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Holly Stephey talks to Eric “Monty” Morris is a Ska legend

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Holly Stephey

Holly Stephey


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Eric “Monty” Morris is a Ska legend. He is considered to be one of the Godfathers of Ska. Eric “Monty” Morris is recognized in Jamaica, alongside Laurel Aitken and Derrick Morgan as a primal ska performer. In 1961 he recorded “Humpty Dumpty” providing the vocals to Arkland Drumbago Parks All Star Band’s shuffling beat. The song proved a phenomenal success and is regarded as pivotal in the progress of Jamaican music, introducing the emphasis on the half beat in comparison to earlier local recordings which simply mirrored American R&B. Morris recorded an abundance of hits throughout the first half of the 60s, most notably “What A Man Doeth”, “Sammy Dead”, “Money Can’t Buy Life”, “Into My Garden”, “Enna Bella” and “Oil In The Lamp” . Morris recorded several tracks including “Seek And You Will Find”, “Home Sweet Home” and “River Come Down” for Vincent Edwards. The singer also found success with Leslie Kong who released the favored “Solomon A Gundy” alongside “Strongman Sampson” , while sessions with Neremiah Reid resulted in “Words Of Wisdom”, “Supper In The Gutter” and “Words Of My Mouth”. In the latter half of the 60s several commentators considered that while Morris was an esteemed ska singer he would not adapt to the new sound of rocksteady. Adding the “Monty” tag to his name the singer proved the critics were mistaken with the sublime, “Say I’m Back” and the defiant “Last Laugh”. Raring and ready to go is the best way to describe Eric “Monty” Morris’s current state of mind. With the completion of his first solo album after over 50 years in the industry, Morris is raring and ready. The new album, part of a series called “The Living Legends Collection” The first single from the project, “Into This Beautiful Garden features Sadiki and will be released on March 1st in digital format. The full-length album will be released on March 29th, 2011.