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Alton Ellis O.D. still here in spirit!

13 October 2008

One of Jamaica's great singers has passed on after 70 earth years of life. He leaves behind a moving legacy of reggae history with over 200 single releases to his name. He also leaves behind an extended family. Blessing to all his family, friends and fans (Dean - hold strong).

Make no mistake this man was a reggae king. He came to conquer with 'Dance Crasher' at the end of the Ska era (1965)  which followed an early R'n'B hit 'Muriel'  in 1960 with partner Eddy Perkins. Other tunes of the R'n'B period where 'My Heaven', 'Let Me Dream' and 'I Am Never Going to Cry'.

The album 'Mr Soul Jamaica' made him the undisputed Rocksteady master with great tunes like 'Ain't That Loving You' , Remember That Sunday and one of my all time favourites 'Wise Birds Follow Spring' . Huge single success came with 'Ain't That Loving You' , 'Cry Tough'  and 'Duke of Earl' for Duke Reid. He made hits for Coxone like the massive 'I'm Still In Love'  (also made by his sister Hortense), 'I'm Just A Guy'  and 'Black Man's Pride'. Later he had a big hit with Lloyd (the Matador) Daley 'Back To Africa' .

Alton was known as  a Rocksteady (or Soul) singer (Mr Rock 'n' Soul) but it would be easy to overlook, 'Rasta Spirit',  'African Descendants', 'Arise Black Man'  and 'Love Is The Answer' which spoke of his abiding spirit and dedication to the cause of black conciousness.

Alton worked hard right up to the end; a true star and master of his art.

They say that the Jamaican government is considering a state funeral (what is there to consider?).

Incidentally I have seen his birth year noted as 1944 (Virgin Encyclopaedia)  and 1935 (Solid Foundation).  Just goes to show that it is better not to believe too many 'facts'.

Peach

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