The Silvertones
Young Cub Records
May 14, 2012

Leonard Dillon Track list
  1. Let Me Live
  2. High Grade
  3. Jah Is Love
  4. My Lady
  5. On My Side
  6. Jah Is My Light
  7. You Lied To Me
  8. Hotta Fire
  9. Good You Do
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Essential -Votes: 2-
Very Good -Votes: 4-
Good -Votes: 1-
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Total votes : 7
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5
Leonard "Sparrow" Dillon. THE ETHIOPIAN. We lost this iconic figure on September 28, 2011 and he flew to Zion. Not before bestowing one last classic, "Leonard Dillon-The Ethiopian".

Leonard commenced his career in the early 1960's under the guidance of Clement Dodd and other fortunate producers. Heavily inspired by the early Wailers, this countryman made his mark with singles like "Ice Water" (disputibly backed by the Wailers). Leonard recruited Aston Morris and Steven Taylor and took Jamaica and beyond by storm. "Train To Skaville" sold 50,000 in yard alone (unheard of at the time). The Ethiopians released their first album, "Engine 54" and things were riding high for a while. Everything crashed in the mid 1970's as Steven Taylor was killed; an event that sent Leonard back to the hills. He remerged with harmony help from Melvin Reed and musical backing from Soul Syndicate with 1977's "Slave Call". After this masterpiece, he went solo. Studio One released "Everything Crash"; a classic from 1981. In 1983, with the help of longtime bredrin Albert Griffith (Gladiators), The Ethiopian released "Dread Prophecy" (alltime roots). He continued to put out strong material with "Open Up The Gate" and "On The Road Again". The resurgence of interest in vintage roots music allowed him triumphant tours from the late 1980's to the turn of the millenium, apexed with a performance at the 2001 Sierra Nevada World Music Festival (stole the show).

Fast forward to 2009. David Gould of the acclaimed roots band John Brown's Body formed a fast friendship with Leonard on a trip to yard. All the while, 10 Ft Ganja Plant producer Craig Welsch was laying down riddims in hopes of an album. It happened with the harmonies done by the original Silvertones (Keith Coley and "Smoker" Grant).

The results are nothing short of amazing! The opening track Let Me Live sounds like it was recorded back in the 1970's with lush harmonies and Leonard's unfaltering plea for Babylon to leave Rasta alone. Herb anthems can get tiresome, but High Grade is anything but. From the opening horns to Leonard's thoughtful lyrics; this is of the highest order! Jah Is Love is reminiscent of early Gladiator songs that shows Leonard's utmost raspect to the Most High and the disco mix sounds like Overton "Scientist" Brown mixing in his prime. My Lady is a hauntingly beautiful observation of love that begins with a Roots Radic style workout. Side B. opens up with On My Side with haul and pull harmonies that are ethereal. Hotta Fire is pure rockers with a proud Ethiopian proclaiming his presence. The final piece (disco mix) Good You Do sounds like a tribute to the vocal stylings that put Leonard Dillon on the map many decades ago.

Quality Roots Music is recorded all the while but this album rises above it all. Some artists save the best for last. Leonard never lost his powerful voice and to complement it with the Silvertones is genius. The musical backbone was provided by members of John Brown's Body and 10 Ft Ganja Plant, two U.S. bands commited to the golden age and sound of Reggae Music. The production and engineering quality brings the listener back to a time when the roots were embedded in the original foundation. This album is extra classic and will not become stock on a shelf.