Alton Ellis The Godfather of Rocksteady

                                                                      

Get Ready To Rock Steady

Many consider Alton the greatest Jamaican singer, and in Jamaica his voice is  even bigger than Bob Marley. Dennis Alcapone had this to say about Alton. “Alton was a bigger artist in Jamaica than Bob Marley. Everybody, even Bob, would love if he could sing like Alton Ellis. All of them would sit back and listen to Alton because Alton was the king.” His soulful voice spanned all genres of Jamaican Music from Ska, to Rocksteady , and Reggae as  Alton helped lay the foundation for Jamaican Music.

Alton Ellis came from Trenchtown, the same part of Kingston that was home to stars like Bob Marley. He and  his younger sister Hortense got their start as kids competing on Kingston talent shows like “Vere John’s Opportunity Hour.” In 1959, as half of the duo Alton & Eddie, he recorded the R&B-style scorcher “Muriel,” which became one of the first hit records for the pioneering local producer Clement Dodd.

Alton had many hits with Coxsone and also Duke Reid like  “Girl I’ve Got A Date,” “I’m Just a Guy” and his 1966 classic “Get Ready Rock Steady,” that ushered in a whole new style of music called Rock Steady. It is said that when the track was recorded Jackie Mitto had to fill in for the regular bass player and since that was not his regular instrument he had trouble keeping up with the fast ska beat, so he elected to slow down the tempo. Alton had several other major successes in 1966, including “Cry Tough” and the smash “Girl I’ve Got a Date,” the latter of which became his biggest hit and signature song.

 

Rock steady had  a mellower, slower more soulful sound that formed the bridge between the hard-driving brass of ska and  reggae. It was perfect for Altons sweet tenor voice.“Alton ruled the rock steady era,” Mr. Alcapone said. But Mr. Ellis’s influence did not stop there.

In 1969 his track “Get Ready Rock Steady” was used for “Wake the Town,” featuring DJ U-Roy which started the DJ revolution with it massive popularity. The instrumental track to Alton’s  composition “Mad Mad” became one of the most covered recordings in reggae history, and his 1967 composition “I’m Still in Love With You” was covered several times, most recently by the dancehall artists Sean Paul and Sasha, reaching No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot Singles chart in 2004.

                                                        

Having been so ripped of by Jamaican producers, Alton moved to Canada then to England where he created his own Alltone label. He was also awarded Jamaica’s Order of Distinction in 1994 and was inducted into the International Reggae and World Music Hall of Fame in 2006.

A real pioneer of Jamaican Music and Hailed as the King Of Rock Steady, Alton may have been eclipsed by Marley and Reggae but to many he is truly greatest singer to come from Jamaica.

 Here is a very rare live clip of Alton Ellis.

  

Bob Marley Concerts Website, Livicated to Perserving the history of the most important live performer ever

 

Bob Marley Concerts is  a website livicated to the research, history, documentation, and preservation  of those special moments, Bob Marley performing live. Each Bob Marley show was unique and as fans and historians we are blessed so many were recorded for generations and generations to enjoy.  Why was Bob Marley the most important live performer ever?  No other artist has used the power of music to bring his message and philosophy to the world like Bob Marley.  At his peak performing live Bob was able to out-draw the Pope and blow headlines like the Commadores away with his shows. 

The site features a list of most known Bob concerts, many with set lists and photographs. reviews, cover art, collectors information, and the only place on the web you can listen to various tracks from many different concert performances by Bob Marley.  Most shows on Bob Marley Concerts are in their complete full form easy to listen to for the first time to the mass fans of the King of Reggae. Here is an example of a tribute page on Bob Marley Concerts about the Historic show in Milan, Italy 1980 which includes a setlist, review, and audio for all tracks  > LINK  Here

Here is War live from Milan 1980

The purpose of this site is to document the concerts for historical preservation and research. Bob Marley Concerts does not have any ads, it does not gain any monetary value from the site. The owner is only interested in sharing with the people of the world the works of one of the most influential figures in modern music. From the Beacon Th. in NYC, April 30th 1976 here is an amazing live version of  2. “Rastaman Chant” -> “Lion Of Judah” -> “Keep The Faith”

 

 

 

Click any photo to be taken to Bob Marley Concerts.com

 

 

Bob Marley & The Wailers Reggae Sunsplash II July 7th, 1979

                                                                         

Bob Marley & The Wailers
Reggae Sunsplash II
July 7th, 1979

Reggae Sunsplash was a Jamaican original concert festival.  It attracted people from all of the globe to enjoy multiple days/nights of reggae music.  Bob Marley’s performance was priceless/epic/amazing/historic a true one of a kind performance.  It was his only appearance at Reggae Sunsplash and thankfully this epic set with all Bob’s energy and passion was captured on video and here the complete rare audio recording. This show featured the only
time live versions of “Hypocrites”, “Blackman Redemption”, “Rastaman Live Up”, and also played
for the first time live “Ambush in the Night”.  This how also features a Rare live “Who The Cap Fits” . Below is a brief history of Reggae Sunsplash and audio links.  You can also check the complete Tribute page here which features more pictures from the show.

