Clancy Eccles has passed away....
Clancy Eccles, the pioneering Jamaican reggae singer and producer, has passed away on Thursday June 30th 2005. He died at a hospital in Spanish Town, outside the capital of Kingston JA, five days after suffering a stroke. Clancy Eccles is one of the true legends in reggae. A legend created not only because of his compassion for his fellow artists and for people in general, but because of his involvement in so many different aspects of the music business over the last forty-five years. He has been credited with deriving the name "reggae" from "streggae" (Kingston street slang for a kind of good-time girl).
CLANCY ECCLES... A TRUE JAMAICAN HERO.
Clancy Eccles was one of the most loved and revered personalities in Jamaican music. Born in Dean Pen in the parish of St. Mary's on December 9th 1940, Clancy moved to Kingston in 1959. There his career started the same as it did for many other Jamaican singers. Clancy entered a talent show at the Royal Theatre, where Coxsonne Dodd - who was looking for talent - offered Clancy a recording contract. He made his first contribution to the local music scene with the beautiful ska tune "Freedom", a major Jamaican hit in 1961. The session for this record was done at Ken Khouri's studio, Federal, on Marcus Garvey Drive in November 1959 with Aubrey Adams on piano, Ernest Ranglin on guitar, Cluett Johnson on bass, Roland Alphonso on tenor sax and Drumbago on drums and Coxsone playing percussion with his hands. Other tunes that were cut for Coxsone Dodd over the next few years included "Glory Hallelujah", "River Jordan", "I Live And I Love", "Rock Of Ages" and "Leave Earth".
In 1963, he recorded "Judgement" and "Baby Please" for Leslie Kong's business partner Charlie Moo, prior to cutting "I Am The Greatest (aka Cassius Clay)" and "I Need Your Love" for Mike Shadeed. The following year he moved on to work with Lyndon Pottinger, Sonia Pottinger's husband, who issued a handful of sides by the young singer, including "New Jerusalem", "Miss Ida" and "Sammy No Dead".
Financial remuneration, however, was small, and around 1965 Clancy decided to cease recording for a while to live in Annotto Bay, where he worked as a tailor. In 1967 he decided to reactivate his singing career along with setting up his own production house. He supervised the production of two of his own recordings, "Darling Don't Do That" and "Guns Town" at Coxsone Dodd's studio, which appeared in limited numbers in Jamaica on a blank label release. Duke Reid gave him some free time in his Treasure Isle studio, where he produced "Say What You're Saying" with Eric "Monty" Morris, which proved a major hit on the island. Clancy gained his biggest success during the transition from rocksteady to reggae. His own vocal on the bawdy "Fatty Fatty" was a big hit in the U.K., not only with West Indian buyers, but also among the white skinheads, who followed Jamaican music at the time. His first real reggae hit was "Feel The Rhythm", which followed right after Larry Marshall's "Nanny Goat".
In the U.K. Trojan Records released Clancy's productions on their own version of his Clandisc label. They not only issued a large number of singles by Clancy as both performer and producer, but also released four collections of his work. Aside from his own sides as a singer, he also produced sessions for many leading Jamaican artists, including Busty Brown, Larry Marshall and Joe Higgs. The finest musicians available were used, with the core of his regular session crew, The Dynamites, featuring the talents of Hux Brown (guitar), Clifton "Jackie" Jackson (bass), Gladstone Anderson (piano), Winston Wright (organ) and Paul Douglas (drums).
Clancy's activities also included helping others in making their mark in the Jamaican music industry. He helped Lee Perry launching his Upsetter label in 1968 and lent Winston "Niney" Holness the money to press copies of his hit, "Blood And Fire" in late 1971. It was the first hit on the Observer label, and a harbinger of the sort of socially conscious religious anger that was to dominate the second half of the 1970's. Unlike many of his peers, Clancy also made sure the artists he produced actually received all the money they were due, as Kirk Salmon of the Fabulous Flames recalled in an interview with Dave Kingston of the "Reggae Quarterly" magazine.
"Clancy wasn't one of those rip-off producers. Clancy treated us good...'cause at that time a lot of artists were suffering. We could have suffered too, like the rest of them, but Clancy is more humanitarian than a lot of them...we always have money. Clancy opened a bank account for us in Jamaica when we were in Canada and put money in, so that when we came back we had money. He did a lot more than what a normal producer would do, because of the type of person he is. He's kind-hearted."
Clancy treated his artists good, but experienced the contrary with U.K. based Trojan Records and Pama. The latter, who was in real estate business but wanted to start in record business, had received some tunes from Clancy, but didn't pay up the dollars. The same happened with Lee Gopthal of Trojan Records. As Clancy himself once explained..When Trojan came in to us, Trojan was paying but they became even worse than Pama, because after getting all the good stuff you couldn't get any money from Lee Gopthal. You go to England, you get a little check. He put you up in a hotel and send the car for you. That's why I know when you sign a piece of paper, the piece of paper is just another death warrant."
In 1971, when PNP leader Michael Manley addressed his promise of equality and justice directly to the ghetto 'sufferers', Clancy Eccles started the Bandwagon - a performance with some of the best young singers - to show their support for PNP's version of 'democratic socialism'. The performance was such a success that Clancy was asked to do more shows. Up to the end of 1972 Clancy was successful, but from there onweards it went downhill. By 1976 he was just living off the shows, which came to an end in 1980. He kept on making records ranging from heartfelt love songs, to stinging social commentary into the 1980's but didn't encounter any notable success.
While in the attention he has always given to his craft, Clancy Eccles was typical of many producers, he undoubtely differed to most in terms of his relationships with those with whom he has worked, all of whom speak of him in terms of approval. Sources : Heartbeat Records, Trojan Records, The Rough Guide To Reggae and Roots Archives.
Clancy Eccles R.I.P.
Clancy Eccles appears on the following compilations:
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