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Claudius Linton

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With a toot of the horn, Bob Marley pulled his BMW off the rutted Jamaican road and hopped out to warmly greet a Rasta sitting on the grass. Onlookers gaped as the man who made reggae a global sensation sat down on the dusty roadside to talk and share a laugh. Who was this man who could readily command an audience from the island’s favorite son? It was Marley’s old Trenchtown friend Claudius “Kingman” Linton, the roots reggae singer known around the Kingston recording studios for his soulful voice and his knack for a killer melody.

Claudius and singing partner Cecil Hemmings, known first as the Angelic Brothers and later the Hofner Brothers, rose with Trenchtown’s other reggae greats from early 1960’s ska singles to the crest of reggae’s ‘70’s heyday. The Hofner Brothers popularity soared when their single “Kingman Is Back” competed in the finals of the 1972 Jamaican Festival Song Competition against the tunes from Junior Byles and Toots & the Maytals. Toots won the contest, but the crowd roared for more of Claudius’s powerful vocals and electrifying stage show.

Linton and Hemmings parted ways after recording a half-dozen singles, and Claudius went out on his own, releasing his catchy songs and strong messages of unity and peace during key moments of Jamaica’s violent election cycles. “We were telling people of what Marcus Garvey and Martin Luther King said; but they wouldn’t listen,” Linton says. “Today we’re singing about Baghdad, about Iraq. But it’s the same oppression, it’s the same urgent message coming through on our new Kingman & Jonah CD. We are trying to sing some reality to the people.”

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  • PaliGap86

    wow, i just saw him live the other night. he was great.

    17 Mar 2009 Reply

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