Sign Time
Kingman & Jonah
Sun King Records
Enhanced CD
December 8, 2008

Track list
  1. Draw My Sword
  2. Lonely Nights
  3. Sign Time
  4. Windows Of My Mind
  5. Baghdad
  6. In The Street
  7. So Wrapped Up
  8. Star Wars
  9. World War III
  10. Amazing Grace
  11. Didgy Dodgy
  12. I Need You
  13. Sun Sun
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
The release of Claudius Linton's compilation "Roots Master: The Vintage Roots Reggae Singles Vol. 1" at the end of 2007 was greeted with a high amount of enthusiasm by reviewers and reggae lovers alike, which was quite remarkable as roots reggae founder Claudius 'Kingman' Linton is a little known vocalist who has released only few material in comparison with contemporaries such as Burning Spear and Culture whose type of singing he popularised. However with classic roots anthems like "Backra Massa" and "Put Your Shoulder To Jah Wheel" he managed to become a cult figure.

Claudius "Kingman" Linton's comeback was born from his chance meeting on the beach in Negril, Jamaica, with American indie-rock musician/producer Ian 'Jonah' Jones. It led to the release of the aforementioned CD collection of his classic 1970s recordings and a collaboration album entitled "Sign Time". The latter is an album of brand new songs, recorded at Tuff Gong, Anchor Studios and House of Black in Jamaica, and Sun King Studio in Baltimore USA, with a fine all-star Jamaican band including Ansel Collins, Leroy 'Horsemouth' Wallace, Dwight Pinkney, Bongo Herman, Dean Fraser, Earl 'Chinna' Smith, Winston Wright to name a few.

The album opener "Draw My Sword" is a strong piece that comes across a midtempo backdrop with a nice horn section and a few dubby effects. Next drops the duet "Lonely Nights", a sad song which in the end fails to make a serious impression. The title track "Sign Time", a solid effort on a relaxed midtempo riddim, is followed by the pleasant "Windows Of My Mind". The impassioned vocals of Claudius Linton, predominantly accompanied by keyboard and acoustic guitar, turn the elegiac "Baghdad" into a wonderful tune in which he mourns the effects of the war in Iraq. The midtempo acoustic backing of "In The Street" -- one of the first recordings done by Kingman & Jonah -- sounds sweet, but beware... it has some serious lyrics. Although "So Wrapped Up" is a nice effort it can't keep us involved till the very end. It is followed by a far better track, the enjoyable "Star Wars", and the matching "World War III", another lament about the war in the Middle East. "Amazing Grace" gets the skip treatment. A bouncy riddim track with a great bassline underpins the interesting "Didgy Dodgy", before the nice uptempo track "Sun Sun" -- with in between the short prayer "I Need You" -- rounds off.

Overall opinion is that there could have been a rougher edge to the music played on "Sign Time", but despite that point of criticism this cd is an entertaining and very sincere piece of work.

As a bonus there's a 10-minute behind-the-scenes video documentary.