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Artist: Alton Ellis Album: Cry Tough

Year: 1993
Duration: 59:15

Cry Tough by Alton Ellis: An Album Worth Listening to - A

Music is a universal language that touches our hearts and souls in ways no other medium can. And if you're a music lover, then you know that there are some albums that just hit different- albums that you can't get enough of, no matter how many times you listen to them. Today, we're going to talk about one of those albums - Cry Tough by Alton Ellis. This album is regarded as one of the best in the rocksteady genre and is a must-listen for anyone who is a fan of the genre or is just looking for good music. In this post, we're going to take a critical look at the album and see what makes it so special.
Before we dive into the album itself, let's take a brief look at the artist who created it- Alton Ellis. Alton Ellis was a Jamaican musician and one of the pioneers of the rocksteady genre. He was known for his smooth vocals and the emotional depth of his music. He started his career in the 1950s, and by the 1960s, he had become one of the most popular singers in Jamaica.
Now let's talk about the album. Cry Tough was released in 1973 and was Ellis's first album for the Virgin label. The album consists of ten tracks, and each track has its own unique sound and style. The album is a mix of original compositions and covers of popular songs. The sound of the album is quintessentially rocksteady - a slower and more melodic version of ska, with a focus on the bassline and drums.
One of the best songs on the album is the titular track Cry Tough. The song is a perfect showcase of Ellis's vocals and the emotional depth of his music. The lyrics are about a man who is struggling to deal with a broken heart and the pain that comes along with it. The song is both heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time, and it's hard not to feel something when you listen to it.
Another standout track on the album is African Descendants. The song is a celebration of African heritage and culture and highlights the struggles that Black people face in their daily lives. The lyrics are powerful and thought-provoking, and the music is both uplifting and energizing. The track also features some excellent horn arrangements and a killer bassline.
One of the most innovative parts of the album is the use of horns and strings. Most rocksteady music is grounded in a basic instrumental setup of bass, drums, guitar, and organ, but Cry Tough takes this formula and adds some additional instrumentation that elevates the sound of the album. The use of horns and strings on tracks like Knock on Wood and Alphabetically Yours adds a layer of depth and complexity to the music that is rare in the genre.
So, what's the verdict on Cry Tough? The album is undoubtedly a classic of the rocksteady genre and is a must-listen for anyone who is a fan of Jamaican music. Ellis's vocals are flawless throughout the album, and the instrumental arrangements are tight and well-executed . Although some of the tracks feel a bit dated, the album as a whole still feels fresh and relevant today. The only real criticism of the album is that some of the tracks lack the emotional depth that is present in others, but this is a relatively minor complaint when compared to the overall quality of the album.
In conclusion, Cry Tough is an album that is definitely worth listening to. From Alton Ellis's smooth vocals to the innovative instrumental arrangements, there's something for everyone on this album. So, whether you're a die-hard fan of the rocksteady genre or just looking for some good music, we highly recommend giving Cry Tough a listen - you won't regret it!