Hortense Ellis

Profile:
Hortense Ellis, the younger sister of reggae superstar, Alton Ellis, was born April 18th 1941 in Trench Town, Jamaica. Her father worked on the railways while her mother ran a fruit stall.
Hortense was just 18 years old when she appeared on The Vere Johns Opportunity Hour, which was then Jamaica's foremost outlet for undiscovered young talent. Her version of Frankie Lymon's "I'm Not Saying No At All" went down so well with the audience and the panel that she was invited back the following week.
Hortense went on to enter many other competitions and showcases managing to reach six semi-finals and four finals. In 1964 she was awarded a silver cup as Jamaica's Best Female Vocalist - a feat she was to repeat five years later.
By the late sixties, Hortense had extensive experience both in live performance and in the studio. She had toured Jamaica with Byron Lee And The Dragonaires and had begun recording with some of the island's top producers. Among these were Ken Lack, Arthur "Duke" Reid and Clement "Coxsone" Dodd.
Alton Ellis was also recording with Dodd at this time and the family connection was cleverly exploited as Dodd produced "female" adaptions of several of Alton's hits for Hortense to record. The ever-resourceful Dodd also paired Alton and Hortense on a run of classic duets.
The siblings toured Canada in 1970 but by the following year Hortense was back in Jamaica. She married Mikey "Junior" Saunders with whom she had five children in quick succession. Although her live performances suffered as a result, Hortense remained busy in the studio. Recording under the name Mahalia Saunders for producer Lee Perry she cut several sides including "Right On The Tip Of My Tongue" and "Piece Of My Heart".
Hortense's biggest commercial success came in the late seventies with a song cut for Augustus "Gussie" Clarke. "Unexpected Places" was a big hit in Jamaica and was released in Britain on the Hawkeye label.
For producer Bunny Lee, Hortense became Queen Tiney for her "Down Town Ting" - an answer record to the Althea & Donna hit "Uptown Top Ranking" which had itself been based on the rhythm of Alton Ellis's "I'm Still in Love With You".
Around this time, Hortense recut many of her Studio One sides with The Soul Syndicate, The Aggrovators and the up and coming team of Sly & Robbie.
The rise of the Lovers Rock genre in the late seventies and early eighties resulted in Hortense cutting cover versions of several soul classics including "Down The Aisle" (Patti LaBelle) and "Young Hearts Run Free" (Candi Staton).
Following her divorce from Mikey Saunders, Hortense spent much of the eighties in Miami and New York. On returning to Jamaica in 1989, she began suffering severe health problems; but managed to carry on with occasional live local performances - something she loved immensely.
She recovered sufficiently to make a private visit to New York in the summer of 1999 and then to Miami the following year where illness finally caught up with her.
Hortense Ellis, known by so many in Jamaica and all over the world as "Jamaica's First Lady Of Song", passed away in her sleep in a Kingston hospital on October 18th 2000
Sites:
Aliases:
In Groups:
Variations:

Albums

ATLP 1016 Hortense Ellis - Feel So Good album art Derrick Morgan Featuring Hortence Ellis* Derrick Morgan Featuring Hortence Ellis* - Feel So Good(LP, Album) G Clef ATLP 1016 Canada 1975 Sell This Version
TWS 918 Hortense Ellis - Jamaica's First Lady Of Songs album art Hortense Ellis Jamaica's First Lady Of Songs(LP, Album) Third World TWS 918 UK 1977 Sell This Version
Hortense Ellis - Feelings album art Hortense Ellis Feelings (Album) All Tone UK 1978 Sell This Version
Hortense Ellis - Reflections album art Hortense Ellis Reflections (Album) Sonic Sounds UK 1979 Sell This Version
Hortense Ellis - Lovers Rock album art Pat Kelly / Johnny Clarke / Hortense Ellis Pat Kelly / Johnny Clarke / Hortense Ellis - Lovers Rock (Album) Third World Canada 1979 Sell This Version
TRILP 3238 Hortense Ellis - African Christmas album art Hortens Ellis* & Trinity (4) Hortens Ellis* & Trinity (4) - African Christmas(LP, Album) Top Ranking International, Top Ranking Sounds TRILP 3238 US 1979 Sell This Version
1834-2 Hortense Ellis - Queen Of Reggae Music album art Hortence Ellis* Queen Of Reggae Music(CD, Album) Peter Pan Industries 1834-2 US 1995 Sell This Version
DSR 2675 A R/ DSR 2676 B K DSLH JA-MAN RECORDS Hortense Ellis - Unknown album art Hortense Ellis Unknown(LP, Album, TP, W/Lbl) Ja-Man Records DSR 2675 A R/ DSR 2676 B K DSLH JA-MAN RECORDS Jamaica Unknown Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

