The Return Of Jack Sparrow
CD / Digital release date: December 15, 2017
2-LP release date: June 25, 2021
Previously unissued album by reggae legend, the Ethiopian backed by an all-star band reuniting for this recording!
Omnivore Recordings is proud to announce the acquisition of Nighthawk Records and Blackheart Music Publishing. Omnivore’s reissue of the Nighthawk catalog begins with an album that until now has remained unreleased.
Reggae legend, Leonard Dillon, 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 Jack Sparrow single efforts, some backed by The Wailers, didn’t yield any hits and prompted him to form a group, The Ethiopians, where he found his first success. So popular was their track “Train To Skaville,” that The Ethiopians were able to tour beyond Jamaica and they headed to the U.K. in 1968. “Train To Skaville” sold over 50,000 copies in Jamaica and made a slight appearance on the U.K. charts where it left a lasting impression. So much so, it was later covered by The Selector during the ska revival during 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 line ups 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 (slated for a future reissue on Omnivore). What isn’t commonly known, is Leonard had also recorded a second album for Nighthawk that has until now remained unissued.
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, The Return Of Jack Sparrow.
Slender Thread Your Promise Straight On Rastafari Straight On Version I Need Someone I Need Someone Dub Are You Loving Me Train To Skaville Mother’s Tender Care I’m Gonna Take Over Take Over Version Flirty Flirty Guys Live Good Live Good Dub Band Your Belly Beggars Have No Choice Do It Sweet Let’s Get Together Now Heavenly Father Heavenly Father Interlude