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First Light Memories...

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I just wanted to put this call out to anyone who has a story,
anecdote, recollection, photo or just a comment in general about
their days of going to see First Light. We'd like to hear from you.
Let us know what it meant to you, how it felt and how it affected
your life. We'll be putting up a special section on my website, where we'll feature your
comments and photos. If

you'd like to send shout outs to friends you used to hang out with
back in the day that you've lost touch with, send 'em our way and
let's have a big ol' reunion online.

Who knows what it could turn into?

Send to:

Here are some memories...

My husband and I were at the reunion last night in the Plain Dealer Pavillion. You all really brought the LIGHT  and the sun and more ways than one! .... I had to be at work at 5:00 a.m, but now at 7:30 p.m I am still talking about the concert to everyone and reliving the night. All I can say, it should have been able to last another hour. You guys had  the youth of 20 years ago and so did all of us alumnis, reunited there,  wrinkles and all!  Don't separate again!
My memory of one night at Peabody's Cafe: A February night and it was a blizzard outside. I kept shouting for you guys to play ON THE BEACH, my favorite!   Carlos you shouted back, It's too cold to be on the beach."  But you played it and with all your heart!  What a special memory for me!

Hi Carlos,
I was so glad to see you over my big five-oh birthday/Memorial Day weekend at McCarthy's in the Flats. I'm happy that my sister had a chance to see you again while she was visiting from New Jersey too.
It doesn't happen so often, but sometimes I meet someone who is a reggae person. I have actually met a few of these people at my job at Medical Mutual. One person is my new boss. Turns out she is a reggae fan and she gave me a copy of the article about First Light from The Plain Dealer and the one in The Scene.
Reading them took me back to the time that I first heard was in 1979, I just graduated nursing school and was living at home, I was vacuuming and I heard Ital on WMMS, I think it was a Coffee Break Concert. I instantly fell in love with that music.  (why I remember I was vacuuming then, I don't know-it's kind of like remembering what you were doing when you heard that President Kennedy was shot-I was in afternoon kindergarten then) I didn't see Ital until later that summer, they were playing downtown at the Terminal Tower, I'm not sure what the event was though.
After that, I brought all kinds of people with me to hear Ital, and First Light, and now, your band.  I look back on those days and think of some of the happiest times in my life, surely the most fun. I made some wonderful friends. Even though I don't see them often, I absolutely love Nettie and Andra and Feather (and you guys of course). Sometimes I wonder what happened to some people, like those 2 chicks-Rita & Corrine, or Cole and Summer and Jan or Sandy or Geri Caruso, or that tall fellow-Jerry Stewart-though I think he spelled Jah-rey.  He gave me something that has been my most prized posession. He made a cassette of Ital's coffee break concert, sometime from the early 80's.  The day of the concert I was working at Deaconess and trying to listen to the concert on my little radio at the nurses station. Of course, the bedpans were calling me so I couldn't listen to the whole concert, so I was thrilled that he made me the cassette. I remember when I went to Detroit with Jah-rey to see you guys open for Steel Pulse. I attached a picture that I had of you and me taken before the concert. Gosh we looked young! I have also included a cute picture that I found of you and your brother at Mother's one year at Halloween. I hope you can open the files. I was also thinking about the time that Feather and I drove to hear you guys play in Cincinnati. And then there was Black Uhuru-that was in Ann Arbor I think. So many memories of Mother's and Peabodys and Tommys and Cheers, The Coventry Street Fair...I could go on and on...
Anyway, the reason for my email is that I wanted to wish you and all of First Light well for your reunion concert tomorrow. I wanted to be there, but our nephew is getting married tomorrow, so we won't be able to attend. Please give everyone my love. Best of luck to you all. I'm sure you'll be great. I thank you all for being a part of some of my best memories. And if you see Dave, please give him my love as well.  Ya know, you should have him sing with your band some time. If you do, be sure to let me know about it. I don't get to hear him much now, other than the occasional Reggaefest or Ital reunion, and I miss his pretty voice. (you have a pretty voice, too) 
Again, have a wonderful reunion tomorrow. (I hope you can offer a copy of that concert on your website, that way I won't totally miss it)
I look forward to seeing the PLUS band at the Reggaefest. That's my favorite day of the year. I count down the weeks on my calendar until the Reggaefest.
Thanks for everything.
Much love,
los and patti

norm and los

What a fabulous evening!  It was magical to watch your rehearsal and to see you put it all together on Saturday night.
I was jonesed to see you guys cut three songs, but I should not complain.
Thanks again.
Tony Shaker
P.S.  Looking forward to your August 2nd date for Krusty's.

