musicology #323


DownbeatTheRuler #3

(Alton & Hortense Ellis – Easy Squeeze)

Out all day yesterday working the tees so apologies for not dropping a next ‘Downbeat bomb’ through your speakers. Hopefully today’s slice of the Coxsone pie will make up for it.

A classic piece of Brentford Road Rock Steady that has trembled my marrow for many years. Could have thrown it down a few times on previous themes but for reason unbeknown to ‘mesang’ didn’t until today.

One of the most emotive, hard hitting, Rough & Tough cuts of the Rock Steady period in my humble opinion…lyrics, vocals, music all combining in soul searching harmony to communicate a message concerning  the quest for that most elusive of feelings, True Love.

Recorded and first released in 1966? for Dodd by the Godfather Of Rocksteady Alton Ellis alongside his younger Sister Hortense, both of whom are sadly no longer with us. What is however (and will be for as long as music like this is being loved and played), are their ‘works’ many of which sit comfortably at the very top of the musicology tree.

Hortense was Jamaica’s ‘first female vocalist’ cutting her teeth as early as 1959 on such legendary talent shows as Vere John’s Opportunity hour, (where many a ‘Jam Down’ legend begun their careers), but it wasn’t until a few years later in 1961 under the tutelage of Downbeat that she begun a recording career. For sure having Alton as a brother helped but anyone who has heard her sing would agree that merit was the foundation stone apoun which she built a career that stretched right up to her untimely death in 2000 AD. Recording for many of the greatest Jamaican producers such as Duke Reid, Bunny Lee, Harry Mudie and Gussie Clarke, (to name a few)

As regulars may be aware Alton has featured more than any other Jamaican artist on themusicologist over the preceeding two years so I won’t wax lyrical on the man and his music today other than to reiterate that it was he and the previous Artist, (Bob Andy), who first opened my ears and heart to Downbeat The Ruler’s output and for that I am eternally grateful..

So in Tribute to the memories of Alton, Hortense and Clement Seymour ‘Sir Coxsone / Downbeat The Ruler’ Dodd hold this…..

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