Friday, September 23, 2016

Day 328 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Hortense Ellis - I'm Just A Girl

Keeping the Studio One vibes going with one from The First Lady of Song, Hortense Ellis.  When Hortense was just eighteen she tried out for the Vere Johns Opportunity Hour, a talent contest that ran of RJR radio, and met with immediate success.  During the 60's Hortense Ellis toured with Byron Lee & The Dragonaires and even recorded with some of the island's greatest producers including Ken Lack, Duke Reid and Coxsone Dodd.  Dodd at the time was also producing her older brother Alton and decided to capitalize on the family relationship by putting together a handful of "female" adaptations of Alton's hits for Hortense to record and even teamed them up for a couple duets.  In 1970 the Ellis' toured Canada together and the following year Hortense got married and had five children but still found time to get into the studio.  Throughout the 70s she recorded for Lee Perry, Gussie Clarke, Bunny Lee and even worked with Sly & Robbie during the advent of the "Lovers Rock" sub-genre.  Sadly Hortense Ellis passed away at the age of 59 in October of 2000.  But this one, "I'm Just A Girl," co-written with Alton and serving as the female response to his "I'm Just A Guy," riding the classic Vanity riddim and released circa 1967, is a top-notch tune! A great soulful voice that we lost way too soon. Of note... as far as I an ascertain this is the original version which features the Sound Dimension doing the backing and is not this is one that Dodd recut in 1979 using the Brentford Disco Set.  Both takes are nice but this one seems to really capture Hortense Ellis' voice at its finest!

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