Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Say a prayer for "The Godfather of Rocksteady"

Say a prayer for 'The Godfather of Rocksteady'
Alton Ellis being treated for cancer in London hospital
By Basil Walters Sunday Observer staff reporter waltersb@jamaicaobserver.com
Sunday, December 16, 2007

Alton Ellis, the man acclaimed as 'The Godfather of Rocksteady', has, for several weeks now, been in hospital in London undergoing treatment for cancer of the lymph glands and is scheduled to start chemotherapy soon.

"His kids and wife were keeping vigil at his bedside," said the singer's nephew, comedian Owen 'Blacka' Ellis, in an e-mail to this reporter. "It is looking more hopeful now."

Alton Neamiah Ellis was born 63 years ago and is regarded as one of Jamaica's finest musical treasures for almost 50 years.
Born into an artistic family, he is also uncle to another popular comedian, Ity of Ity and Fancy Cat fame; and brother of the late songstress Hortense Ellis, Leslie Ellis (the father of Blacka & Ity Ellis) who used to be a member of the Flames, as well as pioneer steel pannist Irving Ellis.

The legendary singer/songwriter, who began his artistic life as a dancer, is best known for musical jewels such as Cry Tough, Can't Stand It, All My Tears Come Rolling, Tumbling Tears, Can't Stop Now, and Girl I've Got A Date.

Ellis shares the distinction with Eddie Perkins - with whom he formed the duo Alton and Eddie - of scoring a hit with their first recording, Muriel.

Throughout his career, Ellis has recorded a slew of other hits, among them a cover of Chuck Jackson's smash, Williow Tree, If I Could Rule This World, Why (Birds Follow Spring), Dance Crasher, the sentimental I'm Just A Guy, Ain't That Loving You, La La Means I Love You,This Feeling of Love, Breaking Up Is So Hard To Do, I'm Still In Love With You Girl, Pearl, Christmas Coming, the sequel to Sunday Coming and Lord Deliver Us.

Apart from his smooth, soulful, infectious vocal styling, and his slick stage presence, a signature feature of Ellis's musical career is his ability to put his stamp on the songs of other singers in such a way that they become reggae anthems.

His most profound example of this is his treatment of Let Him Try, originally recorded by Rosco Gordon.

Original article can be found here: Jamaican Observer article on Alton Ellis

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