Jimmy Cliff – Rebirth
Reviewed by Sadie O., 12/3/12
Roots Rock Reggae/Ska from one of the pioneers. Jimmy Cliff has a zillion records out and not all of them have been top notch – but this one is. Produced by Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong using the same recording style (e.g., live) used for the great Reggae records back in the day. Fantastic stuff! No FCCs detected.
1. 3:10 ****ska (first-wave!), stuttering guitar – classic sound, remake of his hit (with Joe Higgs) from way back in the day – still relevant, sadly.
2. 3:26 ****ska, strong attitude (reminds me of two-tone bands).
3. 3:18 **churchical organ backing, very subdued vocals for intro, then relaxed Rock Steady riddim, sweet message from father to children.
4. 4:16 ***country-ska, very rootical, class discrimination message. Interesting background grunts…
5. 4:43 ****heavy guitar, screams! Midtempo roots bubble, impassioned vocals.
6. 3:38 ***uptempo skank, subdued vocals but some nice production. The only caveat about this is that the song was just right for Joe Strummer’s vocals – Jimmy Cliff has a bit of sweetness to his voice…
7. 3:55 ***uptempo first-wave ska with great instrument sounds. Another updated original from back in the day.
8. 2:58 ****huh! Uptempo Memphis Soul! Nice! Odd lyrics, but hey – the music makes me want to jump and shout!
9. 3:03 ****party vibe, uptempo hard reggae (reminds me a bit of the Sly & Robbie produced Black Uhuru stuff). NOT a David Bowie cover, BTW…
10. 2:53 ***sweet uptempo ska, upper register vocals.
11. 4:18 **odd high vocal intro, midtempo ska, churchical but not preachy.
12. 3:06 **uptempo skank, very sweet high vocals, hopeful lyrics.
13. 3:31 ****slightly alt version of track 2, upbeat ska march.