Alton Ellis, one of the original rocksteady grandfathers, made his transition on Friday evening. Ellis, who was known mainly for tunes such as "Dancecrasher," "Girl I've Got a Date," and "I'm Just a Guy," provided the tracks that launched the careers of many singers who covered the I-tinually buoyant "I'm Sill in Love." He also provided some good rub-a-dub for many parties in uptown and downtown Kingston and all around Jamdown.
We've lost a great pioneer whose music goes back to the days when the word "shotta" did not exist--not that there weren't rude bwais. But the sheer innocence and optimism of the Ellis's music reminds me of a time when the island was not ruled by fear of the gunman, and you could walk down the street singing, "I'm Just a Guy," or even try singing it to a dawta. For here was a song written in your own idiom and without any apologies for the emotion or delivery.
Enjoy some more of his clips here, and give thanks to the I-dren who whether for love or money preserved these clips.
But most of all, give thanks, Alton!