sixartist, sixtune, sixweekspecial #14
(Alton Ellis – You Make Me Happy)
day two of the Alton selection is a piece from the early 70’s cut for Jamaica’s dominant production house, Coxsone Dodd’s Studio1. After a succesfull spell at rival Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle singing rocksteady classics Alton returned to Studio1, (I imagine), as the sweet and heavy sounds coming out of Brentford Road at that time were second to none, (Treasure Isle was also on it’s last legs)
With musicologists such as Jackie Mitto and Leroy Sibbles, (to name but two), at the controls the Studio1 sound had evolved into something special as well as unique and no studio could contest Dodd’s during this period. (it would take Channel 1, structured on the Studio1 sound, to try and wrest control from Coxsone in the mid 70’s),
Alton and Coxsone collaborated successfully at the birth of the Jamaican music industry in 1959 and although there would have been no love lost due to their previous financial dealings both knew their musical ‘onions’ inside out and had great respect for each others musical knowledge so a reunion was always on the cards…Alton Ellis had a very special quality that few possess, namely to make any tune sound like his own..
this song, (extended dancehall ‘discomix’), co written by Brenda Holloway and Frank Wilson, was made ‘famous’ by the group Blood, Sweat & Tears but for themusicologist Alton’s is the one that does it most justice…
for another example of the man’s special quality check Alton’s rendition of the Bee Gees song Massachusetts, (musicology #60), thrown down during ‘coversweek’