879. Alton Ellis - Slummin’
#altonellis // #ughwax // #clocktowerrecords
Day 879 of @ughwax
#reggae #rocksteady #jamaica #ska #nowspinning #catsofinstagram #waffleconethecat ***
Born Alton Nehemiah Ellis in Trenchtown, Kingston, Jamaica, Ellis was raised within a musical family which included his older brothers Leslie [who performed as one of his back up singers and co-wrote some of his songs], and Irving [known as 'Niney'] who was a popular singer and steel pan player on Jamaica's North Coast. He learned to play the piano at a young age. He attended Ebeneezer and Boys' Town schools, where he excelled in both music and sport. While at Boys' Town Ellis performed as a dancer (in a duo) in the first show that a school director called Mr Bailey had organized for Vere Johns who had been invited down to talent scout. He would later compete on Vere Johns' Opportunity Hour. After winning some competitions, he switched to singing, starting his career in 1959 as part of the duo Alton & Eddy with Eddy Parkins.
Ellis remained in Kingston, working as a printer and after losing his job, he restarted his music career, initially forming a new duo with John Holt. When Holt joined The Paragons, Ellis formed a new group, The Flames. Ellis continued to work for Dodd and also recorded for his arch-rival, Duke Reid on his Treasure Isle label. At the start of his career Ellis recorded with his younger sister Hortense; early tracks with Hortense like "Don't Gamble With Love" (1965) were still in the R&B style.
Ellis toured the United Kingdom in the 1967 with Ken Boothe and Studio One session band the Soul Vendors and on his return to Jamaica he worked with Dodd, recording the tracks that would be released as his debut album Alton Ellis Sings Rock & Soul. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Ellis recorded for some of Jamaica's top producers including Bunny Lee, Keith Hudson, and Herman Chin Loy. He also began to produce his own records, including "My Time Is The Right Time" (1968) and "The Message". He had two hits with Lloyd Daley in "Deliver Us" (1970) and "Back to Africa" (1971), both released in the UK on the Gas record label, a subsidiary of Pama Records.