Jimmy Cliff-Rebirth Review


Jimmy Cliff, the man that helped popularise Reggae music worldwide in the early 1970’s is back with his new uplifting album entitled Rebirth

First gaining worldwide acclaim for starring in and recording the title soundtrack to hit movie ‘The Harder They Come’ he helped deliver true authentic reggae music to the masses. Other notable soundtrack credits include the rerecording of ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ for the 1993 movie ‘Cool Runnings’ and ‘Hakuna Matata’ from Disney’s ‘The Lion King’

Rebirth was recorded in collaboration with Grammy award winning producer Tim Armstrong of the punk band Rancid and takes on current issues with an authentic yet also contemporary reggae style.


Opening track, ‘World Upside Down’ tackles key issues in today’s society to a swinging calypso beat backed by lively strings and a smooth organ arrangement. This being said, none of the arrangements dampen the message Cliff is trying to convey as he croons “ecological calamity, economic instability, what’s wrong with humanity? Have they lost their sanity?” Each lyric is delivered with clarity and straight to the point but without the song becoming preachy.

‘Children’s Bread’ speaks of the injustice Cliff witnessed on his tour of Africa with lyrics such as, “They took the children’s bread and give it to the dogs.” Such harsh words are sang in the smoothest of voices, much like his 1970 release of protest song ‘Vietnam’ he is able to tell the most horrific of stories within the most soothing of tones.

Along with his original tracks on the album he has also included 2 covers. In reaction to the uprisings in the Middle East and the London riots of last summer when the album was being recorded, Cliff has covered Clash’s classic ‘Guns in Brixton’ with his own reggae twist. Rancid’s punk track ‘Ruby Soho’ also gets a complete overhaul. Drained of its punk roots it has been ‘Reborn’ as a credible reggae anthem.

Arguably track ‘One more’ is the real stand out track of the album. Both the album recording and all the live performances on the web are sung with such energy and fire, proving that true musical talent knows no age.


Rebirth’ is filled with passionate and meaningful tracks that shows that Cliff at the age of 64 still has much to offer the music industry. Not an elderly man longing for the glory days but an inspirational educator that still recalls the power that music has had and still CAN have over its listeners. A true genius of his field and still a pioneering figure in the modern reggae movement. He needn’t release this album to reaffirm his status but we at Fault are incredibly thankful that he did.

Words: Miles Holder