The A-Z of reggae: E is for… Alton Ellis, Eek-a-Mouse, Clint Eastwood and…

Alton Ellis… One of Jamaica’s first superstar singers, Alton Ellis’s soulful croon helped popularise ska and reggae during the 1960s. His star faded as roots reggae took hold during the 1970s but his mellifluous tones have never really gone out of fashion.

 

Eek-a-Mouse… Legendary dancehall deejay Eek-a-Mouse hit the heights in 1982 with the splendid Wa-Do-Dem single and album, which collected a bunch of his early smash hits. The Mouseketeer album was released the following year (with terrible cover but great contents) and Eek-a-Mouse never really let up for the rest of the 1980s.

 

Clint Eastwood… Not to be confused with… well, you know… Dancehall deejay teamed up with British deejay General Saint and the Roots Radics for 1982’s masterpiece Too Bad DJ. Bubbling electronics made this dub deejay album somewhat controversial when it was released but have helped it date far better than many from the same era. The deep dub grooves of the Roots Radics are perfectly complemented by the deejay duo.

 

The Ethiopians… Leonard Dillon led this early ska and rocksteady outfit through a series of collaborations with some of Jamaica’s most esteemed producers (Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Duke Reid, Vincent Chin, Prince Buster, Joe Gibbs, phew, and a load more) before the death of founder member Stephen Taylor in 1974. This one was produced by Derrick Harriott.

 

With thanks and praise to Steven Cumming, Grim Dewar, James Fyffe and Graham Sherman. Jah Bless.

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