When I moved to Los Angeles 12 years ago, I had three CDs I played on repeat as I went through the trauma of leaving the lovely city of Austin and moving to a giant metropolis where I knew no one. One of them was “The Harder They Come”.
I didn’t actually see the movie until last year (crazy, I know!) but those songs built me up. No, I was not a poor, struggling reggae singer in Jamaica but the beauty of Jimmy Cliff’s music – and a lot of reggae songs in fact – is that they are totally inclusive. No matter who you are, this music is for you. And as Jimmy shouted in his set today, “Reggae makes you feel good!” It sure does.
The Hall of Famer delighted us this morning with songs from his new album “Rebirth”, like the soon-to-be classic “One More” as well as a cover of The Clash’s “Guns of Brixton”, which he was inspired to play after seeing a photo of Joe Strummer on KCRW’s walls.
He was playing an acoustic guitar, with just one other musician accompanying him on guitar and vocals, so it was intimate and soul stirring, especially when he sang “Many Rivers to Cross”. (Jason Bentley kindly handed me a box of tissues as he started singing it as I warned him there might be tears).
His voice is as strong as ever and this is definitely a set you need to check out if you missed it.
Jimmy Cliff Live on KCRW – Set List
Guns of Brixton
World Upside Down
You Can Get It If You Really Want
Many Rivers to Cross
I Can See Clearly