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World Music CD Reviews Africa

THE ETHIOPIANS

By JUDSON KILPATRICK
Published April 19, 2006

Everything Crash: The Best Of The Ethiopians
Trojan/Sanctuary

With political and Rastafarian-inspired lyrics by Leonard “Sparrow” Dillon, the Ethiopians were one of the first “conscious” groups in Jamaica, helping pave the way for Burning Spear, Bob Marley, etc. They were also one of the first groups to use the term “reggae” in a song title (“Reggae Hit The Town”) and their “Train To Skaville” was, despite the title, one of the first rocksteady hits. This 25-track compilation is one of the best of many overviews of their career, covering the decade 1966-76 and featuring lots of competing producers, including Duke Reid (“Train To Skaville”), Sonia Pottinger (“The Whip”), Harry Robinson (“Reggae Hit The Town”) and J.J. Johnson (“Everything Crash”). The latter song was a massive crossover hit in England, as were “Hong Kong Flu” and “Woman Capture Man.” There are lots of lesser-known songs here, ranging from peppy ska to gentle reggae. Remarkably they are all Dillon originals, demonstrating his range of topics and knack for writing catchy hooks. If you’re just now discovering the Ethiopians, this is an ideal jump-off point.