TVD Radar: Ethiopian
& His All Stars, The Return of Jack Sparrow 2LP in stores 6/25

VIA PRESS RELEASE | When Omnivore Recordings acquired the label Nighthawk Records and Blackheart Music Publishing in 2017, it kicked off reissuing Nighthawk’s catalog with an album that until then had remained unreleased: Ethiopian & His All Stars’ The Return of Jack Sparrow. On June 25, 2021, that album will be available as a 2-LP vinyl package. The CD and digital remain available.

Reggae legend Leonard Dillon, better known as the Ethiopian, was the founder of one of Jamaica’s premier ska, rocksteady, and early reggae sensations, the Ethiopians, but got his start under the name Jack Sparrow. His early solo Sparrow single efforts, some backed by the Wailers, didn’t yield any hits and prompted him to form the Ethiopians, with whom he found his first success. So popular was their track “Train to Skaville” that the band was able to tour beyond Jamaica; they headed to the U.K. in 1968. “Train to Skaville” sold over 50,000 copies in Jamaica and although it only made a slight appearance on the U.K. charts it left a lasting impression — so much so that it was later covered by the Selector during the ska revival of the early ’80s.

The Ethiopians maintained a successful career until the tragic passing of band member Stephen Taylor in 1975, victim of a car accident. Though other lineups of the Ethiopians were recorded, by 1978 Leonard was a solo artist releasing his first album that year, Open the Gate of Zion.

By 1986 Leonard had already recorded two albums under his own name when he paired with Gladiators for Dread Prophecy on Nighthawk Records (currently available on CD / LP / Digital). What isn’t commonly known is that Leonard had also recorded a second album for Nighthawk that remained unissued until Omnivore released it on CD and Digital in 2018.

From the liner notes: “In 1987, Leonard toured the United States with the Gladiators. On that tour, Robert Schoenfeld, the owner of Nighthawk Records met Winston Grennan, a Jamaican drummer who recalled his glory days when he played with the Beverley’s All Stars, the hot studio band behind late ’60s Beverley’s label hits by the Maytals, Derrick Morgan, and Desmond Dekker. On his return to St. Louis, Robert hatched a plan to bring that all-star session band together again in the studio to back a legendary Jamaican vocalist.” That legendary Jamaican vocalist was Leonard Dillion, the Ethiopian. Omnivore Recordings is proud to present for the first time on vinyl The Return of Jack Sparrow.

About Nighthawk Records | St. Louis-based label Nighthawk Records was founded in 1976 to release post-war blues compilations. However, by 1980 it functioned as a primarily roots-reggae label, with its producers traveling from St. Louis to Kingston, Jamaica to create a catalog of albums by reggae legends such as the Gladiators, Winston Jarrett and the Famous Flames, Junior Byles, Ethiopian, Justin Hinds and the Dominoes, Culture, Ronnie Davis and Idren, and Justin Hinds. When Omnivore Recordings acquired the label in 2017 it began reissuing the material on CD and digital formats with the help of original Nighthawk producer Leroy Jodie Pierson. Most of the reissues feature previously unissued bonus tracks, and include updated artwork and liner notes from Pierson.

In 2019, Omnivore extended the revitalization of the label to include the first vinyl pressings of the catalog since the originals. Titles currently available on vinyl include Full Time, Serious Thing, and Symbol of Reality by Gladiators, Jonestown by Winston Jarrett and the Righteous Flames, Travel With Love by Justin Hinds and the Dominoes, Rasta No Pickpocket by Junior Byles, Dread Prophecy by Ethiopian & Gladiators, plus the new collections The Nighthawk Recordings by Culture and the Various Artists set Send I a Lion: A Nighthawk Reggae Joint. Now, the previously unissued The Return of Jack Sparrow by Ethiopian & His All Stars joins the list of Nighthawk reggae titles now available across all formats.

Track Listing:
DISC 1
SIDE 1

1. Slender Thread
2. Your Promise
3. Straight On Rastafari
4. Straight On Version
5. I Need Someone

SIDE 2
1. I Need Someone Dub
2. Are You Loving Me
3. Train To Skaville
4. Mother’s Tender Care
5. I’m Gonna Take Over

DISC 2
SIDE 1

1. Take Over Version
2. Flirty Flirty Guys
3. Live Good
4. Live Good Dub
5. Band Your Belly

SIDE 2
1. Beggars Have No Choice
2. Do It Sweet
3. Let’s Get Together Now
4. Heavenly Father
5. Heavenly Father Interlude

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