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Audio CD, 16 Jul 2012
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Amazon's Jimmy Cliff Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (16 July 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: UMC
  • ASIN: B008CDQ5L0
  • Other Editions: Audio CD |  Vinyl |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 66,215 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Product description

Product Description

It's been 50 years since Jimmy Cliff first stepped into a studio and the icon shows no signs of stopping any time soon, with the release of new album Rebirth.

Recorded with producer and Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong, the pair bring fire to compelling Cliff originals and a couple of pointedly chosen covers. The steely “One More” shows an artist who is as engaged with, and troubled by, the state of the world as much as he was when he made such landmark songs as “You Can Get It If You Really Want” and the title song of the movie "The Harder They Come", both game-changers that enjoy their 40th anniversary in 2012.

A version of the Clash’s “The Guns of Brixton” taps into the popular uprisings for freedom in the Middle East, not to mention the recent London riots, which took place as sessions for the album were underway.

BBC Review

Has anyone ever sounded as joyous as Jimmy Cliff when expressing such deep concern for the state of the world? Now aged 64, the reggae superstar sounds as socially engaged as ever on this remarkably consistent set of mostly self-penned songs, which explicitly revisit the sonic terrain of his biggest 60s/70s hits.

What could've felt like an ageing artist desperately chasing past glories instead succeeds as a vibrant reconnection with what made him so great in the first place. The refusal to modernise that signature fusion of reggae, pop and soul is an astute decision on the part of Cliff and his producer, Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong.

These crisp, uncluttered arrangements are perfectly in tune with the instantly memorable, pleasingly familiar material Cliff’s made his name with. And much of it compares favourably with his best work.

He remains in tremendous voice, sounding fully engaged with a project that clearly means the world to him. Indeed, Rebirth is nothing if not his urgent state of the planet address.

And yet whether pointing his finger at corporate greed and expressing support for the Occupy movement in Children's Bread, or offering a heartfelt prayer to recession-hit families in Cry No More, he never sounds overly-earnest. Instead, the sheer exuberance and grace that he brings to these universal protest anthems more than makes up for the occasional lyrical lapse.

So, while a line like “Rebel, rebel, rebel, take it to the next level” is rather nebulous – a clarion cry generalised into meaninglessness – it's the spirit of Cliff's performance that matters most, rather than any specific meaning.

Which is why a song like World Upside Down – essentially a mirror-image sequel to his exultant 1969 hit Wonderful World, Beautiful People – doesn't sound as trite as it might in the hands of, well, practically anybody else. Even when ploughing through his rhyming thesaurus for broadsides against everything from “ecological calamity” to mere “vanity”, Cliff undoubtedly believes in every word.

The title of this delightful album is no idle boast: this is the sound of a great artist fully re-engaged with his muse.


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