The Boss Is Back
February 7, 2011
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4||Backing : 4||Production : 4||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4|
Roy Ellis aka Symarip was born in Kingston, Jamaica and started his singing career as a ten-years old solo singer in a children gospel choir in the Baptist Church. In his school days he developed a strong friendship with Jimmy Cliff, and also Bob Marley belonged to his circle of friends. In 1966 the "Godfather of Ska", Laurel Aitken, teamed up with him to do two songs. "Jesse James Rides Again", and "Because I Love You". Two years later he scored with two tunes written by Eddie Grant.
He was the lead singer of the ska & reggae band Symarip (also known at various stages of their career as The Bees, The Pyramids, Seven Letters and Zubaba) originating in the late 1960s. The band's name was originally spelled Simaryp, which is an approximate reversal of the word 'pyramids'. Symarip is widely marked as one of the first skinhead reggae bands, being one of the first to target skinheads as an audience. Their hits included "Skinhead Girl", "Skinhead Jamboree" and "Skinhead Moonstomp", the latter of which was based on the Derrick Morgan song, "Moon Hop". They moved to Germany in 1971, performing reggae and Afro-rock in Germany under the name Zubaba. In 1980, the album "Skinhead Moonstomp" was re-issued in the wake of the 2 Tone craze, hitting the UK Chart. The band officially split in 1985 after releasing the album "Drunk & Disorderly" as The Pyramids.
Trojan Records released a best of album in 2004 with a new single, "Back From The Moon", performed by two former band members, Monty Neysmith and Roy Ellis. In 2005, Neysmith and Ellis performed together at Club Ska in England, and a recording of the concert was released on Moon Ska Records as "Symarip - Live at Club Ska". In April 2008, they headlined the Ska Splash Festival in Lincolnshire as Symarip, and later performed at the Endorse-It and Fordham Festivals. Since 1980 Roy Ellis lived in Switzerland and, in 1988, he became a holder of the Swiss nationality.
Here he's back with a nice set, filled with twelve hot shots of reggae, rocksteady, soul and ska. The man's vocal delivery is as good as it used to be when he was part of Symarip, really amazing! Don't expect new directions from Roy Ellis. He gives the listener what he wants, party music, rooted into ska and reggae, here and there with a twist of soul and gospel. You can expect some Stax flavored soul fun on I've Got The Music and I Won't Let Go Your Love. The best tunes are ska tunes such as One Way Ticket To The Moon, She Called Me Up and She Surely Pick Me Up. Well worth spinning more than once is Skinhead Johney & Susy. The only tune that we skipped at once is the Bette Midler cover The Rose.