Jamaican singer, musician and actor Jimmy Cliff is back with his first full-length album in seven years.
This time has traveled back to a time when Rasta was still almost unheard of and when reggae was characterized as novelty music. A time when proper bass lines reigned without being wobbly or distorted and when the organ was put in the front row and the guitars went chaga-chaga-chaga.
Rebirth is produced by U.S. punk rocker Tim Armstrong from Rancid, who has previously worked with reggae artists such as Buju Banton. He has given the original riddims on the album a punk rock feeling with x amount of energy and call and response choruses.
Jimmy Cliff’s beautiful voice is lighter compared to his heydays in the 60’s and 70’s, but it still has oomph and liveliness. His protest calls for unity and universal love sounds fresh, and it’s amazing that he has the vigor needed to handle the vivacious backing.
Ska and upbeat boss reggae dominate the 13 tracks, which are crafted from bass, drums, organ, percussion, guitar and horns. The stomping Outsider is however Northern Soul in its finest form.
Jimmy Cliff has over the years probably tried every genre there is, but this time he is back where he once started. And it’s a good thing.
Rebirth is currently available on CD and digital download. A limited vinyl edition LP drops on August 13.