On the occasion of First Light's 10 year reunion, I just wanted to take a moment and let you know how much your music has meant to me, over these last 20 + years. Circa Winter 1986, a friend of mine asked me to go and see this "awesome reggae band" @ the Phantasy Theater in Lakewood. I knew what reggae music was, primarily from hearing Bob Marley "Jamming", yet had never heard it performed live. That was an incredible night for me and the genesis of my love for live reggae music and the style in which you convey it. I remember you working the bongo's and jammin' guitar with your dreads flying all over, Gino wearing a tee shirt that said "Reggaecise", Chopper had his shades on playing incredible bass lines, Ed with a smoke in mouth on the keyboards, Rob on the conga's, and a very hip addition to the sound, Charlie ( I think was his name? ) on the sax. It was like going on vacation for a few hours, in fact it's pretty much always like that for me, when I get the chance to hear you play live. From there, I followed you guys around through the years, Peabody's Cafe & Downunder, Ray's in Kent, Rock & Reggae Fest in Hunstburg, all the old places and then your final gig @ The Odeon. ALWAYS, a great time & good food for the soul.
Some other great memories; a few years back my Daughter followed me along to a PLUS Band show behind the Rock Hall and got into it, so much so that she repeatedly asked me to "play that song about the children dad" (referring to "Children Unite" ) anytime we went for a car ride!  The first time I met you ( @ The LaSalle Theater) you were walking up the aisle and just said "hey, thanks for coming" and shook my hand. I thought that was really cool of you to take the second and do that. Course you've always been that way Carlos. Still my favorite memory was turning my best friend, Tim Morison ( he comes to a bunch of your shows and always talks with you on break ), on to your music. We caught your PLUS Band gig @ The Beachland, must have been 4 years ago or so and Tim just dove into the pool head first. He TOTALLY dug your sound and has been WAY into your music since. The next time we saw you & the Plus Band, over @ A.J. Rocco's, Tim wanted to meet you; of course we had our share of tequila's & cerveza's that night and he was a bit apprehensive at first. I said "dude, he's super cool, let's go say hello". We came over, of course you were very cordial and then Tim said to you something to you that we have tossed back and forth every time we're planning on coming to see one of your gig's; he goes "Carlos, you're an inspiration, an inspiration to me every day", albeit slightly slurred on the "inssssssspiration" part of it. We've laughed about that moment a lot, but the truth of it is that he nailed it. You really are an inspiration to so many, with your style of music and the positive vibes that you bring with it, every time. When you play, it not just music, it's the whole experience of being there; how alive it feels to be there and listen and feel the positive flow of energy. We're all fortunate to have the chance to hear you play and share in the positivity that is inherent in the music that you make. All of you, both the members of First Light and The PLUS Band, truly make living life here in Cleveland, that much better.
The attached photo is from a First Light gig 9/30/87 @ the "Chicken Out" @ Nautica, west bank of the Flats. I blanked out my face in an attempt to hid my late 80's dorkyness.........real good shot of you guys, another great memory, beautiful day, sunny & real nice out. Enjoy!
With sincere thanks,
Mike Albright

Hey Everybody-

Don't even know where to start, Had to be a good 15 or so years ago, I moved back from going to school in Florida, When my good friend Darren said "I have to take you to see this band, 'First Light', UNREAL".

