Artist Info

The Ethiopians

Essentially a mouthpiece for singer and songwriter Leonard Dillon, the Ethiopians were one of Jamaica's most influential vocal groups during their heyday. Not only did the duo (completed by Stephen Taylor) spearhead the transition between ska and rocksteady, Dillon's heavily Rastafarian lyrics also paved the way for the socially conscious roots reggae era that was to come. Born in Port Antonio in 1942, Dillon grew up in a Christian family and discovered music through their church. Having written some original songs, he moved to Kingston in 1963; finding the going difficult, he returned home for a time to regroup, but made the move back to Kingston permanently in 1964. Not long after, he met Peter Tosh, who liked his original material and introduced Dillon to the rest of the Wailers. The Wailers in turn brought Dillon to Clement "Coxsone" Dodd's Studio One, where Dillon made his first recordings under the name Jack Sparrow. Two Sparrow singles, "Ice Water" and "Suffering on the Land," were both released in 1965.