2012 is turning out to be an annus horribilis for WHRW. We lost “Polka Papa” Dan Jan Walikis last month, Now I’ve just gotten word that Binghamton’s most knowledgeable reggae DJ has also gone to be with Elvis.
Ras Charles never lived like a member of the music industry despite having known personally literally dozens of reggae musicians, producers, promoters and record label owners. And if my memory serves me correctly, Charles produced and promoted some shows of his own. He had a walk-in closet which was full of tapes of live shows, many sent in by the artists themselves.
I’ve visited his humble apartment on Binghamton’s west side many times over the last decade. Its walls were papered with posters and photographs of everything from music festivals to old- and new-school reggae personalities, some of whom were photographed with Charles standing right next to them.
Ras Charles’ passing is not just a personal loss to the WHRW family, it’s a loss to an international audience who’d come to know him for his weekly mix of old and new artists’ studio and live performances.
Goodbye, Charles. I’ll miss you.