Thursday, 2 August 2012

Jimmy Cliff - Rebirth

One of the musical high points for me last year was the release of Jimmy Cliff’s ‘Sacred Fire’ EP, an ebullient reminder that one of the biggest names in Jamaican music’s history was still riding high. The follow up full length, again produced by Tim Armstrong and backed by the same musicians, lives up to the hype built by the EP and has been put out just in time to become the soundtrack to my summer, transporting me away from this rain drenched rock in the sea to somewhere much sunnier. From the first track ‘World Upside Down’, also on Sacred Fire, Cliff lays out his position as a purveyor of reggae and ska with a social conscious whilst never sounding downbeat about the issues he is addressing. In fact, the upbeat ska which makes up the majority of the album feels barely contained by the speakers I am listening to it through and hits from the ears straight down to your feet – which, if not immediately afflicted by movement, may be a sign that you should see a doctor. The album includes two covers, Rancid’s ‘Ruby Soho’ and the Clash’s ‘Guns of Brixton’, both of which Cliff makes his own. This is clearly not going to be an easy task with the songs chosen but both sound completely in keeping with the rest of the album. The album only briefly strays from the ska format, with the slow, soulful ‘Cry No More’, but this is no bad thing. With the album coming in at just over 40 minutes, Cliff has clearly decided to stick with the music which made him famous, and it has worked out perfectly. I tried to pick out some highlights, but ended up just typing out the tracklist; so all I can really say, is go out and get a copy!

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