Don Carlos, popular act in California
NOT many contemporary Jamaican music fans are familiar with the work of singer Don Carlos, yet the journeyman roots artiste is one of the most popular reggae acts in California.
Carlos tours the Golden State regularly, playing major festivals, clubs and private parties.
Marjel McFaddin, who runs the Paraiso Productions Booking Agency in Los Angeles, says there are several reasons for Carlos’s popularity.
“He has toured here in California a lot, and worked hard to build his loyal fan base. He sings positive, cultural, roots music and that is what the reggae fans here crave,” she said.
Recently, Carlos toured and recorded with hot American reggae band Rebelution, which McFaddin says exposed him to a ‘new, younger group of fans’.
Carlos (given name Euvin Spencer) hails from the Kingston community of Waterhouse. He started his career in the early 1970s as a member of Black Uhuru alongside Duckie Simpson and Garth Dennis.
He appeared on the group’s 1977 album, Love Crisis, but left for a solo career shortly after.
He had some success with songs like Hog and Goat and Nice Time Tonight, but rejoined the Uhuru fold in 1990.
Along with Dennis and Simpson, Carlos toured the world and recorded well-received albums like Iron Storm and Strongg.
Carlos and Dennis left the group in 1996 after a much-publicised fall-out with Simpson over who owned rights to the group’s name.
Simpson won the eventual court battle.
Carlos, now 59, is scheduled to start another round of shows on the United States west coast in May.