After a good year or so of having the very distinct pleasure of being a 'roadie' for these guys, watching people in Boston, New York, D.C., Cinci, Ann Harbor, Kent, just come out in droves to see these guys perform was mind blowing. As you watched people from all walks of life, young, old, black or white, sing word for word as Carlos belted out each song was truly magical. You felt like you were part of history, loading it in, loading it out, day after day. I got to tell, to this day, I have MUCH LOVE, for each and every one of you guys, Carlos, Gino, Rod, Eddie, Chopper and Bob, and God rest his soul Larry D. Although I can't post any 'stories' on this sight, many of which, illegal (haha), one story that me and Darren still talk about is the time at Ann Harbor, we snuck in the bottle of Jeager, proceeded to inhale it on a break, found ourselves passed out the next morning, in my car, wearing Choppers Sony t-shirt on, and wearing most of the bottle on the logo!!! Sorry Chop. Can't wait to come see all of you guys, it will truly bring a tear to my eye, and if you need a hand with the equipment, you know I got your back.

With thanks and praises,

Doug Fulton - Crowd Control 2

What up Los?

                        Where do I begin!  The first light family, the first light posse, whatever you choose to call it!  I feel like I grew up w/you guys.  We used to go to Peabody’s Café in Cleve., Hts. On College i.d. night and it was the bomb.  I think that place packed something like 100+ peop’s  tops, and sometimes, well pretty much all of the time, you couldn’t even move by the time first light took the stage.   Peabody’s had that huge mirror hangin above, so that you could look down and see the band, that was nice, thank god that thing never fell down…whew!   Growing up in Cleveland and going to college in Kent was nice, cuz you guys would play at Mother’s Junction (Owner-Charlie Ray Thomas) in Kent as well as all over in Cleve.,as well as Ital and Satta.   At the time, Mother’s sold $1.50 draft beers in mason jars, that sh*t was the bomb!!! My buddy and I would stand in the Corner at Mother’s off to the side getting niced up the entire show.  Gino, Chopper and Bob would let me hang out in the back room and get niced up w/everybody, I would crack a couple of jokes and talk smack w/the band.  Nobody was stuck up or anything like that, it was all love, and some ball bustin…Gino said to me one time, “Geno, I’m gonna dedicate a song to you”, Chop started laughing, and when you guys took the stage, the song that Gino dedicated to me was, “Slap you in the Face”   I never laughed so hard, in fact, you guys were laughing while singing it,  I still laugh about to this very day.   Boy, do I miss the first light days!!!!!!!!!!!! Can’t wait for the re-up!!!!!!!!   I also remember seeing you guys at a private party in Akron, somehow I got in there too.  I didn’t know anyone there, and I really didn’t care, it was all about the muzak, you and I were talking about something, and you said to me, “I got some new tunes I been workin on, do you wanna take a listen.”   I must’ve spent an ½-hr. 45min. sitting in your van listening to new first light music…That meant a lot to me, because that made me feel as though you trusted my ear, as far as reggae, and what the people like.  Bottom line is, good dudes, good music.  One Love!  Peace Out!


Geno Booker

I have three stories about the strong impact First Light made on me growing up in northeastern Ohio that stuck with me was 1987-88-ish and by an amazing stroke of luck First Light played our high school theater. by then music engrossed me and reggae was the promised land. one moment i'm standing there and realize quite strongly that this slow rolling drumming is building & has gotten really heady. there's a higher energy to what i'm hearing and i'm engrossed in a meditative sort of way. it keeps rolling along and boom, unfolds beautifully into pink floyd's time. whoa, fully blown away. supremely well done. it was the first experience i had with well-played soul music making powerful magic & taking me somewhere else. i've heard a lot of amazing music throughout the past 2+ decades, including floyd, and i still tell the story about the night in high school when this reggae band from cleveland took me to other worlds. our whole school was hugely appreciative and were big fans. the best graduation party during my era, bar none, was the one where First Light played the back yard.....i picked up a Reggae Meltdown t-shirt at that first show. i was a competitive swimmer and for the next 6-8 years, on the day of my big event at the championship meet, i'd wear the Meltdown. super powers. i literally wore that shirt thin. maybe to this day my favorite t shirt ever.....but what i didn't pick up was the Meltdown cd. i bought the shirt and felt adding the cd was extravagant. i spent the next year or two with Meltdown on my list of cds to buy when found at cheapest price. i left Ohio for college and never heard much from First Light outside of Ohio. i would ask around but not much at all. i couldn't find the cd anywhere. (nor could i find any I-Tal, which i also wanted). as each year passed i'd get more anxious to find anything about First Light. i have a few songs on mix tapes that i still listen to and tonight i drove home with First Light jamming. i decided to give the google a try and see if i could connect to anything about First Light. so here i sit today in January 2008. it's been 20+ years after i first heard the Light, and i finally have completed the quest. i just ordered Meltdown & Groove Telepathy. thus ends the longest search for a specific cd of my lifetime.   
with so much Light energy flowing, you asked me to share any stories, so there you go. I love First Light & it played a huge role in my life. it's always stood out as something quality & serious- the whole First Light vibe with way more going on than national recognition suggests. way to go Ohio. give thanks & praises.
much peace & love, 
WRA '89
founder, RNC Philanthropy         

