The first Jamaican gospel act to earn respect among dancehall fans, The Grace Thrillers are trailblazers who made their mark with songs like ‘Can’t Even Walk’ and ‘He Saw my Need’. The latter has been revived by producer Canute Ellis who recruited singer Samantha Gooden and ‘The Thrillers’ to record a new version.
Released on January 1, it is produced by Ellis, who worked as an engineer with the group during the late 1990s.
“This has been an idea of mine for over 10 years. I’ve wanted to pay homage to the people who gave me my start in music. When I joined (Grace Thrillers founder) Noel Willis, as a young inexperienced engineer for The Grace Thrillers, I knew very little about engineering or how to fully express myself musically and thanks to the opportunity I received to work with them, that all changed,” said Ellis.
He contacted Gooden (a Barbadian who was born in the United Kingdom) to perform on the revamped ‘He Saw my Need’. Ellis hopes their version will make an impact with fans, many of whom were not born when the original song rode Jamaican charts.
“It’s been 30 years since the original was released and it’s the right time to introduce a younger audience to one of the greatest gospel groups,” he stated.
The classic Grace Thrillers lineup that recorded ‘He Saw my Need’ and ‘Can’t Even Walk’ had all but dissolved at the time Ellis joined the camp in 1999. But being around Ellis and Grub Cooper, who produced the group, gave him an appreciation for music production. Over the years, he has worked with a diverse cast of artists such as Kirk Franklin, Beres Hammond, The Commodores and Jimmy Cliff.