Don Carlos (musician)

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Don Carlos
Birth name Ervin Spencer
Also known as Don McCarlos
Born (1952-06-29) 29 June 1952 (age 63)
Origin Kingston, Jamaica
Genres Reggae
Years active 1972–present
Labels RAS
Associated acts Black Uhuru, Gold

Don Carlos a.k.a. Don McCarlos (born Ervin Spencer, 29 June 1952) is a Jamaican reggae singer and composer.[1]


He was born and raised in Western Kingston, Jamaica in a very deprived district known as Waterhouse. Many talented reggae artists such as King Tubby, The Jays, Junior Reid and King Jammy are also from this area. Don Carlos began singing in 1973 as a member of Black Uhuru. He sang alongside Garth Dennis and Derrick Simpson, the leader of the trio.[2] Don played a key role in the recordings of the highly acclaimed Love Crisis album, produced by Prince Jammy in 1977, which was later re-released as The Black Sounds of Freedom. After some time finding his sound as a soloist, Carlos blossomed, in May 1981 releasing the heavy cultural roots album Suffering for Negus Roots.

He has since become very popular in the live scene and has released twelve solo albums working alongside Gold, his backup vocalist and co-writer. Some of his most notable albums include Harvest Time, Day to Day Living and Them Never Know a Natty Dread all released in 1982. Spread Out, also released in 1982 and commonly known now as Laser Beam, became a fan favorite.

Though Carlos' solo peak period was during the 1980s dancehall craze, he still maintains his roots flavor and awesome[according to whom?] melodies to this day. In 1988 he recorded "Jingle Bells" with Glenice Spenser on A Reggae Christmas on RAS Records. In 1990 he re-united as the lead vocalist for a Black Uhuru album. Don continues to perform all over the world, and has a large fanbase in Africa.[3]



  • Suffering (1981), Negus Roots - also released as Prophecy
  • Day to Day Living (1982), Greensleeves
  • Harvest Time (1982), Negus Roots
  • Spread Out (1983), Burning Sounds
  • Pass the Lazer Beam (1983), Jackpot
  • Just A Passing Glance (1984), RAS
  • Deeply Concerned (1987), RAS
  • Time Is The Master (1992), RAS
  • 7 Days A Week (1998), RAS
  • Dub Version (2000), Dressed to Kill
  • Changes (2010), Heartbeat

Don Carlos & Gold[edit]

  • Them Never Know Natty Dread Have Him Credential (1981), Channel One
  • Raving Tonight (1983), RAS
  • Ghetto Living (1983), Tamoki Wambesi
  • Never Run Away (1984), Kingdom
  • Plantation (1984), CSA
  • Ease Up (1994), RAS

Split albums[edit]

Guest appearances[edit]

  • Groundation - Hebron Gate (2002), Young Tree
  • Groundation - Dragon War (2003), Young Tree
  • Groundation - We Free Again (2004), Young Tree
  • Slightly Stoopid - Top of the World - "Marijuana" (2012), Stoopid
  • Tribal Seeds - "Blood Clot" - Representing (2014)
  • Rebelution - "Roots Reggae Music" - Count Me In (2014)


  • The Mighty Diamonds Meets Don Carlos & Gold at the Channel 1 Studio featuring The Revolutionaries, Hitbound - the Diamonds Right Time and Don Carlos & Gold's Them Never Know Natty Dread Have Him Credential albums combined
  • Pure Gold, Jackpot
  • Lazer Beam (1995), Culture Press
  • Portrait (1997), RAS
  • Jah Light (2002), Black Arrow
  • Groove With Me (2003), Get Back
  • Inna Dub Style - Rare Dubs 1979 - 1980 (2004), Jamaican Recordings
  • Special Edition (2004), Jafada Music Productions
  • Tribulation (2006), Attack
  • Tribulation - Don Carlos In Dub (2007), Attack
  • Kings of Reggae, Nocturne


  • Live in San Francisco (2003), 2B1


  1. ^ Thompson, Dave (2002) "Reggae & Caribbean Music", Backbeat Books, ISBN 0-87930-655-6
  2. ^ Larkin, Colin (1998) The Virgin Encyclopedia of Reggae, Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0242-9, p. 28-9
  3. ^ Kachingwe, Kevin (2014) "Reggae guru draws masses", Zambia Daily Mail, 6 June 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2014

External links[edit]