Even in Steamboat they know you...
So, I'm at this party, and there's reggae music playing, and the hostess and I are awkwardly trying to get to know each other better because our husbands work together, and the conversation goes something like this ...
Her: Actually, I grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio.
Me: Really? I lived in Cleveland for a few years, a long time ago.
Her: Why?
Me: I was married to a guy in a reggae band based there.
Her: Was it First Light? I used to go see them all the time at Peabody's.
Needless to say, we bonded. She was floored to discover that I'm not as "conservative" as she thought I was.
Hope you are well. And that the new year brings you all good things.
Shawn in Colorado

I attended Ohio Univ. 1984 - 1991.  Graduated in 91.
My friends and I  use to check out Ital and First Light at the Baker Center Front Room back in the day.
When First Light would come we would spend that day on the wall outside of the Front Room and pound pitchers of beer all day and get ready to skank at night. Carlos and the gang use to jam to the classics:
Reggae Meltdown
Apartment Living
Legalize It
Dock of the Bay
And the cover of Pink Floyd's Time was excellent!
And during Springfest, the day after Ital and First Light use to play at Lake Snowden for Bob Marley day!  Incredible fun!  Partying in the sun all day, playing hacky sack, frisbee, skanking and cooking out!  What a time to reflect.
Carlos has been playing music and I have been listening to his music the most of my adult life. His music is played  every where I go. When I see and hear him perform, it takes me back to the wonderful times and the friends I made at OU and that will stay with me forever. Carlos, you are the Reggae Master!
You keep jammin and we will keep smilin!
One Love,
Mark (from South Carolina)

Hey Los,

I just wanted to tell you how much you, First Light and the PLUS Band has meant to me.  I truly cannot put into words how much I have enjoyed seeing you perform throughout the last 15 years.  Can you believe it has been that long???  You are so charismatic and fun to see.  You always have so much energy and easily draw in the crowd.  Besides the fact you are one of the nicest men I have ever met your music is incredible.  My husband told me he thinks your voice is better than Bob Marley's.  I would have to agree.  I started seeing you in High School (Junior year when I moved to Cleveland).  We used to go to Peabody, Shooters, Euclid Tavern, etc.  Then you would occasionally come to Columbus when I was at OSU.  I don't recall ever missing a show in C-town.  I would bring all of my friends out with me and can remember all of the compliments I got on how great you and the band were awesome; let alone the requests to bring them the next time. I remember specifically telling a boyfriend that seeing you is one of the only times I am truly on cloud 9 and then I would refuse to have anything get in the way of that.  : ) 

I remember the first time we talked at Chelsie's.  I always thought it was so special that you talked with your fans during the entire break at every show.  No lead singers I have seen do that.  I can tell you genuinely care about your fans.

Remember when I had you play at my sorority date party?  What a night!  I think we all had a bit too much to drink.  Or the time I brought my family to meet you at shooters and how my brother was just infatuated with you. How about the time recently when I came from Raleigh and completely surprised you at the show?  That was a kodak moment if I have ever had one.  I have a TON of memories however. Listing them all would take hours. I can honestly say your music inspires me and truly touches my heart. I don't think I’ve enjoyed anything as much as seeing you play. You are truly gifted and ALWAYS put a smile on my face.  

