ELLIS, NOEL: Self-titled: CD

Noel Ellis, son of rocksteady giant Alton Ellis, released this, his debut album, in 1979. One listen and it’s clear why it’s been something of a collector’s item since. Blessed with a great voice in his own right, Noel serves up six fine conscious reggae tunes that each devolve somewhere at the midpoint into dub, losing none of the power established at the outset. Those with a more than passing interest in The Clash will notice that “Rocking Universally,” bears a strong resemblance to “Armagideon Time,” which makes sense considering the composer of that tune, Willie Williams, plays percussion here, as do some other reggae greats, including Jackie Mitoo and Johnny Osbourne. Included is a booklet packed with info about Noel, the place and time period in which this was recorded, and where his and the other musicians’ heads were at while working on the album. Good, good stuff.

 –jimmy (Light in the Attic)