Ain't That Loving You
Troy Ellis & The Hail Jamaica Reggae Band
Alltone Records
June 23, 2012

Track list
  1. Where It's At
  2. She Needs Me
  3. All My Tears
  4. I Dig You
  5. Ain't That Loving You
  6. Breaking Up
  7. I Can't Stop Now
  8. You're So Sweet
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3/4
The legendary Alton Ellis O.D., one of Jamaica's all-time favorite vocalists, gets a musical tribute from Bristol-based reggae artist Troy Ellis. The latter is one of Alton Ellis' singing sons (Noel and Christopher being the others), whose ambition is to follow in the footsteps of his late great father. From the early ages of childhood, Troy Ellis has been performing on the street corners of Trenchtown, Jamaica to prestigious venues such as London's Royal Albert Hall and Glastonbury Festival's Jazz World Stage.

Together with the seven-piece Hail Jamaica Reggae Band, consisting of Stacey Batchelor (drums), Alan Fazakerley (bass), Andy Gelband (guitar), Paul Ballard (keyboards), Lionel Anderson (percussion & vocals), Jonny Haygreen (saxophone) and Craig Goldsworthy (trumpet), Troy Ellis delivers a real nice debut album with hand-picked songs from his father's extensive music catalogue. The Hail Jamaica Reggae Band have expertly laid the riddim tracks and although it's almost impossible to match his father's impeccable, easy phrasing, he has done a very good job.

The album kicks off with "Where It's At", which is actually a rendition of Brenda Holloway's "You Make Me So Very Happy" from 1967. This real fine lovers tune, which was included on Alton Ellis' Studio One album "Sunday Morning" from 1970, gets a solid interpretation and thus is a joy to hear. Also the rest of the album is made up of romantic ballads. The next tune, "She Needs Me", was originally done for Xterminator producer Phillip "Fatis" Burrell and appeared in 2009 on the digitally released album "Fatis Presents Xterminator Friends Vol 6". Perhaps not one of his best known tunes, but a wonderful lovers piece anyhow, performed in real fine style here.

Great songs such as "All My Tears", the scorcher "Ain't That Loving You", "Breaking Up (Is Hard To Do)", and "I Can't Stop Now" (again very well interpreted) takes the listener back to the days of rocksteady and then ruling studios like Coxsone Dodd's Studio One and Duke Reid's Treasure Isle. "I Dig You", released on the Cash & Carry label, is another relatively unknown gem, for which reggae collectors nowadays have to pay quite a lot of money. The set is rounded off in fine style by another rarity, "You're So Sweet".

Troy Ellis & The Hail Jamaica Reggae Band have created a very fine and thoroughly enjoyable debut album, which will be launched on Saturday June 30th 2012 at the Colston Hall in Bristol UK.