Photo by Lee Abel
Carlos (born Euvin Spencer) founded the legendary reggae band Black Uhuru in 1974 with
Rudolph Dennis and Derrick "Duckie" Simpson, friends from the rough Waterhouse
district of Kingston.
Carlos didn't remain long with the trio; he left after recording only one single to
continue his solo career, which had begun with inspired recordings like the full length LP
Deeply Concerned (1972). He performed for a number of years as Don Carlos and the
Gold. In the early '80s he worked with producer Bunny Lee, and released some
standout roots albums on various labels, including Harvest Time (1982) and the highly
acclaimed Just a Passing Glance (1984) with the Roots Radics crew.
Black Uhuru went through many changes, the lead singer role going to Michael Rose
(1977-1984) and Junior Reid (1986-87). In 1989 Duckie Simpson convinced Don Carlos
to return to the band. The reunited Uhuru, with Carlos behind the mic, regained some
of the popularity it had attained in the '70s and '80s. The trio released Now
(1990), a solid recording remaking some of the material from Black Sounds of Freedom, and
continued on to release Iron Storm, but that was the last Uhuru recording for Don Carlos.
He broke with the group once again.
next record Seven Days a Week (1997) marked his return to solo work. One of his best
known offerings, and one that has garnered him an entire new generation of fans, Seven
Days showcases his talents and skill with insightful lyrics and burning riddims, including
massive songs like the title track and "Movin' (To the Top)." The 1999
release of Groove With Me was a landmark for Don Carlos fans. A reissue of a vintage
1970s session, originally called "Pass the Lazer Beam," which featured Sly &
Robbie and was produced by Bunny Wailer, the album is hailed as the rediscovery of a lost
roots classic. Most recently, Don Carlos worked with The Congos and Northern
California reggae band Groundation to put out Hebron's Gate (2002) which is chalking up
impressive sales. In all Carlos has put out more than 20 solo albums.
Performing live Don Carlos is every bit as impressive as in the studio. His sweet
tenor voice with Waterhouse style embellishments and African overtones, combines with his
high energy to make every set an unforgettable one. His burning passion and
conscious strength are an inspiration to all who listen.
-- Mara Weiss
To The Music Of Don Carlos -