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Posts Tagged ‘Alton Ellis’

Died On This Date (January 19, 2012) Winston Riley / Jamaican Musician & Producer

Posted by themusicsover on January 19, 2012

Winston Riley
1946 – January 19, 2012

Winston Riley was an influential and pioneering reggae musician, singer, and producer.  Born in Kingston, Riley was just 16 when he formed his first group, the Techniques.  The vocal outfit went on to work with such producers as Byron Lee and Duke Reid before splitting up in 1968.  It was then that Riley formed his own record label and began producing other artists.  Over the next several years, he worked with the likes of the Escorts, Alton Ellis, and Johnny Osbourne.  One of his early productions, 1971’s “Double Barrel” as recorded by Dave and Ansel Collins, is considered one of Jamaica’s first international hits for reaching #1 on both the British and Dutch charts.  In fact, Riley is widely considered one of the first people to introduce reggae to England.  He also produced one of reggae’s most influential albums, the 1979 General Echo release, The Slackest.  The list of artists who can give Riley some credit for their success includes Gregory Isaacs, Buju Banton, Sister Nancy, Cutty Ranks, and Frankie Paul. In August of 2011, Riley was stabbed, and then a month later, he was shot in the head.  As of the early months following the incidents, police had not apprehended any suspects nor determined motive.  On January 19, 2012, Winston Riley died of complications from the shooting.  He was 65.

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Reggae Anthology: Winston Riley - Quintessential Techniques Disc 1 - Various Artists

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Died On This Date (November 14, 1984) Keith Hudson / Dub Pioneer

Posted by themusicsover on November 14, 2009

Keith Hudson
1946 – November 14, 1984

keith-hudsonKnown as the “Dark Prince of Reggae,” Keith Hudson was a reggae musician, singer, songwriter and producer who helped usher in the practice of “dub.”  As a child growing up in Kingston, Hudson was a schoolmate of such future legends as Bob Marley, Ken Boothe and Delroy Wilson.  Even at an early age, he gravitated toward the riddems that would eventually be called ska and reggae.  He soon became a disciple of Coxsone Dodd, the legendary Jamaican producer.  In 1960, Hudson produced his first record by a group of musicians who would soon become members of the Skatalites.  His first hit as a producer came in the late ’60s thanks to “Old Fashioned Way,” a record he made with Boothe.  He went on to work with Wilson, Alton Ellis and U-Roy.  He began making his own records during the ’70s and began experimenting with dub.  His albums at the time were critical hits in Jamaica.  His 1975 Pick A Dub is considered a masterpiece and is widely regarded as the very first deliberately thematic dub album.  Hudson moved to New York City not long after the release of Pick A Dub and eventually started his own label.  He was diagnosed with lung cancer during the summer of 1984, and was 38 when he died of it four months later.

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Rasta Communication - Keith Hudson

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Died On This Date (October 10, 2008) Alton Ellis / Godfather Of Rocksteady

Posted by themusicsover on October 10, 2009

Alton Ellis
September 1, 1938 – October 10, 2008

Known as the “Godfather Of Rocksteady,” Alton Ellis was a Jamaican musician who took the elements of ska and slowed them down to a more relaxed beat.  It in turn, paved the way for what we now know as reggae.  A prolific singer, Ellis began his career with Eddy Perkins in the late ’50s as part of a duo, Alton & Eddy, who scored a big Jamaican hit with their “Muriel.”  In the early ’60s, he formed his group, the Flames just as ska was taking hold throughout Jamaica.  He slowed the beat down and recorded a hit song called “Rock Steady” which became the new genre’s name.  In 1967, he recorded a song called “Mad Men” that included a three-note descending horn line which became became a constant in more than 100 reggae songs to follow.  Reinterpretations of it can be heard in hip-hop songs by the likes of Tupac Shakur, KRS-One, and the Notorious B.I.G..  Ellis continued to stay active until his health began to give out in the mid 2000’s.  Diagnosed with cancer in late 2007, Alton Ellis died from it on October 10, 2008.  He was 70 years old.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number1Albums for the assist.

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Sunday Coming - Alton Ellis

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