Released: November 29, 2011
I pity the soul unaware of Jimmy Cliff and his thought provoking music. This artist is a legend and truly a rare gift to the industry. Cliff has made his long awaited comeback with the “Sacred Fire” EP to satisfy his anticipating fans, and after one listen you’ll come to terms with the fact that this man still has what it takes to make you stop and think. His songs speak the truth; there’s no escaping the conscious aspect of the lyrics. Jimmy gives us roots reggae so effortlessly, and without a doubt I’m left in awe by the solid delivery of “Sacred Fire.” I can’t help but demand a full length album to be released next, but then again Mr. Cliff ceases to disappoint.
What churns my stomach the most is comparing an artist’s earlier releases to their latest, and I do my very best in refraining from doing so. “Guns of Brixton” is no “Many Rivers To Cross,” neither is it “The Harder They Come,” but it’s just as acceptable and intensely written as the latter. It’s certainly fitting for Cliff to perform this song, originally recorded by The Clash, as both seem to influence and inspire the other in some way or form. Cliff remarkably made the cover his own, adding his signature energetic persona in the harmonies. The Clash’s version is just as astonishing, but Jimmy took this song to another level.
“Ruby Soho” is a ska revival. The old school sound is heightened in this track and redefines its significance in reggae music. While your taking back to the 60’s on this one, “Ship is Sailing” moves forward into the 80’s. Cliff may not be a household name these days, but that minor fact doesn’t seem to affect his decision to remain true to his original style. Both songs are brilliantly produced for the grown folks and any modern day youth having the slightest interest in a tradition one-drop reggae sound.
The singer plunged back into the fast paced ska sound on “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall,” but he doesn’t overwhelm you with it. The songs are kept balanced and a bit subtle, but nevertheless, still very entertaining. You can rest assure that this EP demonstrates immeasurable effort from Cliff and I recommend that you have a listen before waving it off , or replacing it with “Talk That Talk.”
“Sacred Fire” gets a rating of 4.8/5
01. Guns of Brixton
02. Ruby Soho
03. Ship is Sailing
04. A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall
05. Brixton version
(Purchase this EP now on iTunes)
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One thought on “[Review] Jimmy Cliff’s “Sacred Fire””
I remember him from ‘Marked for Death’..he had some cool songs on the movie soundtrack