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Don Carlos In a Dub Style (Rare Dubs 1979-1980)

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Album Review

Bridging the seemingly disparate world of jazz standards and modern dance remixes, the dub method employed by many of Jamaica's foremost producers and vocalists in the early '80s found easily recognizable riddims mashed up with other songs from a singer's catalog. This collection of previous unreleased dubs featuring Black Uhuru's first and current vocalist (though he left the group for most of its '70s and '80s heyday), Don Carlos, teams him with producer Bunny "Striker" Lee. The pair reworks several of Carlos' better-known cuts, including "Spread Out" and "Lazer Beam" as well as several cuts from other artists, including Alton Ellis' "Too Late to Turn Back Now" and Boney M.'s "Rivers of Babylon." But while this continual sharing of instrumental tracks and strongly similar lyrics may make the uninitiated wonder where the originality went, one listen to these slow grooves makes it evident that the soul is within each performer. And with Carlos' masterful voice and Lee's light dub touches (a little delay here, a laser sound there), each track floats effortlessly through a green haze. Carlos' themes are what you'd expect: chants of Rasta pride, personal triumph (and tribulation), and a fair degree of self-congratulation ("I am a conscious Rasta man" he proclaims on "Conscious Rasta Dub"). But these are the foundations upon which everything from Perry Farrell's highly affected lyrics with Jane's Addiction to Massive Attack's seminal U.K. trip-hop sound are built — something so simple, producing such a vast world of sound in its wake.


Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Sweet-voiced vocalist and composer Don Carlos (born: Euvin Spencer) has had his greatest success singing with Black Uhuru, the reggae trio he formed in 1974 with two friends -- Rudolph Dennis and Derrick "Duckie" Simpson -- from the "Waterhouse" district in Kingston. Carlos recorded only one single with the group, leaving to pursue a solo career and to perform with a band, Don Carlos and Gold. Sixteen years later he returned and joined with Dennis and Simpson to resurrect the original trio. Their...
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Don Carlos In a Dub Style (Rare Dubs 1979-1980), Don Carlos
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