Clinton Fearon has managed to accomplish something that few other roots reggae heroes from the 60s and 70s have – to continue to release consistent and excellent albums in the 21st century. This ex-Gladiator’s solo output is just as great as the music he released together with Albert Griffiths and Gallimore Sutherland.
And his brand new album Goodness is no exception. Far from it. This 13 track album is just as great as his two previous sets Heart & Soul and Mi Deh Yah.
It was recorded in Seattle – where Clinton Fearon has lived since he relocated from Jamaica in the late 80s – and produced by himself. It’s a vibrant and earthy album that only collects freshly skanking originals packed with affecting harmonies, electrifying arrangements and unexpected instruments such as flute and strings.
Clinton Fearon rustic and unpolished tone is a joy listening to. And it suits the pulsating riddims and uplifting and joyous spirit of the album very, very well.
Clinton Fearon’s music has always been rooted in the classic sounds of the 70s with real instrumentation and live drums, horns and bass. Goodness – or should I say Greatness – is yet another fine example of how Clinton Fearon and his Boogie Brown Band takes the reggae legacy to the present day.
Goodness was released on March 24 in Europe and hits the U.S. on May 17.
Ex-Gladiator Clinton Fearon and his Boogie Brown band will be releasing their new album Goodness on March 24 on the Chapter Two label (Europe) and on May 17 on the Kool Yu Foot label (U.S.)
The band will also tour to support the album and they wish to hit the road with a full line-up. However, touring with top notch musicians is not a bargain and that’s why Clinton Fearon and the Boogie Brown band need funding. If you want you can contribute and help to finance their tour by visiting their Kickstarter campaign for Goodness Tour 2014.
Check the campaign here. The site also features exclusive previews and a video where Clinton Fearon and the musicians present the project.
Clinton Fearon is a fascinating man. He has managed to make solid reggae for over five decades. That’s mighty impressive.
He started his long career in roots reggae outfit The Gladiators and remained in the group until 1987, when he relocated to Seattle. He was bass player, percussionist and singer, and I’ve always loved the Gladiators tunes where he takes lead on the microphone. Chatty Chatty Mouth, Rich Man Poor Man and Babylon Street are only a few examples of big tunes where he takes the lead vocal duties.
He has recorded albums under his own name since the 90’s and several of them are great efforts, especially Give & Take and the acoustic Mi An’ Mi Guitar, which include the weeping Who Cares.
His new album Mi Deh Yah – a Jamaican expression meaning I’m here – is in the same vein as his previous solo records. This is roots reggae at its core best. There’s not a single weak track on this album.
Clinton Fearon’s yearning voice is as good as it was back in the 70’s. He’s in the same school as Burning Spear, Stranger Cole and the massively under recorded Sang Hugh. It’s rural. It’s bluesy. It’s an up in the hills type of sound.
And even though Clinton Fearon has been in the music business for ages, he still has fresh ideas. There’s mariachi feel in the ska instrumental Focus and there’s some Burt Bacharach sounding flute in Tell the World.
Several tracks also include string arrangements. Not the orchestral arrangements that were overdubbed onto some tunes released on the legendary Trojan label in the late 60’s and early 70’s. The use of strings here has more in common with the dark Augustus “Gussie” Clarke’s production Black Man Time by I Roy.
Clinton Fearon has not turned 60 yet and hopefully he has much, much more to give. Because I want more. Plenty more.