Reggae pioneer Jimmy Cliff's CD breaks eight-year silence
New CDs released this week of Tuesday, July 17, include a new one by reggae pioneer Jimmy Cliff, "Rebirth"; "Yellow and Green," by Baroness; "Hellyeah" from Band of Brothers; and jazz singer Paula West's "Live at Jazz Standard."
Jimmy Cliff, 'Rebirth' (Universal)
Jamaican singer Jimmy Cliff enchanted listeners with his music (and starring role) in the breakthrough 1972 movie "The Harder They Come," which yielded such now-classic songs as "Many Rivers to Cross" and "Sitting in Limbo," and helped popularize reggae around the world.
It's been eight years since the 2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee released a new album. His latest, "Rebirth," follows his appearances at the Coachella and SXSW music festivals earlier this year.
Remarkably, "Rebirth" was produced by Tim Armstrong of California punk band Rancid. But fear not: "Rebirth" is true to Cliff's original sound and vision — soulful, uplifting songs reflecting a strong social conscience. Armstrong's influence is apparent in Cliff's stirring, reggae-style versions of "Ruby Soho" (a 1995 Rancid song) and "Guns of Brixton" (from the 1979 Clash album, "London Calling").
Cliff's well-crafted originals include "World Upside Down," co-written by Joe Higgs and featuring the lyric, "So much war and poverty/While few enjoy prosperity." "Outsider" sounds like a reggae-style "Peppermint Twist." "Cry No More" is powerful yet deeply melancholy, while "Rebel Rebel" rocks with revolutionary zeal. "Reggae Music" is a delightful party song, helping make this CD a groove-filled summer album.
Gene Stout, Special to The Seattle Times
Other new releases
Baroness, "Yellow and Green" (Relapse)
Band of Brothers, "Hellyeah" (Eleven Seven Music)
Paula West, "Live at Jazz Standard" (Hi Horse)