Don Carlos

Prophecy [1995]

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Producer Robert "Flacko" Palmer was walking on a knife's edge during the making of Don Carlos' Prophecy album. He wanted to fill the set with deep roots atmospheres, à la the singer's former band, Black Uhuru, but then ran the risk of overwhelming Carlos' fragile vocals. The backing We the People band was sympathetic to the situation, and together the men came up with a superb dread set that beautifully showcases and supports the singer. The solution lay in Errol Brown's sublime mix, as he played down Lloyd Parkes and Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace's fiery rockers rhythms, while giving full rein to the rich melodies and atmospheres the rest of the band was creating. The result was a rockers set, filled with evocative, haunting atmospheres, but with a less broody feel than most dread records, and one that showcased Carlos' vocals in their best light. Every one of the set's six numbers is a masterpiece, with only the adamant "Gimme Gimme Your Love" falling outside the cultural realm. "Crucial Situation" and "Working Everyday" both tackle poverty and poverty wages, and resonate with injustice. "Live in Harmony" is Carlos at his most resolute, and for those who refuse to heed his calls and continue to brutalize the people, there'll be much weeping and wailing when "Prophecy" is finally fulfilled. "Jah Hear My Plea" is a personal prayer for Jah's aid for a sufferer lost in Babylon. Each song is presented in extended form, floating without break from the vocal cut into its dub. The dubs are equally crucial, for now listeners can wallow in We the People's phenomenal musicianship as the rhythms come to the fore and Brown hones in on the solos and stunning riffs. With a lineup that also included Winston "Bo-Peep" Bowen, Winston Wright, Earl "Wire" Lindo, Frank "Bubbler" Waul, Felix "Deadly Headly" Bennett, and Dave Madden, We the People was a devastating unit, and this album features some of the band's greatest work, with Junior Marvin's fiery lead guitar of particular note. Although the original 1981 album was titled Suffering, subsequent releases were titled after the "Prophecy" track, an equally apt moniker for the set.

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