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Album Review

Throughout his career Bushman has maintained a solid commitment to cultural themes, and although his recorded work has some dancehall elements, he has avoided the slackness often prevalent in the genre, favoring a pop-inflected roots approach. When everything is working, like it does for most of his first album, 1997's Nyah Man Chant, Bushman's sincere Rasta-derived message of hope and change has a strong international appeal, a bit like a Bob Marley or a Peter Tosh for the 21st century. When things don't work, Bushman's music can appear obvious and clichéd. Signs, his fifth album, is somewhat of a mixed affair, with wonderfully poppy songs of great depth ("Creatures of the Night," "Signs," "Talkative") interspersed with dubious tracks, like his cover of Original Caste's "One Tin Soldier" (which was a huge hit for the Coven), a song that ends up in Bushman's hands as neither good reggae nor good pop, and his sincere baritone vocal almost makes it unintentionally laughable. On the other hand, "Down Town," which features harmony vocals from the great Mighty Diamonds, is a delightful chunk of modern pop-reggae, both danceable and infectious. It's hard not to like Bushman for what he tries to do, and a good half of Signs is solid, catchy stuff. The other half, though, seems to try too hard, or in the case of "One Tin Solider," is head-scratchingly bad.

Customer Reviews

Essential Conciousness

Bushman is huge in Jamaica and he should be more well known in America. The best cuts are Downtown, Light It Up, and Lighthouse, but they are all at least good, and often great. I'm looking forward to more releases from Bushman on the VP label.


Born: 1973 in Prospect Beach, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Bushman was a key part of the roots reggae resurgence in Jamaica in the late 1990s, and his rich, sincere baritone give his songs a strong, bedrock appeal. Born Dwight Marvin Duncan in Prospect Beach in St. Thomas on the east coast of Jamaica in 1973, Duncan was active in church choirs by the time he was nine, and as a teen he became a selector for the Black Star Line sound system under the name Junior Melody (Duncan also occasionally billed himself as Junior Buckley). Relocating to Kingston hoping...
Full Bio
Signs, Bushman
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Customer Ratings