Boogie Down Productions / Chapter Two Records
March 29, 2014
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 5||Backing : 4/5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4/5|
Clinton Fearon was born in St. Andrew and grew up deep in the hills of St.Catherine, Jamaica. He discovered music singing alone among the trees and later singing at the Adventist church in the country. He settled in Kingston when he was about 16, working on the roads and playing music for himself. At the end of 1969 Clinton Fearon met Errol Grandisson, who was looking for a guitarist to replace David Webber inside The Gladiators. Fearon passed an audition with Albert Griffiths and became the third Gladiator at the age of 18. He was a member during 18 years, playing bass, singing harmonies, and, alongside Albert Griffiths, writing and singing some of the most beautiful songs of the group such as "Chatty Chatty Mouth, Richman Poorman, Let Jah Be Praised, Streets Of Freedom" and many more. He also was a house musician for Coxsonne Dodd's Studio One and Lee 'Scratch' Perry's Black Ark Studio, and composed many lasting bass lines for Yabby You, Jimmy Riley, Max Romeo, Junior Byles, to name but a few.
After touring the US in 1987 he settled in Seattle and co-founded the reggae band The Defenders. He released his first compilation of original songs, 'Feel the Spirit', in 1990. In 1994, 'Disturb The Devil', a collection of 13 songs written and produced by Fearon, quickly received critical acclaim around the globe. The album 'Mystic Whisper' was released in early 1997 and once again proved Fearon's versatility as he delivered a variety of themes in the sweet style that has become his signature. The album 'What A System' mixed by renown Jamaican engineer, Scientist, was released in June 1999. A double CD with a full disc of dub, it garnered four star reviews worldwide. 'Soon Come' was released in May 2002 and was quickly named Album of the Month in September 2002 by French reggae publication, Ragga. In 2004 came the release of the 'Live At Reggae Bash' DVD, a live performance from Lyon, France, capturing Clinton Fearon's charismatic and powerful live show. That same year saw the release of the highly acclaimed 'Give And Take' set.
'Mi An' Mi Guitar' released in 2005, is Fearon's brilliant acoustic collection. It demonstrated that his spirit and songwriting skills could stand tall all alone (just "mi and mi guitar"). Critics compared Fearon's artistry in 'Mi An' Mi Guitar' to Picasso's. November 2006 saw the release of 'Vision' with Clinton Fearon's message full of hope. For the first time since Gladiators, he was playing his bass lines on his own songs. 'Vision' also counted Nelson Miller (drummer with Burning Spear) on drums and Winston Watson (Meditations) to complete the harmonies alongside Ire. Still on bass, Clinton Fearon released his first dub album in 2008, 'Faculty Of Dub'. In 2010 he presented his masterpiece, 'Mi Deh Yah', followed by the album 'Heart And Soul', a stunning collection of acoustic reggae tunes.
He describes his music as follows: "My music is roots reggae from the island of Jamaica. I grew up deep in the hills, up in St. Catherine, surrounded by nature, beauty and hard work. Even as a child, I knew I wanted to be a musician and began my career singing in church and at school, and eventually built my own guitar! As a teenager, my journeys took me to Kingston where I met many musicians and began writing and recording music. The Skatalites, Motown artists and Jamaican musicians who came before me all influenced my music. I write from my heart. The world is full of inspirations... nature, people, politics, love. I write about them all. My music is good for the soul - always with a message of hope and betterment for tomorrow. It's good for dancing, good for listening and I think it's good for all."
Some two years later he's back with a new and flawless collection of well crafted songs that will please any long time reggae fan. All songs are written and composed by Clinton Fearon, except for the bonus track with chords and beat by Mark Oi. The album was recorded and mixed by Mell Dettmer at Aleph Studio, Seattle, WA, while the bonus track was recorded and mixed by Mark Oi on his laptop in his living room. Although Clinton Fearon stays far away from experimental musical efforts, he has added an interesting bonus track to his album. Shadow is the one and only 'non-reggae' tune here. It's a kind of gospel flavored acoustic tune, reminding us of classic blues songs from the Mississippi Delta!
The rest of the tunes are superb reggae tunes, firmly rooted in the Roots Rock Reggae of the 70s. Live instruments, songs with catchy melodies and lyrically to the point. Clinton Fearon proves once more that he is one of the finest song smiths in reggae music! If you're into auto-tuned vocals, synth drive riddims and dancehall flavors skip this album, or better... have a close listen and discover what you have been missing all those years!
We cannot spot any 'filler' here, it's pure quality! Favorite tunes are Come By Yah, a sparkling Ska driven tune, bringing back memories of The Wailers at Studio One - excellent tune! Long Run Short Catch is another track that we couldn't get out of our heads, a fine roots tune. A truly remarkable effort has to be Wi No Know, starting with a Curtis Mayfield alike spoken intro, while the song itself is enhanced by the use of the flute and cuica (a Brazilian friction drum with a large pitch range).
Do yourself a favor and GET this album!