Thursday, June 3, 2010

Don Carlos - Changes

This album, from one time member of Black Uhuru Don Carlos is his first since 1998's '7 Days A Week'. Now 12 years between releases might be quite a long time but when you are going to come back with an album of this quality and with a bit of diversity in the shape of some re-mixes then all can be forgiven. The veteran performer also has taken on production duties so this album is very much his show and he has got things spot on.
The album begins on a traditional footing with some fine modern roots calling for all rude boys to cease and find peace as badness no pay, and this sets the tone for what is an album of peace and positiveness through belief in the qualities of Jah.
The diversity raises its head on the next track 'Really And Truly' which has a digi feel but still maintains roots reggae sensibilities, but it is the remixes though that really sees a different and to some extent unexpected side to the Don. The first 'My Life', which also appears on here in roots style version, has a kinda slow tempo R& B feel to it while 'Young Girl', a song of forbidden love for a dreadlocks, is in pure drum & bass territory, with brash guitar and synth strings giving the tune a hard edge.
Lovers rock is taken care of with the chirpy 'I Don't Know', the clavinet pulsing 'When' and the late night wistful sax of 'Lady Luck'. For dancehall fans Chaka Demus duets on ' Hallelujah' which despite its slightly dated 90's feel works quite well. One track that did have me reaching for the skip button though was 'Oh Lord' which sounds like it is being performed by a well dodgy cabaret band. I can't swear to it but I'm sure the beat is one of those awful pre-programmed ones that come on cheap keyboards.....urggghh!!
My fave tune on here however though is the rootsy, laid back 'I Love Jah Jah'. Now if 'Oh Lord' had me reaching for the skip button this one is a must for repeat and repeat again! The triumphant sounding horns could almost be pronouncing the arrival of the king himself and really help make it for me.
Don Carlos's voice is still smooth and graceful and the new and original riddims here generally have a great vibe and depth especially due to that good use of brass, the trumpets in particular. A fine album on the whole from a man who maintains roots flavors while not afraid to branch out and add different dimensions to his music.


01 Rude Boy
02 Really And Truly
03 I Don't Know
04 I Love Jah Jah
05 Changes
06 My Life (Remix)
07 Lady Luck
08 Favorite Cup
09 Hallelujah
10 When
11 Oh Lord
12 Young Girl (Remix)
13 My Life (Reggae Version)

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