Alton Ellis - Too Late To Turn Back Now

Alton Ellis - Too Late to Turn Back Now (Cornelius)
Augustus Pablo - Too Late (C.Chin/H.Swaby)

US reissue, original 1972
Produced by Clive Chin for Above Rock, matrix CC10101, reissue distributed by Jammyland

The King of Rock Steady, Alton Ellis was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and began his career as a dancer at the age of sixteen. After achieving many awards in this field over a two year period, Alton took an interest in singing. His debut was as a vocal duo named Alton and Eddy, already recording for Randys and Studio One at the beginning of the sixties. Their first recording on the Coxsone label, Muriel, was a major hit in Jamaican recording history. After Eddy left Jamaica to live in America, Alton formed a group named Alton and The Flames. They recorded a large number of hit songs on the Treasure Isle label, including Dance Crasher, Girl I've got a Date, Rock Steady and Black Mans Pride. After three years with Alton and The Flames, Alton launched his career as a solo artist and joined the Studio One label in 1967. The amount of hits that Alton created during this period is huge: I'm Still in Love, Breaking Up and I'm Just a Guy were just a few. His first album Rock and Soul, released on the Studio One label was a Giant, paving the way for the many that were to follow over the years to come. Alton left Jamaica in 1969 to spend two years in Toronto, Canada. He returned home for a period of three years and left again in 1974 to make his permanent home in London, England. Here, Alton versions the upbeat original by the Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose into a stunning lovers lament. Clive Chin recalls: "Alton wanted to record originals but I wanted this one (because) I knew the soul original. I arranged the rhythm. There wasn't a rhythm guitar - a grater play that! So, what I did, was that I had someone who wrote the lyrics out for. So he didn’t have no clue, what the rhythm sounded like. Have him coming to the studio, to just sing the song and build a fresh riddim over the song, and that is what came out of it, with the organ and the keyboards and also the cheese grater that is popping up very strongly in the rhythm track". The flipside features a melodica-cut on the riddim by Augustus Pablo, who already scored a big hit for Clive Chin with the Java riddim. Definitely one of my all-time favourite Impact 45's.
- MySpace Alton Ellis
- MySpace Augustus Pablo