Hortense Ellis


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On Feelings, Hortense Ellis began to abandon rocksteady accompaniment in favor of -- what is now understood to be -- a reggae sound. Tunes like "I Will Sing You a Happy Song" and "Mother Show the Kids the Way to Go," in particular, point in this new direction while others like "With All My Heart," "Feelings," and "Some Sweet Day" retain a more familiar rocksteady vibe. A number of fine sessionmen were on hand for this date, among them Sly Dunbar, Bingy Bunny, and "Deadly" Headly Rennett, but even in their hands this LP tends to drag a bit. The instrumentation here sounds flat and uninspired and lacks in the vibrant polyrhythmic and layered attack heard on the Heartbeat compilation, Alton and Hortense. To be sure, Feelings has its share of fine moments but one seeking to begin a collection of her work should begin with the excellent Heartbeat compilation and work from there.

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