Carl Malcolm

Smooth-voiced Jamaican reggae singer and keyboardist who enjoyed several hits in the U.K.
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Artist Biography

b. July 1952, Black River, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, West Indies. Malcolm learnt to play the keyboard by ear at the local Methodist church and his musical talent was recognized by those around him from an early age. After leaving the St. Elizabeth Technical High School he spent two years working for a shoe company in Kingston and was a reserve for the Jamaica Defence Force. Music remained his passion and in 1965 he became involved in a band called the Volcanoes alongside Al Brown. The two artists shared vocal duties and stayed with the group until they disbanded four years later. Malcolm retired from music and returned to studying. It was in his second year of study that he was involved in a car accident in which he sustained a broken leg and cracked ribs. Returning to music, he joined a band called Big Relations, led by Jo Jo Bennett. Malcolm recorded with Coxsone Dodd on his first tune, ‘Father Free Us’, before leaving the island for the USA, where he performed at various clubs and house parties. He then returned to Jamaica where he found employment with Rupie Edwards as the branch manager of Success Records, located at Half Way Tree. While working for Edwards he was allowed studio time to record ‘Make It When You Try’, but, like his earlier effort, it was overlooked by Jamaican music lovers. Accompanied by Skin Flesh And Bones in 1973, he recorded ‘No Jestering’, and two years later when released in the UK, it held the number 1 position in the reggae charts. Malcolm’s career took off with the follow-up, ‘Miss Wire Waist’, which demonstrated his smooth vocals. In an effort to appease his fans, he also acknowledged his love of larger women in the song ‘Fattie Bum Bum’, which became a UK Top 10 hit in September 1975. The lyrics, ‘Hey fatty bum bum, you sweet sugar dumpling, hey fatty bum bum let me tell you something, no not because your so big and fat, don’t believe I’m afraid of that, never let the big size fool you’, appealed to many, but in the eyes of the British record-buying public he was a one-hit-wonder. The song was covered by a UK-based group, the Diversions, who diverted enough sales from Malcolm to enjoy a chart hit alongside the original version. He returned to the reggae charts in the late 70s with the release of ‘Repatriation’ with Ranking Trevor. In 1992, Scotty reactivated Malcolm’s career when he covered ‘Miss Wire Waist’. Even though Malcolm had a UK Top 10 hit, no album was released to capitalize on his success. DJ Specials (VP 1981) featured both ‘No Jestering’ and ‘Miss Wire Waist’, providing the foundation to the DJ tracks.