Bob Marley Concerts Tribute SS 1979 Page

Disc 1 – 41:17
1. Intro > Positive Vibration – 5:29
2. Heathen – 4:47
3. Them Belly Full – 4:14
4. Rebel Music – 5:07
5. War – 2:57
6. No More Trouble – 1:40
7. Running Away – 4:11
8. Crazy Baldhead – 3:54
9. Who The Cap Fit – 5:10
10. Hypocrites – 3:46

Disc 2 – 50:42
1.Blackman Redemption – 3:33
2. Rastaman Live Up (cuts) – 1:22
3. No Woman No Cry – 6:46
4. Lively Up Yourself – 6:57
5. Jammin’ – 6:05
6. Encore – Natural Mystic – 7:26
7. Ambush in the Night – 5:37
8. Get Up Stand Up – 6:07
9. Exodus – 6:45

From the Soundboard with Interviews

Rebel Music

Rastaman Live Up with Interview

No Woman No Cry

Lively Up Yourself

Get Up Stand Up

Exodus with Interview

Interview 1

Interview 2

Interview 3

Interview 4

Hypocrites

Positive Vibrations

History of Reggae Sunsplash from Wiki

The Reggae Sunsplash festival was the brainchild of four Jamaicans – Tony Johnson, Don Green, Ronnie Burke and John Wakeling. The four founding directors created a company called Synergy Productions Ltd, which was responsible for promoting and producing the Reggae Sunsplash festival.

The first Reggae Sunsplash festival was staged at Jarrett Park, Montego Bay, Jamaica in June 1978 and began at dusk and continued until dawn for seven days. It was billed as the “biggest Reggae festival in the history of the world”. The festival introduced the concept of music and travel as a boost to tourism in Jamaica.  Prior to the staging of Reggae Sunsplash, the hotels in Jamaica were traditionally closed during the summer period.The four founding partners staged the festival each year for a number of years and successfully created an annual summer tourist season in Jamaica. The success of Reggae Sunsplash led to a wave of annual music festivals in Jamaica and the Caribbean islands. The festivals popularity led to a shortage of hotel rooms and a tradition of camping out on local beaches.

From 1981 the festivals were filmed and recorded, with several videos and albums released, the first being Reggae Sunsplash ’81: Tribute to Bob Marley, released by Elektra Records. From 1987 the festival included a sound clash event, with finalists from a national sound system competition competing as a precursor to the rest of the festival.  The festival also expanded to include an ‘oldies night’ featuring stars from past eras of Jamaican music.   For many years the festival was emcee’s by Tommy Cowan.

In 1984 the Reggae Sunsplash festival also expanded into international events with a one day festival staged at the Crystal Palace in London, England. In 1985 the Reggae Sunsplash World tour was launched in the USA and Japan and subsequent years saw the Reggae Sunsplash festival touring extensively throughout North America, Europe, South America and the Far East. 1991 saw the introduction of a ‘Caribbean Night’ featuring other Caribbean music such as soca, and the following year the festival’s scope increased further with the addition of a ‘World Beat Night’.

While the festival had become hugely popular, opening new global tourist niche markets to Jamaica and attracting millions of dollars of foreign exchange into the country, it had not been a financial success, largely due to the lack of sponsorship or government support. In 1995 the Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board operating through a company called Radobar Holdings Ltd offered financial assistance in exchange for equity in Synergy Productions, the founders of Reggae Sunsplash. This initial offer was never consummated and in a disputed claim Radobar Holdings announced the formation of a company called Reggae Sunsplash International in Jamaica and proceeded with the hostile take over of the Reggae Sunsplash festival. The first attempt at staging Reggae Sunsplash without the original owners Synergy Productions in 1996 was a financial disaster for the new claimants. In 1997 the Reggae Sunsplash festival was postponed until 1998 when it was timed to coincide with celebrations of the birth of Bob Marley but more losses were incurred. More futile attempts at recapturing the original spirit of the Reggae Sunsplash festival were never replicated by the Radobar group.

The festival was re-established by the Johnson family in 2006, but it was not successful.  The international touring festival, however, has continued.

Two of the founding directors, John Wakeling and Tony Johnson died and with the passing of Tony Johnson a number of individuals have tried to claim the rights to the festival unsuccessfully and all have failed to recapture the spirit of the legendary Reggae Sunsplash. Don Green and Ronnie Burke are the two remaining Reggae Sunsplash founders alive.

Dates and venues

1978: June 23-30, Jarrett Park, Montego Bay
1979: July 3-7, Jarrett Park, Montego Bay
1980: July 2-5, Ranny Williams Entertainment Center, Kingston
1981: August 4-8, Jarrett Park, Montego Bay
1982: August 3-7, Jarrett Park, Montego Bay
1983: June 28-July 2, Bob Marley Center, Montego Bay
1984: August 7-11, Jarrett Park, Montego Bay
1985: August 6-10, Jarrett Park, Montego Bay
1986: August 26-30: Jarrett Park, Montego Bay
1987: August 18-22, Bob Marley Center, Montego Bay
1988: August 15-22, Bob Marley Center, Montego Bay
1989: August 14-19, Bob Marley Center, Montego Bay
1990: July 16-21, Bob Marley Center, Montego Bay
1991: July 26-31, Bob Marley Center, Montego Bay
1992: August 3-8, Bob Marley Center, Montego Bay
1993: August 3-7, Jamworld, Portmore
1994: August 1-6: Jamworld, Portmore
1995: July 12-14, Dover, St. Ann
1996: August 1-4, Chukka Cove, St. Ann
1998: February 5-8, Reggae Park, St. Ann

2006: August 3-6, Richmond Estate, Priory, St. Ann