Clinton Fearon ‘This Morning’ (Boogie Brown Productions) 4/5

Ex-Gladiators vocalist and bassist Clinton Fearon returns with an album in which he performs on every musical instrument as well as composing the songs. The result is surprisingly good and a fine example of a neo-classic roots reggae album. Now resident in the US in Seattle, Fearon pulls no punches when it comes to pertinent social commentary and has the spate of police shootings against young black males in his sights on the chilling, ‘No Justice’, which really brings home the message with some lovely vocal harmonies very much in the Gladiators tradition. Chunky rhythm guitar and saxophone greet the listener on the excellent title track, and again the horn work is classy with strong hooks on, ‘Speak Your Mind’. Arguably his strongest lead vocal performance is reserved for, ‘Don’t Be Afraid’. Of note throughout the album is the interesting sparse use of hammond organ and this creates an earthier sound. Clinton Fearon may not be a prolific musician, but if this eleventh solo album in total, and third for Boogie Brown Productions, is anything to go by, then taking the time to compose and record has paid rich dividends with this excellent latest recording.

Tim Stenhouse