Dougie Simpson

In 2014 you can catch Dougie Simpson entertaining a packed room every Sunday at Skully’s with the Flex Crew. But In 1989, the reggae singer was in between groups, kickin’ it at the OG Skankland over on 5th and Cleveland Ave and creepin’ on a come up.

The product of the moment in time is the “Rumors/Worthy Is the Lamb” single that originally dropped in, in 1990 via Chilly Pepper Records. This single is set to be re-released this month on 12 inch vinyl.

The extremely tall, and soft- spoken Simpson explained to me over the weekend why he choose to bust out with this “Rumors” solo- record originally.

Simpson explained, “A guy I respected told me the only way I would get respect as a singer was if I made a record. That was my main impetus for making the record.”

Back in 1989, Dougie had just left the Idren Posse, and had not yet joined Roots Express or the Ark Band. Flex crew was 10 years later.

Idren Posse was a big group around town through various gigs and songs at the time.

In 87, they opened up for Alexander O’Neal, and the Force MD’s.

In 89, Dougie was in between projects so he hit Ax Studios out on the Westside and also did some work at Thornapple to get a record done.

The “Rumors” songs starts with people gossiping in Jamaican Patios, “Yah mon. Chilly Pepper. Dougie. We not think him sing anymore. Him need to pick up a trade.” A drum machine comes in that leads to uptempo keyboards

and bass.
Over this digi-bed Simpson sings

about various things he hard heard about himself for this stunner of a local classic.

The funniest part is that Dougie was the source of the rumors.

He knew he was in between groups and people of the Columbus reggae community were wondering what his next move was.

Simpson said of the climate in 1989 before he dropped this single in 1990. “I came up with a scheme. Me and a couple friends of mine spread rumors that I was quitting music. That I was frustrated. I was quitting. I was gonna join the army like it says on the record.”

So basically Simpson sent his friends on a misinformation campaign to Skankland, Negus and Crazy Mama’s.

And it worked, Simpson recalled, “ That got around. Of course. Columbus is a small place Then the record came out. That was the theme behind the rumors. Plus just the fact that people put out rumors when you are an artist about you. ‘I heard this. I head that about you.’ It

was a spoof on that as well. “
The record dropped in late 1990 and became an underground favorite throughout Ohio, New York and the

Windy City.
The unique part of the record is

that Dougie played all the music on it, and also did the artwork. Dougie was an illustrator who moved from Brooklyn to Columbus in the 80’s to go to OSU and then later CCAD. So Dougie was the guy who hooked up a lot of flyers back in the day.

I asked Mr. Simpson why he was so hands on.

His response is fairly obvious,


“Creative control. I was blessed/ lucky. As a singer I took up an instrument. I always had a good ear. So I played keyboards. Fortunately most of the stuff is keyboard driven. The bass. The drums. The Keyboard. The guitar. I was in business producing for myself.”

The B-side to “Rumors” is “Worth Is the Lamb.” This is a song that takes the environment out of OTE/ Downtown/the Short North to a more spiritual plane lifting its title from Revelations 5:6-13.

Well, his mother’s son came up with the title but the Bible is the origin.

Dougie said of “Worthy is the Lamb,” “It was on the spiritual side of things. It was to encourage people to keep doing well. Don’t faint when doing well. Your day will come.”

Dougie’s day did come. He has been an important figure in Columbus reggae for almost 30 years now; playing with the Ark Band, Addis, Natty Roots, and Dub Enforcement Agency.

The Flex Crew started in 1999, and still packs Skully’s every Sunday. Simpson is doing a solo “Lover’s Rock” EP with Doctah X.

I asked Simpson how he has managed to stay in the Columbus music game for so long.

His response?
“Passion. Good Fortune.

Somebody is watching over me in terms of my career in terms of I can still consistently sing. I improve at it. I study at it. And I work at it very hard to improve my craft. I dunno. Passion.”

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