When it comes to roots-rock-reggae music, few old school legends that are still touring have the pedigree for great songwriting that Don Carlos possesses. Although he's often overshadowed by more popular Jamaican reggae singers like Burning Spear and Toots Hibbert, Carlos started out in the same era (early '70s) and arguably has better chops than both of them. His crooning on the classic song, "Sattamasagana," helped create a whole new style called one-drop reggae music and his early work with the group Black Uhuru, of which he was a member, is unfortunately overlooked as well.
Having grown up in the legendary Waterhouse section of Kingston, Carlos was raised musically among veterans like King Tubby, Prince Jammy, Desmond Dekker, and other leading reggae/dub pioneers. His releases during the early '80s such as Never Run Away, and Them Never Know a Natty Dread, are some of the finer records of that period -- when reggae was at a standstill due to the passing of Bob Marley -- and although his late '80s and early '90s material sounded dated, his music maintains the essence of reggae's golden years. Since it's a shame that more people don't know Carlos, check him out this weekend as he comes to town to share his message of love, sound, and power.
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Don Carlos, with Johnny Dread and Apple Gabriel. Thursday, August 20. Pulp Live, 2674 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Ages 18+ with ID. 305-534-6110; kulchashok.com
-- Jonathan Cunningham