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Alton Ellis - Be True to Yourself: The Godfather of Lover's Rock (Anthology 1965-1973)

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Be True to Yourself: The Godfather of Lover's Rock (Anthology 1965-1973)

Alton Ellis

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Alton Ellis created a template in the 1960s that subsequent Jamaican singers like Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs would follow to a T, combining soulful vocal phrasing, derived in part from American R&B, with hard island rhythms and a bent for romantic material into a surefire way to keep a presence on the charts. Although he is often celebrated for his subtle Jamaican interpretations of American pop hits (which often improved on the originals, as is the case here with Ellis' version of Chuck Jackson's "Willow Tree"), it is startling to realize how many of the best songs on this two-disc, 56-track compilation of Ellis' early years were actually written by the singer. "Dance Crasher," "Cry Tough," "The Preacher," "Black Man's World," "Harder and Harder," and "Better Get Your Heads Together" were all penned by Ellis, and his soaring tenor renders them both poignant and irresistible. It's also interesting how many of the tracks deal squarely with social issues, and while there are plenty of romantic ballads included here, Ellis clearly had a wider range of concerns than his public persona as a crooner would afford. Songs like "Cry Tough" (with its classic "how can a man be tougher than the world" interjection by Lloyd Charmers) are immortal, in part because of Ellis' emotive and nuanced vocals, but also because the writing is so smart, wise, and assured, not to mention timely and political. As an introduction to Ellis' classic early years (and in particular, his work with Treasure Isle producer Duke Reid), Be True to Yourself is hard to beat. ~ Steve Leggett

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Be True to Yourself: The Godfather of Lover's Rock (Anthology 1965-1973)

Alton Ellis

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DISCO 1

1
Something You've Got 00:02:34

The Flames, Composer - Alton Ellis, Composer, Vocals - Arthur "Duke" Reid, Producer - Alton Ellis & The Flames, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1965 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

2
Dance Crasher 00:02:40

Alton Ellis, Vocals, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1965 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company

3
Don't Trouble People 00:03:01

The Flames, MainArtist - Alton Ellis, MainArtist - The Baba Brooks Band, MainArtist - Arthur "Duke" Reid, Producer

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1966 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

4
The Preacher 00:02:15

Alton Ellis, Vocals - Alton Ellis & The Flames, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1966 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

5
Blessings of Love 00:02:27

The Flames, Performance - Alton Ellis, Performance - Alton Ellis & The Flames, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1966 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company

6
Shake It 00:02:47

Alton Ellis, Vocals - Alton Ellis & The Flames, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1966 Sanctuary Record Group Ltd., a BMG Company

7
Girl I've Got a Date 00:02:30

The Flames, Composer - Alton Ellis, Composer - Arthur "Duke" Reid, Producer - Alton Ellis & The Flames, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1966 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

8
How Can I 00:02:56

Alton Ellis, Vocals - Alton Ellis & The Flames, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1968 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

9
Cry Tough 00:02:17

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1966 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company

10
Rock Steady 00:02:40

The Flames, Composer - Alton Ellis, Composer - Duke Reid, Producer - Arthur "Duke" Reid, Producer - Alton Ellis & The Flames, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1967 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company

11
Duke of Earl 00:03:23

Arthur "Duke" Reid, Producer - Alton Ellis & The Flames, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1967 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

12
All My Tears (Come Rolling) 00:02:44

Arthur "Duke" Reid, Producer - Alton Ellis & The Flames, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1967 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company

13
Ain't That Loving You 00:02:49

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist - Arthur "Duke" Reid, Producer

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1967 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

14
Why Birds Follow Spring (with Tommy McCook) 00:02:25

Tommy McCook, Vocals, FeaturedArtist - The Supersonics, MainArtist - Arthur "Duke" Reid, Producer - Alton Ellis & The Flames, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1967 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

15
If I Could Rule This World 00:02:27

Alton Ellis, Producer, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1967 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

16
Oowee Baby (Baby I Love You) 00:02:18

Arthur "Duke" Reid, Producer - Alton Ellis & The Flames, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1968 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

17
My Willow Tree 00:02:45

Tommy McCook, Composer - Alton Ellis, Composer, MainArtist - The Supersonics, Composer - Arthur "Duke" Reid, Producer

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1968 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

18
I Can't Stop Now 00:03:23

Alton Ellis, Vocals, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1968 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

19
Why Did You Leave Me to Cry 00:02:40

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist - Phyllis Dillon, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1968 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company

20
I Can't Stand It 00:02:22

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist - Lloyd Williams, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1968 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company

