Keep My Fire Burnin'
Carl I
January 27, 2008

Track list
  1. Light Of The Universe
  2. Rare Moments
  3. Ises
  4. Heart Of Darkness
  5. Closer Than A Brother
  6. Neo Colonial Africa
  7. Ras Tafari
  8. Who Kill The DJ
  9. One With You All
  10. Keep My Fire Burnin'
  11. Remedy
  12. Why Be A Monk
  13. Queen Of The Streets
  14. Ice Cream
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 3 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 4/5
Some twenty years ago one of reggae's greatest music journalists, Carl Gayle (aka Carl I or Iyah Carl), recorded a few notable songs including "Ice Cream". The latter is featured on his debut album entitled "Keep My Fire Burnin'", which was released about six months ago. While listening to the 14 tracks on this cd the first impression you'll get is that this is a very unusual collection of tunes... and indeed it is! After having spun the cd several times it's still unusual what your ears hear, but it's also obvious that this is one of those albums that grows on you.

Carl I's distinctive vocal delivery is backed by a variety of different sounds, which are reminiscent of the sounds of the early 1970s that were created in the North London area, as opposed to the more commercial kind of reggae coming from Chalk Farm studio in Camden Town. The raw scrubbing kind of riddims utilized in most of the tracks create a strong vintage vibe. However you never get the feeling that it's an old-fashioned kind of reggae music you're listening to, and that's exactly the strength of this set. When it comes to the lyrical side of things you certainly won't get disappointed, because Carl I has some serious things to say as can be heard in great songs like "Heart Of Darkness", "Neo Colonial Africa", and the title track "Keep My Fire Burnin'".

As already pointed out this isn't an album that instantly grabs you. But when you approach it with an open mind and give it quite a few spins, you're going to appreciate Carl I's efforts.