Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1093

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Review

The Ethiopians : Engine 54

Ras1

8

6.1

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UK release date 29.05.2019

The late 60's was a defining moment for jamacian music and rocksready in particular, it became all the rage in the UK too.Leading the attack was the vocal group,The Ethiopians led by Leonard 'Sparrow' Dillon AKA Jack Sparrow! He had cut his teeth a few years earlier with the legendary Wailers adding his dulcet tones to some of their early singles before branching out and forming his own band.

Engine 54,a largely forgotten minor-classic from the pioneering era, 1968, featuring loads of train imagery and, indeed, a train on the cover. Possibly inspired by the gospel infused 'People Get Ready' ( there's a train a coming) is pure magic.They knew how to work a concept in 1960s Jamaica.

The Ethiopians were an absolutely charming vocal duo of the most delightfu variety. These are pure,unmannered voices, harmonising sweetly over the gently rocking rhythms of the era – quite beautiful, even when straining to connect reggae to its R&B roots. There isn't much of it, but what there is is worth the love.Highlights are the very groovy .'Last Train To Skaville' which still sounds fresh as a daisy as does,the gospel infused 'Train To Glory'. Even 50's r&b gets its props with the vibrant sounding 'Unchanged Love' and the calypso groove of 'Woman's World' adds further spice and variety to this very special collection.
Words Emrys Baird

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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