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Rebirth

4.6 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 17, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The legendary Jimmy Cliff is back with his first all new album in over 7 years! REBIRTH pairs the reggae superstar with the award-winning producer and punk legend Tim Armstrong, who produced this 13 track album. Armstrong also produced Cliff's Sacred Fire EP which was released late in 2011, and Rolling Stone magazine hailed the music as Cliff s best music in decades. REBIRTH includes compelling Cliff originals including the single One More and a few pointedly chosen covers such as a version of the Clash s The Guns of Brixton and a version of Rancid's Ruby Soho .

Review

Four decades later, Cliff's tenor still soars. --Rolling Stone

Working with Rancid's Tim Armstrong, Cliff cuts his best music in decades. --Rolling Stone

The importance of Jimmy Cliff not to mention his general coolness cannot be overstated. --Stereogum
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 17, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: UMe
  • ASIN: B00864489G
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,141 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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For the past couple of decades, Jimmy Cliff hasn't made a full album that has been salient to me... As one of the Kings of Reggae's heyday he is one of the last standing. Bob Marley and Peter Tosh are long gone... and nothing truly compared to the dancehall/rocksteady music that Jimmy Cliff had done when he starred in 1972's The Harder They Come (The Criterion Collection). Happily, this attempt by Rancid's Tim Armstrong (as producer) to rekindle the feel of Jimmy's origins is a stellar success.

Every cut has a nod to what Jimmy had done best in the past. The vintage feel of this recording is enhanced by the simple lead-ins of Keyboard or Drums at the front of the tunes--as happened in early Reggae. That said the production values and backing musicians are wonderful-- they are called called Engine Room. Just a sampling of the backing crew? The gents playing with Jimmy Cliff are musicians such as Scott Abels from Hepcat (he plays with amazing authenticity--but adds current riffs,) Tim Armstrong from Rancid (his guitar is a wonder on this album), and Dan Boer of Cypress Hill fame does the keyboards proud. None of the band upstages Cliff. They are so tight and so well mixed that the album itself could become one of your test records if you are buying equipment and listening to various great productions to audiophile standards. Audiophile or not--this is an album that has impressive sonic quality.

The songs?

Children's Lament and World Is Upside Down touch upon Cliff's early sociopolitical content--as his tune Vietnam did previously.

His punchier tunes are dead-on with Bang and One More and bring the feel of songs like The Harder They Come.
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Format: Audio CD
Dear Music Appreciators,

I don't know a dang thing about reggae or Jimmy Cliff, but I know I like this album. I knew I liked it within just a few seconds of hearing it. Can someone else like me who doesn't know a thing about reggae or Jimmy Cliff really enjoy an album like this the way that I do? Yes. But why?

"Reggae music gonna make me feel good / reggae music gonna make me feel alright now" ("Reggae Music") - if you've ever felt a little down and out (and haven't we all?) the bouncy shuffle of a reggae beat can pick up your mood, and can do so regardless of what the lyrics say. The first track "World Upside Down" name checks war, poverty, prosperity, morality, injustice, religious hypocrisy, political tyranny, crime, violence, starvation, ecological calamity, economic instability, sanity, vanity, and love, love, love, love, love, love, love - but still made me feel like I was at a party. You get the message and you get to party at the same time.

Whether Cliff is singing/speaking in a clear and sincere style ("World Upside Down") baring his falsetto soul ("Cry No More") or channeling James Brown (the intro to "Bang") he sounds like a man half his age and its fun to hear him work through these songs, songs that clearly share a certain reggaeness but are all different enough to keep things interesting and to expose to even the uninitiated reggae listener what strong ties and influences this musical style shares with rock, pop, soul, gospel, rap, hip hop, and R&B.

Get your reggae on, and no matter what's going on, your world should get a little brighter.

Sincerely,

Constant Listener
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Format: Audio CD
Jimmy Cliff provided some of the soundtrack of my youth, especially albums like the movie soundtrack "The harder they Come" and "House Of Exile". Listening to his new CD "Rebirth", it's almost like time never went by; same vintage Reggae sound and voice, with much of the lyrics addressing the state of the planet - crime, recession, poverty, etc.

And this is a compliment. Produced by Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong, the album takes Cliff back to his roots and could almost be from some lost seventies sessions, similar to Rick Rubin's work with Johnny Cash. "World Upside down" takes a look at the state of the world today and is akin to his "Wonderful World, Beautiful People" from 1969. "One More" is groovy with darting horns (and appears again at the end in an alternate version), while the lilting "Cry No More" finds him singing the chorus in falsetto. These set the tone for much of the album.

Everything is great really, "Outsider" is a bouncy Blues/Soul number peppered with hand-claps and horns, "Ruby Soho" is gentle and melodic, but the standout has got to be his terrific cover of The Clash's "Guns Of Brixton" with groovy bass and great horns. A real rebirth!
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Format: Audio CD
Take an energetic young-ish punk/ska band and pair them with a classic reggae vocalist & bam - homerun. And the ironic part is the end result is more true to the iconic sounds of reggae's past (because that sound was a lasting influence on Rancid, etc.). This album sounds as if it was in a Studio One or Leslie Kong lost vault, hidden for thirty years. All that's missing is the classic tape hiss. It is modern in some of its lyrical content but other than that its easily the best Jimmy Cliff in forty years.

I really wish more classic reggae artists would take this path. Like Don Carlos who tours with a young band for example. Enough with the synth and canned studio sound from the veterans. Bring the horns, bring the ladies backing vocal, bring the big sound, and most importantly bring the energy. More than just a great album this is really a testament to the opportunity and relevancy of the classic reggae sound. And also a call to action for the reggae establishment - stop with the stale rehashes of 30 year old tunes. Get in the studio, find some creative partners with energy and vision, and do it right. Give us something worth getting excited about and put reggae back on the map. Hope Jimmy tours big with this album, would love to see it live.
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