none Hortense Ellis - True Love / Money Can't Buy Life album art Horthens* And Stranger* / Eric Morris* Horthens* And Stranger* / Eric Morris* - True Love / Money Can't Buy Life(7") Wildbells none Jamaica 1961 Sell This Version
45/BB 119 Hortense Ellis - Twelve Minutes To Go / Midnight album art Duke Reid Group / Hortense Ellis, Duke Reid Group Duke Reid Group / Hortense Ellis, Duke Reid Group - Twelve Minutes To Go / Midnight(7", Single) Blue Beat 45/BB 119 UK 1962 Sell This Version
Hortense Ellis - I'll Come Softly / I'm In Love album art Hortense* & Alton* Hortense* & Alton* - I'll Come Softly / I'm In Love (Single) R&B (2) Jamaica 1963 Sell This Version
Hortense Ellis - Don't Gamble With Love album art Hortense* And Alton* Hortense* And Alton* - Don't Gamble With Love (Single) Island Records UK 1965 Sell This Version
506, 507 Hortense Ellis - Wives And Lovers / My Everything album art Jackie Mittoo / Hortense Ellis Jackie Mittoo / Hortense Ellis - Wives And Lovers / My Everything(7") Coxsone Records, Coxsone Records 506, 507 Jamaica 1965 Sell This Version
45/BB 295 Hortense Ellis - I've Been A Fool / Hold Me Tenderly album art Hortense Ellis I've Been A Fool / Hold Me Tenderly(7") Blue Beat 45/BB 295 UK 1965 Sell This Version
Hortense Ellis - A Man Of Chances / Groovy Kind Of Love album art The Three Tops, Hortense Ellis The Three Tops, Hortense Ellis - A Man Of Chances / Groovy Kind Of Love (Single) Coxsone Records UK 1967 Sell This Version
Hortense Ellis - Spanish Eyes / Loving Wine album art Lynn Tait* with Tommy McCook & The Supersonics / Stranger* & Hortense* Lynn Tait* with Tommy McCook & The Supersonics / Stranger* & Hortense* - Spanish Eyes / Loving Wine (Single) Doctor Bird Jamaica 1966 Sell This Version
none Hortense Ellis - Man Of Chances / Groovy Kind Of Love album art The Three Tops / Hortense Ellis The Three Tops / Hortense Ellis - Man Of Chances / Groovy Kind Of Love(7", Single, W/Lbl) Not On Label none Jamaica 1967 Sell This Version
none Hortense Ellis - Run Boy Run / Easy Squeeze album art Dudley Sibley, Alton Ellis And Hortense Ellis Dudley Sibley, Alton Ellis And Hortense Ellis - Run Boy Run / Easy Squeeze(7", W/Lbl) Muzik City Records none Jamaica 1967 Sell This Version
none Hortense Ellis - I Need Love (Somebody Help Me) / Another Sad And Lonely Night album art Hortense Ellis / Prince Buster Hortense Ellis / Prince Buster - I Need Love (Somebody Help Me) / Another Sad And Lonely Night(7") Olive Blossom Records none Jamaica 1967 Sell This Version
SO 2003 Hortense Ellis - All Rudies In Jail / Easy Squeeze album art Mr. Foundation / Alton* And Hortense Ellis Mr. Foundation / Alton* And Hortense Ellis - All Rudies In Jail / Easy Squeeze(7", Single) Studio One SO 2003 UK 1967 Sell This Version
FAB-20 Hortense Ellis - Somebody Help Me / Rock & Shake album art Hortense Ellis & Busters All Stars* / Prince Buster & All Stars* Hortense Ellis & Busters All Stars* / Prince Buster & All Stars* - Somebody Help Me / Rock & Shake(7", Single, W/Lbl) Fab FAB-20 UK 1967 Sell This Version
none Hortense Ellis - Yours / Give And Take album art Hortense Ellis, Jeff Barnes (2) Hortense Ellis, Jeff Barnes (2) - Yours / Give And Take(7", W/Lbl) Unity (3) none Jamaica 1969 Sell This Version
Hortense Ellis - To The Other Woman  album art Hortense Ellis To The Other Woman Wind (2) Jamaica 1970 Sell This Version
Hortense Ellis - Last Date / Cherry Pink album art Hortense Ellis / Pat Satchmo Hortense Ellis / Pat Satchmo - Last Date / Cherry Pink Bullet (3) UK 1970 Sell This Version
none Hortense Ellis - My Confession / Mighty Organ album art Stranger Cole / L. Perkins* & H. Ellis* Stranger Cole / L. Perkins* & H. Ellis* - My Confession / Mighty Organ(7") Agro Sound none Jamaica 1971 Sell This Version