CLASSICS: REGGAE RE-INTERPRETATIONS (SINGLES)
Does anyone remember a very talented reggae artist by the name of Hortense Ellis? She is the sister of legendary Alton Ellis. Interesting fact, her and her brother often toured together early in her career; they’ve also compiled an album together. One of my favorites on this album was called “Willow Tree (1977).” This was actually a very popular song, and have been song by many many artists. Hortense got her break after numerous performances on a television talent show in Jamaica. The show eventually earned her a silver cup in 1964; and was dubbed Jamaica’s best female vocalist. She continued to perform in talent competitions and won more awards and accolades.
There’s a beautiful classic American song she reinterpreted, and I think it’s absolutely beautiful how she sang it. It’s called “Down The Aisle,” Released in 1978, under Gordon Records. If you listen close, you’ll realize this is the same song song by American singer, the legendary Patti Labelle in 1967!! If you’re going to redo someone’s song, the oldies have always been the best!! Hortense enjoyed a very successful music career, until the late 1980s when her health started to decline. In 2000, she past away of some kind serious stomach infection.
One of my most favorite songs from Ken Boothe, is a song called “Silver Words,” and it was released in 1976. The song was originally written and performed by Sixto Diaz Rodriguez (or better known as simply Rodriquez) in 1971. Rodriquez music was extremely influential in South Africa, and it’s no surprise that a number of reggae artists loved Rodriquez work so much that they would make interpretations of their own. However, in my opinion, Ken did it the best tho. It’s a beautiful love song about a simple and uncomplicated man, who is in essence appreciative that he has found a girl who is interested in him. The words are so beautiful, and speaks of pure love and gratitude, without any set of conditions. Another beautiful favorite of mine is, “Everything I own,” which was originally written and performed by a group called “Bread” in 1972, and both happen to also be two of my many favorite songs.
It’s been a while since I’ve heard anything new from Ziggy Marley. Today, I was listening to some of my old iTunes music, and discovered a song I forgot I had. It is a cover Ziggy did (along with the “Melody Makers”), of a song called “Drive (1984),” and it was originally produced & performed by a group called “The Cars.” “The Cars” song peaked at #3 on the American Billboards. Now, I always loved this song, but I absolutely LOVE the way Ziggy sang his version. It is one of the very few true romantic reggae songs (from 2000 on) in my opinion. Ziggy did the cover “Drive (2004)” as part of a sound track, to the movie called “50 First Dates (2004),” starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Unfortunately, because of licensing, Spotify doesn’t have Ziggy’s original cover, the copyright holder wants you to buy the entire sound track album for this song. So this is one of the rare cases I shared a YouTube link. If you want to listen to “The Cars” original version, you can listen here with Spotify.