MIDNIGHT RAVER TALKS WITH ROOTS LEGEND DON CARLOS | MIDNIGHT RAVER
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MIDNIGHT RAVER TALKS WITH ROOTS LEGEND DON CARLOS

DON CARLOS ON 3-SHOW TOUR, WILL PLAY DC

Don Carlos began singing in 1973 as a member of Black Uhuru. He sang alongside Garth Dennis and Derrick Simpson the leader of the trio. Don played a key role in the recordings of the highly acclaimed Love Crisis album, produced by Prince Jammy in 1977 which was later re-released as The Black Sounds of Freedom. After some time finding his sound as a soloist Carlos blossomed in May 1981 releasing the heavy cultural roots album Suffering for Negus Roots.

He has since become very popular in the live scene and has released twelve solo albums working alongside Gold, his backup vocalist and co writer. Some of his most notable albums include Harvest Time, Day to Day Living and Them Never Know a Natty Dread were released in 1982. Spread Out also released in 1982 commonly known now as Laser Beam had many fan favorites.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Don Carlos about his 3-show tour, his life as a D.C. resident, and recording at Washington D.C.’s famed Lion and Fox studios with engineer Jim Fox.  Here is an excerpt from the interview:

(MR) Hello, Don.

(DC) “Hello, Bless up, Bless up.”

(MR) So, I wanted to talk to you for a few minutes if you’ve got some time.

(DC) ‘Yeah mon.”

(MR) I’m calling from D.C., I see you are coming up here on August 12, 2012 to play the Howard Theatre.

(DC) “Yeah, true.  We just doing a few dates, you know?  We doing August 11 in Cleveland, Ohio, August 12 in Washington, DC and August 13 in New York.  So doing 3 shows and then leave fi go back home and then go to Hawaii on August 17th, do another 2-3 shows and then come back again.  Then I go to California for about 2 weeks.”

(MR) Are you working on anything right now, or promoting anything?

(DC) “No.  My last album was ‘Changes’ that was put out last year.”

(MR) So, speaking of albums, I’m working on a big story right now about Jim Fox and Lion and Fox Recording Studios here in D.C..  Do you remember recording there back in the 80s?

(DC) “Yeah, mon Jim Fox one of my favorites, you know?  He one of my favorite people me ever work with.  Jim Fox is a professional.  Him is a good man, you know?  Working with Jim was like magic.  I wish those days, I mean to get those feeling again.”

(MR) So you did ‘Just A Passing Glance’, ‘Deeply Concerned’, ‘7 Days A Week’, and one with Gold?

(DC) “Yes and a few others also.”

(MR) So how did you come to work with Jim, through RAS records?

(DC) “Yeah mon, Doctor Dread him introduce me.”

(MR) So you enjoyed your time recording with Jim Fox at Lion and Fox?

(DC) “Yeah mon.  Jim Fox him the best!  Whenever him mix an album that album well mix!  It is the best mix you can get!”

(MR) You know there is a huge reggae fan base in D.C…

(DC) “Me live in DC in like the 80s.  I want to tell you ’bout 3 or 4 of my youth in DC, Maryland.”

(MR) Where do you live now?

(DC) “I’m kind of all over de place but me have a base in Florida.  Sometimes California, sometimes Jamaica.”

(MR) The last time I saw you was when you were touring with Black Uhuru.

(DC) “Yeah mon, like 1994?”

(MR) For me, the album you guys did in 1990 caled Now is one of the best of the past 30 years.

(DC) “Yes, was one of the best we eva done!”

(MR) Do you still keep in touch with Garth (Dennis) and Duckie (Simpson)?

(DC) “Well, me don’t see them around anymore.  Sometimes I see Garth when I’m in California.  Him come check me out.  But I hope Duckie still going strong.”

(MR) Are you still going strong?

(DC) “Yeah mon!  Give thanks to the most high!  It is him!  He make it possible!”

(MR) I will see Jim tonight and I will tell him that you send him lots of love and respect.

(DC) “I will tell you, Jim Fox will always be my Number 1.  There is a group in California now called Rebelution.  Them love Jim Fox.  I don’t think they will do another album unless Jim Fox is involved.  There is this other band.  Dem called Groundation.  Them love Jim Fox so much.  He did some tour wit dem too.  I saw dem on tour couple times.  Dem want Jim Fox to travel with dem.  But Jim, that’s not his style, you know?  Jim need to be in the studio working on those sounds.  That’s his passion.  That’s his love.  That’s his life.”

(MR) OK Don, I don’t want to take up too much of your time.  I hope to see you when you come through and hopefully I can get Jim Fox out there too.

(DC) “OK my brotha.  Bless up.  Bless up.  Stay well.”

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