Christopher Ellis – Better Than Love EP

November 25, 2013

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Since Alton Ellis’ youngest male progeny Christopher signed with Bob Marley’s sons at Ghetto Youths International, the world has been eager to hear the resulting album. But the Marleys, like fellow reggae heavyweights, Sly and Robbie, create at their own pace. They finish their work when they finish. And they release without warning.

When Stephen Marley began talking up Ellis in interviews back in 2010 many expected he would be the one to produce the first fruits of the partnership. Instead the sparingly recorded youngster’s initial taster EP is helmed by his half-brother Damian. Also this is a far cry from Ellis’ recent singles – the dancehall of Wonda’s Yard Style and the barber shop pop of Junior Gong’s own Don’t Change Your Number. Fans of Alton will be overjoyed to discover it is a return to the modern-classic elegance of Christopher’s time with Peckings.

Ellis has at times struggled with the limitations of singing his dad’s hits on what he called the “karaoke” circuit while at the same time wanting to continue the great man’s legacy. These tracks strike a balance. All are original songs written by Ellis (with a few lines from Damian thrown in) but to the rocksteady and early reggae rhythms of his and Damian’s fathers era. Recorded at Damian’s studio in Miami with a core band and horns overdubbed later, these crisp, clean authentic throwback productions recall Alpheus’ work with Roberto Sanchez. As if we needed reminding post-Distant Relatives, Damian is a very good producer indeed.

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