The Ethiopians

All the Hits

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The Ethiopians were one of the best of the many vocal groups to come up during Jamaica's rocksteady period. What set them apart from a good number of their contemporaries, though, were their percussion-heavy mixes and spiritually focused lyrical elements that presaged the expanded sonic-scape and religiousness (Rastafarianism) of the coming reggae sound. Trojan's All the Hits includes some of the Ethiopians trailblazing work from 1966-1972: a cross section of styles including the late-ska cut "Free Man," breakthrough rocksteady numbers like "Train to Skaville" and "Everything Crash," and the early reggae tracks "The Pirate" and "The Word Is Love." The subject matter of the lyrics reflect the music's variety, taking in biblical themes, civil liberties, and (in a lighter mode) the island's beauty. This Ethiopians collection is one of the best and most representative available and even offers a bit of a crash-course history of Jamaican music (kudos to Steve Barrow for his fine liner notes on this and many other Trojan reissues).

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