|Tags:||reggae rocksteady ska jamaica roots|
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1944, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies. Ellis, Jamaicas most soulful singer, celebrated 30 years in the business several years ago and yet he is still making important records. In many ways he epitomizes the story of reggae vocalists: a start in the business at a very early age, massive popularity for a limited period, and a gradual decline in prominence while continuing to make excellent records. In addition to his songwriting abilities and voice, Ellis particular gift was his ability to take R&B or soul songs and place them in a specifically Jamaican context, and so make them reggae songs rather than mere cover versions. Ellis was born into a musical family, and he first recorded in the late 50s as part of a duo with singer Eddy Perkins for Randys and Studio One as Alton And Eddy. They enjoyed some success in the R&B style and Muriel was a massive hit for them. Perkins departed soon afterwards for a solo career and...