21
My Time is the Right Time 00:02:48

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1968 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

22
Bye Bye Love 00:02:10

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1968 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

23
Tonight (aka "Feeling Inside") 00:03:12

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1968 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

24
Give Me Your Love 00:01:53

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1968 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

25
Keep On Yearning 00:02:02

The Flames, Performance - Alton Ellis, Performance - Alton Ellis & The Flames, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1971 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

26
La La (Means I Love You) 00:03:05

Alton Ellis, Vocals, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1968 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

27
If I Had the Right 00:03:05

The Flames, Performance - Alton Ellis, Performance - Alton Ellis & The Flames, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1968 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

28
Breaking Up 00:02:59

Tommy McCook, Saxophone, MainArtist - Alton Ellis, MainArtist - The Supersonics, MainArtist - Arthur "Duke" Reid, Producer

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1968 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

29
Diana 00:02:08

Paul Anka, Composer - Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist - Arthur "Duke" Reid, Producer

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1969 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

30
Remember That Sunday 00:02:35

Alton Ellis, Vocals, MainArtist - Phyllis Dillon, Vocals, MainArtist - Arthur "Duke" Reid, Producer

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1970 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

DISCO 2

1
What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) 00:03:20

Alton Ellis, MainArtist - Arthur "Duke" Reid, Producer

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1970 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

2
You Made Me So Very Happy 00:02:53

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist - Arthur "Duke" Reid, Producer

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1970 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

3
Black Man's World (aka "Black Man, White Man") 00:02:51

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1970 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

4
I'll Be Waiting 00:03:20

Winston Riley, Producer - Alton Ellis, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1970 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company

5
It's Your Thing 00:02:57

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1970 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company

6
(Lord) Deliver Us 00:03:04

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1970 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

7
Back to Africa 00:02:26

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1970 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

8
Wide World 00:03:57

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1971 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

9
You Said It Again (aka "I'll Make It Up To You") 00:03:31

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1971 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

10
Working On a Groovy Thing 00:04:12

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1971 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

11
Hey World 00:02:24

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1971 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

12
True Born African 00:03:10

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1971 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

13
(If I) Don't Care 00:03:05

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1971 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

14
Harder and Harder 00:02:47

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1971 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

15
Play It Cool (aka "Rock On Time") 00:02:35

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1971 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

16
Be True (To Yourself) 00:02:40

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1971 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

17
(Baby) I'm Trying 00:02:44

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1972 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

18
Wonderful World 00:03:09

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1972 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

19
Big Bad Boy 00:02:22

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1972 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

20
You Are Mine 00:03:39

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1972 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

21
All That We Need Is Love 00:02:02

Keith Hudson, Producer - Alton Ellis, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1972 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

22
(I Don't Know Why) Truly 00:03:28

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1972 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

23
Alphabetically Yours 00:03:27

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1972 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

24
I See My Future in You 00:02:20

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1973 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

25
Alton's Official Daughter 00:02:55

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1973 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

26
Better Get Your Heads Together (aka "I'll Take Your Hand") 00:03:30

Alton Ellis, Performance, MainArtist

2004 Trojan Recordings Ltd., a BMG Company 1973 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

Descripción del álbum

Alton Ellis created a template in the 1960s that subsequent Jamaican singers like Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs would follow to a T, combining soulful vocal phrasing, derived in part from American R&B, with hard island rhythms and a bent for romantic material into a surefire way to keep a presence on the charts. Although he is often celebrated for his subtle Jamaican interpretations of American pop hits (which often improved on the originals, as is the case here with Ellis' version of Chuck Jackson's "Willow Tree"), it is startling to realize how many of the best songs on this two-disc, 56-track compilation of Ellis' early years were actually written by the singer. "Dance Crasher," "Cry Tough," "The Preacher," "Black Man's World," "Harder and Harder," and "Better Get Your Heads Together" were all penned by Ellis, and his soaring tenor renders them both poignant and irresistible. It's also interesting how many of the tracks deal squarely with social issues, and while there are plenty of romantic ballads included here, Ellis clearly had a wider range of concerns than his public persona as a crooner would afford. Songs like "Cry Tough" (with its classic "how can a man be tougher than the world" interjection by Lloyd Charmers) are immortal, in part because of Ellis' emotive and nuanced vocals, but also because the writing is so smart, wise, and assured, not to mention timely and political. As an introduction to Ellis' classic early years (and in particular, his work with Treasure Isle producer Duke Reid), Be True to Yourself is hard to beat. ~ Steve Leggett

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