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Clancy Eccles Presents His Reggae Revue

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Album Review

A bit of a renaissance man, Clancy Eccles was a successful vocalist (perhaps best remembered for "Fatty Fatty," later re-popularized by Bad Manners), a respected producer, an excellent tailor, and a political campaigner. Whilst continuing his singing career, Eccles moved into production in 1967 and helped to launch the shift from rocksteady to reggae.Presents His Reggae Revue perfectly captures that metamorphosis, and features recordings mostly drawn from 1968-1969. This compilation, however, is not a greatest-hits album, but more of a collector's set, with almost one-third of the 16 tracks previously unreleased. The sleeve notes feature an entertaining and informative interview with Eccles and also provide useful information on each track. Perhaps because he was a vocalist himself, Eccles' productions were particularly sensitive to the needs of singers, with the song and artist always the focal point. It was a distinctively sympathetic sound, far removed from, say, a Lee Perry, whose own productions from this period prodded the reggae rhythms into riding roughshod over everything and everyone in their path. And so this set also doubles as a showcase for some of Jamaica's most emotive talents. The sublime soul of Alton Ellis, the sweet tones of Hemsley Morris, the superb Larry Marshall, the veteran hitmaker Eric "Monty" Morris, and more all clamored to work with Eccles. The producer made his mark by capturing singers at their soulful best, himself included, and the set boasts two of Eccles' own numbers. However, as Val Bennett's "City Demonstration" illustrates, he was equally adept at instrumentals. A reggae revue it may be, but the vocal quality and slow tempo, accentuated by Eccles' simmering house band, the Dynamites, still harken back to rocksteady, the best of both worlds on one fabulous disc.

Biography

Born: 09 December 1940 in Dean Pen, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Though not nearly as well known as Duke Reid or Coxsone Dodd, producer and sometime vocalist Clancy Eccles made a lot of rocksteady in the late '60s and early '70s, much of it on his Clandisc label. As a singer, Eccles had started recording back in the late '50s, when he cut some ska for Dodd. After bouncing around the ska and early reggae scene for a while, he became more active in the studio in the late '60s, overseeing tracks by Alton Ellis, Joe Higgs, Beres Hammond, and several less-famed artists....
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