Sunday, October 12, 2008

Alton Ellis 1938-2008

I hate to interrupt the Spooktacular with sad reality but I just heard the news this morning about the passing of Alton Ellis and I was deeply saddened...

"LONDON (AFP) — Jamaican reggae star Alton Ellis, known as the "Godfather of Rocksteady", died overnight of cancer in London, a hospital spokeswoman said Saturday. He was 70 years old.

Ellis passed away peacefully at Hammersmith Hospital, the spokeswoman said.

The singer-songwriter was diagnosed with multiple myeloma last year. He underwent chemotherapy and returned to the stage before he collapsed during his final performance in central London in August.

Ellis, who moved to Britain in the 1970s, had a string of hits in a career spanning more than 50 years, including "I'm Still In Love", "Dance Crasher" and "I'm Just A Guy".

He was awarded the Order of Distinction medal by Jamaica in 1994.

His manager and agent Trish De Rosa, of Roots-Rockers Promotions, said he was a key figure in Jamaican music.

"His life was the music and the stage," she said.

"He was getting a tremendous amount of work right up to the end -- it was very difficult to get him to slow down.

"He wanted to do as much as he could and leave a strong legacy."

She said Jamaican authorities were considering the possibility of giving Ellis a state funeral.

Laurence Cane-Honeysett, Jamaican music consultant for Trojan Records, said the label had been associated with Ellis throughout his career.

"He was a genuinely lovely man and his songs were heartfelt," he said.

"He was a seminal figure in terms of popularising Jamaican reggae music.

"His death is a terrible loss."

Jamaican reggae singer Delroy Williams, a friend and colleague since the 1960s, described his voice as "the sweetest in the reggae world".

"He was very humble," he said.

"His music is the reason for a lot of babies -- that's how sweet and warm and loving it is.

"It's just a shame that he didn't get the big world hit that he deserved."

Ellis, who lived in the northwest London suburb of Northolt, is survived by his wife and more than 20 children."

As a tribute, I've provided the link to the Alton Ellis mix I did when I first heard that he was very ill and undergoing chemotherapy... Once we get out of October I will definitely be putting together another mix in Alton's honor.

First we're going to hear "Cry Tough" from the 1992 Heartbeat various artists compilation set Duke Reid's Treasure Chest. Next is the tune "You Make Me Happy" from Ellis' 1967 debut album on Treasure Isle "Mr Soul Of Jamaica." Up third is another big tune borrowed from Duke Reid's Treasure Chest and its the timeless, "Girl I've Got A Date." The fourth track is "Sh-Boom (Life Could Be A Dream)" from the Alton Ellis CD compilation called Arise Blackman on the Moll Selekta label. The next tune we're gonna hear is called "We Need Love" from the Studio One LP called Showcase from the mid 70's. Taking a turn for the rub-a-dub next with the Junjo Lawes produced "Skateland Girl" from a Volcano 7" - one of my all-time favorites. The next track is "Willow Tree" lifted from the double CD set The Story Of Treasure Isle on the Metro Music label. Returning to the Arise Blackman set for the next song, it's a good one called "Sun Of Man." Our ninth tune in the mix is "Remember That Sunday" from the Trojan various artists sampler Moonwalk - Treasure Isle Skinhead Reggae Anthems. We follow that up with "How Can I" also from Arise Blackman. "La La Means I Love You," another outstanding Alton Ellis classic, lifted from The Story Of Treasure Isle set, is the next tune. "Stronger Than Before" taken from the Abraham Records LP Slummin' is the twelfth song in the mix. Going back to Studio One we've got "Can I Change My Mind" from the Heartbeat release The Best Of Studio One. We're heading back to Africa with the song "Back To Africa" from the 1992 Heartbeat various artists compilation called Lloyd Daley's Matador Productions 1968-1972. Getting toward the end we're going to hear "It's A Shame" from Blood & Fire's excellent 2001 compilation Darker Than Blue - Soul From Jamdown. Finally we wrap it up with "Loving Mood," Alton's take on Delroy Wilson's hit "Dancing Mood" from the 2005 Moll Selekta various artists CD called The Bunny Lee Rocksteady Years.

Alton Ellis Tribute

Re-Up of the Volcano 7" "Skateland Girl"

1 comment:

Florian said...

thanks for the alton ellis mix and the fantastic skateland girl tune, but i can't download anything from zshare. it always loops me back! can you put an other mirror? RIP Alton "Mr.Soul of Jamaica" Ellis, one of the greatest singers of all time!
greetings from germany