Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Don't Stop This Train

Sometimes I am woefully ignorant of the history of music I enjoy. The next album is on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums, and the title track is on the 500 Greatest Songs list, and yet I had never heard of Jimmy Cliff. Pre-parenthood my wife and I used to watch the Daily Show and Colbert Report every night, but now it's just if it happens to be on, and yesterday Jimmy Cliff was the guest on Colbert. At least now I know who he is.
Artist: Jimmy Cliff
Album: The Harder They Come
Recording #253
Stream this album here

Everyone knows Bob Marley, and that's about where my raggae knowledge ended. But Cliff preceded the mainstream explosion of Marley, with a raggae style that took more from R&B than Marley. I actually first heard Cliff on NPR's All Songs Considered when Tom Moon went on and played a few tracks from the book, and I believe he played the song "Pressure Drop." Even back then I thought this sounded like a good album, and now that I've heard the whole thing I know I have to add it to my collection to become my 2nd raggae album, next to Marley's "Legend." Songs like "Draw Your Brakes" (the chorus that Vanilla Ice lifted for one of his songs on his debut) and "River of Babylon" (which is much better than the other version I had heard by Sublime) are incredible. And start to finish this takes you to that island vacation, even while laying down the heavy political and social message. If you like Bob Marley, and who doesn't, this is definitely the next step.

Buy the album here

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