The abundance of fantastic music this summer has been amazing. Folks, you couldn’t ask for finer songs than the ones we’ve seen so far from Haim, Cory Branan, Chairlift, etc…. Loop in some of the more established mainstream acts like The Walkmen and Best Coast and your barbeque playlist will run on far past dusk.
And now it’s time to add some reggae to the mix. Jimmy Cliff is a founding father of the form, putting out some of the most iconic songs of the form. It doesn’t matter how much Bob Marley you listen to, if you don’t have The Harder They Come in your record collection, you’re not a reggae fan.
Cliff is still kicking around almost 50 years after launching his career, and celebrating his longevity with Rebirth, his impressive new album. Working with Tim Armstrong from Rancid, He’s put together a record that stands shoulder to shoulder with some of the best work of his career.
Seriously, he sounds like he’s barely aged, and his songwriting is as sharp as ever. The beats they’ve put together can put anyone on the dance floor, and the bright, clean production is going to sound so refreshing pouring out open windows.
Adding to the fun are two clever covers. One is the Clash’s excellent Guns of Brixton, which I enjoyed in large part since the song was written as a shout out to Cliff in the first place. The other is a run through Rancid’s own Ruby Soho. In these capable hands the song sounds like it comes off an old Trojan 45, and you’d swear the Rancid version is the cover.