The Ethiopians  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Ethiopians were a ska, rocksteady, and reggae vocal group, founded by Leonard Dillon (9 December 1942, Port Antonio, Jamaica – 28 September 2011), Stephen Taylor and Aston Morris. The group started out recording for Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd in 1966.

Dillon had previously released some mento songs under the name Jack Sparrow. Around late 1966, Morris left the Ethiopians. Having left Dodd, the Ethiopians started recording at Dynamic Studios for the W.I.R.L. label, releasing the rocksteady "Train to Skaville", which was their first success. In 1968, they recorded the song "Everything Crash", their first big hit. The song criticised the political situation in Jamaica at the time, such as water rationing and power cuts that led to unrest; such as an incident in which thirty one people were shot by the police. "Everything Crash" was later covered by Prince Buster. "The Whip" is another of their enduring songs from that period.

In 1969 they released the album, Reggae Power, and in 1970, Woman a Capture Man. Between 1970 and 1975, the Ethiopians switched from producer to producer, releasing songs such as "No Baptism", "Pirate", and "Good Ambition". Reid left the group in 1974. In September 1975, Taylor was killed by a van while he was crossing a road. In 1977, Dillon's fellow Ethiopians members Bro Fatty, Bro Ewing, Bro T, Mello and Hychi Dread released the album Slave Call, under The Ethiopians name.

In 1991, Dillon recorded the solo album On the Road Again. Toward the end of the 1990s, Dillon formed a new Ethiopians lineup with female backing vocalists Jennifer Lara and Merlene Webber, who appeared on the 1999 album, Tuffer Than Stone.

After developing a brain tumor, on 28 September 2011 Dillon died at his daughter's home in Kingston, Jamaica.

Album discography

  • Engine '54: Let's Ska and Rock Steady - (1968) - Jamaican Gold
  • Reggae Power - (1969)
  • Woman a Capture Man - (1970) - Trojan
  • Slave Call - (1977) - Heartbeat
  • Dread Prophecy - (1989) - Nighthawk
  • Let's Ska and Rock Steady - (1990) - VP Records
  • Clap Your Hands - (1993) - Lagoon
  • Sir J.J. & Friends - (1993) - Lagoon
  • Owner Fer De Yard - (1994) - Heartbeat
  • Train to Skaville - (1999) - Charly
  • Tuffer Than Stone - (1999) - Warriors
  • Skaville Princess - (2000) - Dressed to Kill
  • Train to Skaville: Anthology 1965-1975 - (2002) - Trojan - compilation

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Ethiopians" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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