Clinton Fearon ‘Goodness’ (Chapter Two) 4/5

clinton-fearonFormerly a founding member of Jamaican roots legends the Gladiators, singer-songwriter Clinton Fearon settled in Seattle in the US in 1987 and is now permanently based there. He has continued championing the classic roots reggae tradition and this consistently strong release will immediately please those who have long worn out their out their original Gladiators vinyl. There is a nostalgic nod to the Wailers sound on the impassioned plea of ‘Long run short catch’ and to Bob Marley more specifically on ‘Poor Nana’. Indeed, the conscious lyrics flow throughout the album with especially strong melodies as illustrated on ‘The Hunter’, or the catchiest of choruses as on ‘Come by yah’. Heavy bassline grooves compete with stabbing horns on the uplifting number ‘Jamdown boogie’ while the lilting mid-temp groove of ‘Talk with a friend’ is highly effective in its simplicity. In the title track, the collective vocal harmonies recall not only the Gladiators themselves, but the roots harmony groups of the 1970s more generally. French roots label Chapter two has come up with another winner of an album.

Tim Stenhouse