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Throwback Thursday: Love Is The Conqueror – Clinton Fearon Interview

I will never forget my first time hearing The Gladiators. I found the album Bongo Red sitting on the “To Be Reviewed” shelf at WSUM while I was a student DJ, and picked it up after noticing the familiar red, yellow, and green stripes on its spine. It was a collection of rare Gladiators tracks that were recorded in the 1970’s at Studio One in Jamaica, complete with gripping melodies, three-part vocal harmonies, and dub undertones. At home, I popped the CD into my player and was transported into this deep, rootsy, timeless/universal mindspace which made me keep exclaiming out loud that I couldn’t believe this music existed, and that it was from decades ago. It was what I had been searching for.

After that, The Gladiators album Back to Roots served as another life-changer for me with its encouraging messages of hope and unity. This is still an album I come back to on both bright and dark days. The band’s music has been so influential to many people who love and play old-school reggae.

After his time playing bass and singing in The Gladiators from 1969 to 1987, Clinton Fearon continued making albums that stand distinctly true to roots. His meaningful songs are a wonderful force at work in this world. After he released This Morning in 2016, I wanted to connect with him and learn more about his experiences.

The following interview was recorded on October 25th, 2016, and aired on my radio show the next day. You’ll hear Clinton’s stories about working with producers Clement “Coxsone” Dodd at Studio One and Lee “Scratch” Perry at Black Ark, thoughts about life, herb, and more. Our conversation kept gravitating towards divine messages of love and light. I hope you enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

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Kayla joined Rootfire after following this music around the country for years. Since 2010, she has been hosting a reggae radio show called U DUB, Wednesdays at 7pm CT on WSUM. She was voted 'DJ of the Year' at the Madison Area Music Awards in 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017.  You can follow her on social media at: @djkaylakush