Thursday, November 30, 2006

"The Harder They Come"

“The Harder They Come” – soundtrack - 1972

“The Harder they Come” is a classic film directed by Jamaican Perry Henzell. It was the first film to come out of Jamaica, and it is the vehicle that propelled singer Jimmy Cliff to stardom. The soundtrack, chronologically with the film, reveals the story of a young musician (Ivan), played by Cliff, who comes to the city in hopes of becoming a reggae star. It features three unforgettable songs from Cliff -“Many Rivers to Cross,” “You Can Get It If You Really Want it,” and “the Harder They Come.”

Cliff has a matchless gallantry in his voice, pooled with an unstoppable- old-school reggae off- beat that nets any audience. He is someone you should listen to. It’s not the sophisticated doo-wop of Bob Marley, or the fashionable hardcore dancehall sounds of Sean Paul. This is a different kind of reggae more familiar with Jamaicans and Europeans. Imagine yourself in a brand-new white linen suit- you are walking through the streets of Kingston- noises all around- cold red-stripe in your hand- it’s a warm night- perfect temperature-you don’t know where you’re going- you step into a beachside hall- moonlight reflecting off the disco ball- beautiful women dancing like only they can. This is the feeling racing through me- when I listen to Cliff.

The disc also features songs from other reggae greats- Toots and the Maytals, and Desmond Decker. “Pressure Drop” (Toots and the Maytals) is a consummate reggae song. It has the beats, the sensation, and the unpolluted sounds. 007 (Desmond Decker) introduces the sounds of “the rude boys” to Jamaica. A reggae hero in Jamaica before the rise of Marley, Decker perfects the use of back-up singers, and is the voice of the underground.

Check out this soundtrack. It is unquestionably one of the greatest reggae compilations ever produced.

My current repeat- 007

Coming Soon- the Yeah Yeah Yeahs


No comments: