The Info List - Carlton Barrett

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CARLTON "CARLY" BARRETT (17 December 1950 – 17 April 1987) was an influential reggae drummer and percussion player. His musical development in the early years was with his brother Aston "Family Man" Barrett as a member of Lee "Scratch" Perry
Lee "Scratch" Perry
's "house band" The Upsetters . The brothers joined Bob Marley
Bob Marley
and The Wailers around 1970. He wrote the well known Bob Marley
Bob Marley
song "War" and with his brother Aston co-wrote "Talkin' Blues". Carlton Barrett is featured on all the albums recorded by the Wailers. Barrett popularised the one drop rhythm , a percussive drumming style created by Winston Grennan . With Carly's beats and his brother Aston's bass, the Wailer rhythm section planted the seeds of today's international reggae. Barrett was murdered outside his home in Jamaica
on 17 April 1987.


"Carly Barrett", as he liked to be called, was born in Jamaica
in 1950, the son of Wilfred and Violet Barrett. As a teenager he built his first set of drums out of some empty paint tins, and had initially been influenced by Lloyd Knibb , the great drummer from the Skatalites . He and his brother Aston were raised in Kingston and absorbed the emerging ska sound. Working as a welder he first tried building a guitar and playing. He realised guitar wasn't his thing and picked up the drums.

In the late 1960s Carlton started playing sessions with his brother Aston, the pair calling themselves the Soul Mates or the Rhythm Force, before settling on The Hippy Boys , a line-up that featured Max Romeo on vocals. Leroy Brown , Delano Stewart , Glen Adams and Alva Lewis also played in the band's fluctuating line-up.

The Hippy Boys became one of Kingston's busiest session bands; fittingly their first recording was "Watch This Sound", backing the late Slim Smith . They also released a couple of albums for Lloyd Charmers , Reggae
with the Hippy Boys and Reggae
Is Tight. As well as playing on many sessions for Bunny Lee
Bunny Lee
and Sonia Pottinger , the Barrett brothers also played on two 1969 UK chart hits, "Liquidator" for Harry J
Harry J
, and "Return of Django" for Lee "Scratch" Perry
Lee "Scratch" Perry
, with whom they had now taken root.

For Perry, they took the name The Upsetters , and knocked out a long run of instrumentals, including "Clint Eastwood", "Cold Sweat", "Night Doctor", and "Live Injection". It was while with Perry that the Barrett brothers first teamed up with The Wailers, then a vocal trio consisting of Bob, Peter and Bunny. After recording many now classic numbers, Carly and Aston decided to team up with The Wailers on a permanent basis.

The Barrett brothers recorded several singles with the Wailers in 1969–70: "My Cup (Runneth Over)", "Duppy Conqueror, "Soul Rebel", and "Small Axe". Most of these songs appeared on two Perry-produced Wailers albums: Soul Rebels
Soul Rebels
and Soul Revolution, and formed the early foundation of the one drop sound.

Though original Wailers Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston left the group in 1973, Carlton and Aston remained with Bob Marley
Bob Marley
and went on to record Natty Dread
Natty Dread
in 1974. Carlton has songwriting credits for two of Natty Dread's songs: "Talkin' Blues" and "Them Belly Full".

Carlton remained with the Wailers in the studio and on tour until Bob Marley's death in 1981. His signature style can be heard on every recording the Wailers produced since 1969, with the exception of the 1970 "Soul Shakedown Party" sessions produced by Leslie Kong .

On 17 April 1987, just as Carlton arrived at his Kingston home and walked across his yard, a gunman stepped up behind him and shot him twice in the head. He was dead on arrival at a Kingston hospital at age 36.

Shortly after his murder, Carlton's wife, Albertine, her lover, a taxi driver named Glenroy Carter, and another man, Junior Neil, were arrested and charged with his killing. Albertine and Carter escaped the murder charge, and were instead convicted and sentenced to 7 years for conspiracy . After just one year in prison, they were released in December 1992 on a legal technicality .


Throughout his tenure with the Wailers and other projects, Carlton used a standard five-piece drum set consisting of a bass drum , two tom-toms (mounted on the bass drum), a floor tom-tom, and a snare drum .

Each tom-tom had only one drumhead , which gave the drums a dry sound that was ideal for the close-miked environment of the recording studio. However, it was Carlton's snare drum which was perhaps the biggest part of his signature sound. Carlton used Ludwig drums, and his snare was the popular Supraphonic model, which is made of "ludalloy", an aluminium alloy . The metal construction of the drum, in combination with the extremely high head tension that Carlton preferred, produced a loud, cutting "crack" sound that was a very prominent element of the Wailers' recordings. Carlton almost always left the snare wires of the drum disengaged, making the drum sound very similar to a timbale .

It is unknown exactly what make and model of cymbals were used on Carlton's drum set, although it is very likely that they were made by the Avedis Zildjian Company
Avedis Zildjian Company
in the United States
United States
and imported into Jamaica. Carlton used only a pair of hi-hat cymbals (relatively light in weight), at times with a cloth placed between the two cymbals, and two crash cymbals (most likely of medium weight), but due the nature of Carlton's style, in which the snare drum, bass drum, and hi-hat cymbals were the primary timekeeping instruments, he did not use a ride cymbal .

He also used a cowbell for live performances, evident in Bob Marley ">

* v * t * e

Bob Marley
Bob Marley
and the Wailers


* Other vocalists: Junior Braithwaite * Cherry Smith * Beverley Kelso * Constantine Walker * Rita Marley
Rita Marley
* Marcia Griffiths
Marcia Griffiths
* Judy Mowatt
Judy Mowatt

* Musicians: Aston Barrett * Carlton Barrett * Earl Lindo * Tyrone Downie
Tyrone Downie
* Alvin Patterson
Alvin Patterson
* Al Anderson * Earl Smith * Donald Kinsey
Donald Kinsey
* Junior Marvin
Junior Marvin



* The Wailing Wailers
The Wailing Wailers
(1965) * Soul Rebels
Soul Rebels
(1970) * Soul Revolution
Soul Revolution
(1971) * The Best of The Wailers
The Best of The Wailers


* Catch a Fire
Catch a Fire
(1973) * Burnin\' (1973) * Natty Dread
Natty Dread
(1974) * Rastaman Vibration (1976) * Exodus (1977) * Kaya (1978) * Survival (1979) * Uprising (1980) * Confrontation (1983)



* Legend (1984) * Rebel Music (1986) * Natural Mystic (1995) * One Love (2001) * Gold (2005) * Africa Unite
Africa Unite


* African Herbsman
African Herbsman
(1973) * Rasta Revolution (1974)



* Live! (1975) * Babylon by Bus (1978) * Talkin\' Blues (1991) * Live at the Roxy (2003) * Live Forever (2011) * Uprising Live! (2014) * Easy Skanking In Boston '78 (2015)


* Chances Are (1981) * Chant Down Babylon
Chant Down Babylon
(1999) * B Is for Bob (2009)


* Songs of Freedom (1992) * The Complete Bob Marley border-left-width:2px;border-left-style:solid;width:100%;padding:0px">

* Catch a Fire
Catch a Fire
Tour (1973) * Burnin\' Tour (1973) * Natty Dread
Natty Dread
Tour (1975) * Rastaman Vibration Tour (1976) * Smile Jamaica
Concert (1976) * Exodus Tour (1977) * One Love Peace Concert (1978) * Kaya Tour (1978) * Babylon by Bus Tour (1979) * Survival Tour (1979–1980) * Uprising Tour (1980)


* The Skatalites
* The Upsetters * The I Threes
I Threes
* Word, Sound and Power * The Wailers Band * The Original Wailers


* Chris Blackwell * Errol Brown * Allan Cole * Coxsone Dodd
Coxsone Dodd
* Vincent Ford * Neville Garrick * Joe Higgs * Lee Jaffe * Arthur Jenkins * King Sporty * Leslie Kong * Johnny Nash
Johnny Nash
* Jimmy Norman * Lee "Scratch" Perry
Lee "Scratch" Perry
* Mortimer Planno * Karl Pitterson * Alex Sadkin


* Discography * Band members * Marley Natural * Upsetter Records * Tuff Gong * Bob Marley
Bob Marley
Museum * Tribute to the Legend: Bob Marley
Bob Marley
* Marley (soundtrack ) * Hall of Fame: A Tribute to Bob Marley\'s 50th Anniversary * Time Will Tell: A Tribute to Bob Marley
Bob Marley
* One Love: The Bob Marley
Bob Marley


* v * t * e

Bob Marley
Bob Marley
and the Wailers singles


* " Stir It Up "


* " Get Up, Stand Up " * " I Shot the Sheriff "


* " No Woman, No Cry "


* " Positive Vibration "


* " Waiting in Vain " * "Jamming " * " Three Little Birds " * " One Love/People Get Ready "


* "Is This Love "


* "Zimbabwe "


* " Could You Be Loved
Could You Be Loved
" * " Redemption Song
Redemption Song


* " Jah Live " * "Punky Reggae
Party "


* "Buffalo Soldier " * " Iron Lion Zion " * "Sun Is Shining " * " Turn Your Lights Down Low " * "Slogans " * "Mr Brown "


* WorldCat Identities * VIAF : 85861437 * ISNI : 0000 0000 7730 3422 * GND : 134684990 * MusicBrainz
: 1e85ec19-0c22-4a7e-b7ce-784