Eric 'Monty' Morris to perform at Grace Jerk Festival

Saturday, November 12, 2016

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — One of ska's unsung heroes, Eric 'Monty' Morris' low-key lifestyle is a reflection of his career.
When the diminutive singer performed here at Heineken Startime in 1998, it was his first Jamaican performance in over 20 years. Some fans thought he had died. But the South Florida-based Morris is very much alive and kicking.
On Sunday, he performs at the Grace Jamaica Jerk Festival, Markham Park in Sunrise, Florida.
It has been a fairly busy 2016 for the 74-year-old Morris. In a recent interview with OBSERVER ONLINE, he reckons he has done over 20 shows. "Di voice still strong an' di people enjoy di music but wi would like do more show. Mi neva touch England yet; me'd a love a 'bligh' fi reach there," said Morris.
That voice made songs like Oil In My Lamp, Sammy Dead, Wings Of A Dove, and Say What You Say hits during the 1960s.
Even though Dennis Brown had success covering the latter, Morris faded into obscurity by the 1970s, and moved to the United States.
Born in Kingston, Eric 'Monty' Morris began recording in the early 1960s for Prince Buster. In 1964, he was part of a Jamaican delegation (with Millie Small and Jimmy Cliff) that went to the World's Fair in New York.
While he had his share of hits for Buster and Byron Lee, he never attained the international status of his contemporaries, Buster and Derrick Morgan.
Morris said he lived in Washington DC and San Diego, California after moving to the US. He has resided in South Florida for the past 15 years.
His fans and admirers include singer/producer Henry 'Sadiki' Buckley Jnr who produced updated versions of Morris' classics for a 2011 album.
It is that kind of adulation, Morris says, that keeps him going.
"It good to know people out there who still love mi songs. Dat mek mi feel blessed."
Howard Campbell

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