Alton Ellis Remembered

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One of my all time favorite artists, Alton Ellis passed away today and will be missed by many across the world. Alton was a former member of The Heptones, another of my favorite groups from the Finest Years era. Listen to or download a copy of The Finest Years, and The Book of Life at www.highlanda.net for a taste of some Alton Ellis selections mixed with other timeless masterpieces.

It comes with great sorrow that I spread the news that Mr. Soul of Jamaica, Alton Ellis, passed away on the morning of October 9th. The world was given this treasure in 1944 when he was born in Trenchtown, Kingston, JA. His career spanned nearly five decades and his ever-lasting impression on the future of Jamaican music came in the mid- to late-sixties as the riddim-laden grooves filled with his soulful melodies permeated the upbeat vibrations of the ska era. The summer of ‘66 saw the explosion of rocksteady in the Kingston scene and Alton ruled the dancehalls during this time as he cuts tunes for Studio One and Treasure Isle among others.

His musical longevity persisted for years and years and he enjoyed much-deserved praise from a new generation of listeners as ska and rocksteady made a revival in the late nineties. Among them was myself, who had goosebumps on my skin when hearing his voice for the first time around the age of 16. Over time, I became exposed to more and more of his tunes, none of which every left me without my heart beating at a faster pace or a tear in my eye from the passionate sounds coming out of my hi-fi. His sound truly made a lifelong impression on me and he will forever be missed in my heart.

Alton…your music was there with me during the joy-filled times in my life and it was also there during those dark, lonely times. We’ll sit under the willow tree together with Phyllis one day and I’ll tell you all about it.

From: www.thegoldbrick.net

When the Roll is called up yonder, Alton Ellis will be singing there…

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In these times turn to ‘The Book of Life’

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One of the reasons I love foundation (reggae) music is because of how the messages brought forth in songs recorded decades ago still can be applied directly to life today. Many of the lyrics and concepts are actually quotes from biblical texts sung over reggae bass lines. The Highlanda mixtape entitled ‘The Book of Life’ is dedicated to such selections from the Finest Years era and offers the wisdom of the ancients to those who will listen. ‘That’s right! If a reality you want, let me hear you shout out Highlanda!’ Listen to the Book of Life, now streaming online at www.highlanda.net. This mix will also be available as an mp3 file for download on demand soon. I welcome your comments and feedback.

Song List
1 – Intro – Tings Change
2 – Armageddon Time – Willie Williams
3 – Fussing and Fighting – Dennis Brown
4 – Cool Out Son – Junior Murvin
5 – No Man’s Land – Cornell Campbell
6 – Tribal War – John Holt
7 – Wolves and Leopards – Dennis Brown
8 – Whip Them Jah Jah – Dennis Brown
9 – No Man is an Island – Dennis Brown
10 – Never Gonna Give Jah Up – Sugar Minott
11 – Created By the Father – Dennis Brown
12 – Feeling Soul – Bob Andy
13 – Police and Thieves – Junior Murvin
14 – Satisfy My Soul – Bob Marley and the Wailers
15 – Slave Driver – Bob Marley and the Wailers

16 – I am the Conqueror – Dennis Brown
17 – Rebel Music – Bob Marley and the Wailers
18 – General Penitentiary – Black Uhuru
19 – Were Gonna Fight – The Heptones
20 – Fade Away – Junior Byles
21 – Unchained – Bob Andy
22 – Hog and Goat – Don Carlos
23 – Cost of Living – Half Pint
24 – Early Sunday Morning – Eek A Mouse
25 – Praise Jehovah – Tenor Saw
26 – Ruff Ole Life – Sugar Minott
27 – M-16 – Sammy Dread
28 – Rudeboy Skanking – Israel Vibration
29 – Skylarking – Horace Andy
30 – See A Man’s Face – Horace Andy

31 – Truths and Rights – Johnny Osborne
32 – Mr. Bassie – Horace Andy
33 – I Need A Roof – The Mighty Diamonds
34 – Jah Promise – Johnny Osborne
35 – Bobby Babylon – Freddie McGregor
36 – I Shall Sing – Marcia Griffiths
37 – Better Must Come – Delroy Wilson
38 – None Shall Escape – Johnny Clarke