From 1994 to 1999, Midnite was arguably the premier roots reggae band in D.C. It might still be, too, had vocalist Vaughn Benjamin and his bassist brother Ron (left and right, respectively) not moved back to their native St. Croix, Virgin Islands.
Midnite made two records while living here, 1997’s “Unpolished” and 1999’s “Ras Mek Peace.” But since then, the group’s catalog has exploded and now includes more than 40 albums. Five were released in 2011 alone, including “Anthology,” a comp of 14 unreleased tracks, and November’s well-received “King’s Bell.” The brand-new “In Awe,” out this month, continues the pile-on.
With so much music available, it might seem difficult to know where to dive into Midnite’s discography. The truth is, you can start anywhere: Midnite is crazy consistent, and “Mongst I & I,” the single off “King’s Bell,” is one of the Benjamin brothers’ greatest songs. Vaughn’s sweet but textured vocals are propelled by Ron’s slow, rolling bass lines, giving Midnite an earthy, ’70s roots reggae vibe.
Jah knows Midnite last forever.