Alton Ellis is one of the best Jamaican vocalists to have emerged during the ska and rocksteady periods in the ’60s. His singing prowess remained intact through the reggae, dancehall, and ragga years as well, proving that his uniquely soulful delivery and impeccable phrasing could transcend reggae’s many changes. Recording with his preferred producer Clement Dodd, Ellis cut Sunday Coming around 1969-1970 at Dodd’s legendary Brentford Road studio. Most likely backed by the producer’s Sound Dimension band (featuring the great Jackie Mittoo as arranger and organist), Ellis offers up a typical set of originals and choice covers from the day’s charts. On the handful of tracks Ellis co-wrote with Dodd, breezy medium-tempo cuts like “It’s True” and “The Picture Was You” particularly stand out; the buoyant soul-based rocksteady beats, occasional jazz chords, and sweet harmonies all seem to be part of a musical setting in which Ellis thrived. The point is substantiated by great Ellis performances on similarly disposed covers like the Guess Who’s “These Eyes,” Blood, Sweat & Tears’ “You Make Me So Very Happy,” and the “Junior Walker hit “What Does It Take (To Win Your Love).” Ellis also shows some musical flexibility with his funky James Brown-inspired jam “Alton’s Groove” and the fine roots reggae track “Reason in the Sky”; he even proves his contemporary relevance on two impressive tracks from 1994, including the updated rocksteady cut “Joy in the Morning” and a digitally enhanced number entitled “The Winner.” This disc is one of Ellis’ best and comes highly recommended to newcomers and reggae enthusiasts alike.
-Stephen Cook, allmusic.com
Alton Ellis-SUNDAY COMING (1970)