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The Carltons

The Carltons -- James Leon Diggs, Larry Bell, and Jerry Norris -- from Washington, D.C., were Chess Records' answer to the Impressions. A&R director Billy Davis was so enamored with Diggs' songwriting skills that he signed them to a deal, even though Diggs was already contracted to Chess with Richard Dunbar as the Knight Brothers. They sounded totally different -- the Knight Brothers sang emotionally gripping, down-home soul with heavy gospel overtones, while the Carltons' breezy, soulful sounds were reminiscent of second-tier Impressions.

Andy Mack's early 1964 single on Chess, "Later Than You Think" b/w "Do You Wanna Go," featured the Carltons. It flopped, but the Carltons issued their first single, "Ooo Baby" b/w "Can't You Hear the Beat," in May 1964. Diggs shifted between both acts depending on who had something going on. Neither ever caught fire, so there was never a conflict. "Hey Mr. Lonesome" b/w "Easy Livin'" (September 1964) was their most successful single, but it was a turntable hit: the units sold didn't equal the radio action.

Chess issued the Carltons' singles on their Argo subsidiary; the final one appeared the same month (October 1964) as the Knight Brothers' first single, which was recorded in Chicago. Previous 45s were cut in D.C. and New York. "I'm a Man" b/w "Keep on Hoping" is the only Carltons single that Diggs didn't write (besides Andy Mack's -- Shena De Mell and Sugar Pie DiSanto co-wrote both sides, with Billy Davis collaborating on the A-side). The single failed to do anything, and the Carltons resigned; ironically, the Knight Brothers' "Temptations 'Bout to Get Me," issued the same month as the Carltons swan single, was the duo's biggest record. Diggs sang with the Starfires on two late-'50s singles on Decca Records. ~ Andrew Hamilton
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: I Am The Upsetter (Box)

Disc 1

7. Return Of Django

8. Check Him Out

9. Prisoner Of Love

10. Return Of The Ugly

11. Rightful Ruler

13. Medical Operation

15. Shocks Of The Mighty

17. Duppy Conqueror

18. Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying

20. Place Called Africa

21. Give Me Power

23. Beat Down Babylon

25. Small Axe Version 2 (Aka Shocks '71)

Disc 2

1. Public Enemy Number One

2. Professor Ironside

3. Hot & Cold

5. Preacher Man

7. Babylose Burning

9. Cow Thief Skank

10. Black Ipa

11. Jungle Lion

12. Bathroom Skank

13. Words

14. Dub Organiser

15. Better Days

16. Station Underground News

17. Rebels Train

18. To Be A Lover

19. Herb Vendor

21. Curly Locks

23. Woman & Money

Disc 3

1. Bury The Razor

2. Woman Gotta Have Love

4. Fire Fe The Vatican

5. Roots Train Number One

6. Ital Corner

7. Thanks & Praise

9. I Was Appointed

10. Groovy Situation

12. Know Love

13. Sons Of Slaves

Disc 4

1. Cloak & Dagger

2. Rude Walking

4. Black Panta

9. Fungea

12. Kingdom Of Dub

13. Dubism

14. Lizard Stick

15. Dub Fu Ye Rights

16. Foundation Solid

18. Vampire

Comments

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FIRME OLDIE!!
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Truly impressing style the the bes5 __
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Ooh yeah aah!
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affajbar
u must truly have a tin ear and no soul ?...a kool tune!!
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No way.

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