Having you and the PLUS band at my wedding was truly the highlight of the night (and one of the most special memories in my life).  I cannot tell you how many people complimented me on what a great band we had.  Thank you Carlos for being you and please always know I will NEVER forget you. You will always have a special place in my heart. . . I genuinely mean that! 


With Love, Catherine

"ahh it is lovely to think about First Light...

I've had the pleasure of meeting numerous First Light fans at the PLUS shows. They ask me about hanging out with the band and what my favorites are. Often the conversation revolves around... do they play 'Apartment Living' or this song or that song... Although I have yet to see First Light perform live, one of my all time favorite Carlos songs is titled 'Running' on my First Light CD. Talking about getting into it when you're around, being free just you and me... hmmm, and that beat! It just makes me want to twirl with my girls. First Light, Carlos Jones, Peace Love and Unity Syndicate: The spirit moves us all. The Irie vibes move and guide us to peace and joy.
Thank you Carlos for the many Inspiring Moments and Irie Vibes.

Peace and Much Love to you

Hey Carlos,

I forget what year, but you were playing at The Farm for Midwest Fest & I like many others that day - had waaaay toooo much to drink. You guys came on and I started yelling & annoying I'm sure for you to play your version of Pink Floyd's “Time”. First Light left the stage to burn one down behind & then came back and played it - toooo coool. I first saw you play the tune at The Cleveland Reggae Fest in the Harbor & wanted to hear it again. Sorry if I annoyed you guys that day, not sure if you remember… hell, not sure how I do. But thanks for the music Bro!

See ya soon,



Happy 2008 to you too! Well, I've told you this story before but I'll tell it again: It was 1987 and First Light was playing at the Zoo. My parents and neighbors took us to see you play and I was mesmerized! I was 11 at the time; from that point on I wanted to be a reggae musician. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the inspiration.


My memories of First Light have to include Lazlo Czin. Lazlo was my soccer coach as a little kid. He got a bunch of First Light t-shirts and thus was born the First Light soccer team. Oh yes, we represented and like the band, we were winners. We would come and watch shows after games sometimes, and I am sure that it contributed (in a big way) to many of us loving reggae (and you Carlos).


Peace and Love, Kabir


(p.s. tune in to Ishence on WCSB 89.3 every Tues 5:30-7pm)


Idris Kabir







Hi Carlos,

I have had a lot of First Light memories or non-memories in some cases when I drank too much to remember everything :)  But my best memories of First Light were your shows at The Dugout in Athens, Ohio, Chelsie's in Columbus and Ludlow's in Columbus where my friend Katie and I did a few shots with the band. I still listen to the CD's, Reggae Meltdown and Groove Telepathy and it takes me back to my college days and the best times of my life! Thanks for all the great music and memories, there will never be a time like that again.

Take care,

Do you remember playing on Cedar and Taylor one warm June night when the fire marshal shut the place down in mid show? I think somebody had poured beer on him from the upstairs and he was really angry! The Mother's Junction days with I-Tal and the blonde bouncing keyboard girl were awesome too.

Tom Lally

I first heard First Light at the Frontier Room in the Ohio University Student Union in 1987-88.  Prior to this I had very little experience with roots music and my time with First Light (I probably saw them a dozen times there) changed my life.  I went on to have a life long love of reggae (specifically roots) that has taken me to Jamaica several time.  Additionally, I wrote my musicology doctoral dissertation at the University of Kansas on Bob Marley's music.  I have since published two books on Bob and an encyclopedia of Caribbean popular music that has a heavy emphasis on Jamaican styles.  I owe a great debt to Carlos and the boys for having gotten me started on this journey.  At their Front Room shows I also met many great people who I remain in contact with 20 years later.  One Love First Light!
David V. Moskowitz, Ph. D.
University of South Dakota
Coordinator of Graduate Studies in Music
Associate Professor of Music History