Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Jimmy Cliff – white man’s hero?

You know what? I never saw the movie “The Harder They Come.” (And I like reggae.)

That movie – specifically the soundtrack LP featuring its star, Jimmy Cliff – popularized Jamaican music in the United States.

Jimmy Cliff didn’t become a major star in America... but check out some of the many white artists who have covered his songs from the “Harder They Come” soundtrack: Keith Richards, Elvis Costello, Joe Cocker, Joe Jackson, Harry Nilssson, Cher, Fiona Apple, Linda Ronstadt, Three Dog Night, John Sebastian.

Three years ago, Willie Nelson put out a whole reggae-inspired album called “Countryman.” Willie’s video for “The Harder They Come” is embedded above.

Follow this link to see a live performance of “Many Rivers to Cross” (Jimmy Cliff’s most oft-covered tune) by the Southern-rock jam band Gov’t Mule. This was recorded in Cologne, Germany, in 2005.

Yes, white folks be lovin’ some Jimmy Cliff.


Brian said...

It's a fantastic soundtrack. As good as the Cliff songs are on it though he didnt wow me the way some of those other cuts did. As a direct result of the soundtrack I'm now a long time Toots and the Maytals fan.

dj said...

I agree and have much love for Toots.
As a Soul music fan,the links between Southern Soul and early Reggae are tight and close to perfection on the Toots In Memphis LP.
I play Toot's cover of "Knock On Wood" more than the Eddie Floyd version.

Toots is raw and most times sounds like the mic is placed halfway down his throat and turned up full.

Harder They Come Criterion edition is worth searching out for the clean up as well as the extras.

Anonymous said...

The US Census is celebrating Black History month with radio downloads from here:

I hope there's something there to entertain you. If the link is mangled it's
census.gov/newsroom/broadcast&radioradio services/special radio/.

caged bird

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Thank you, caged bird! You know I loves the audio!

I'll share anything good.

Undercover Black Man said...

Brian & DJ: Time for me to get myself right. I'll cop the DVD and the CD. Thanks fer your insights.

Brendan said...

Followed you here from C&L (where we both got some blog round-up love today) ... Glad to see some props for Jimmy and Willie.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Greetings, Brendan. Yeah, how about all these new eyeballs today, huh? It's thrilling.

I'll check out your spot as well.

Bellingham View said...

UBM, here's the Mack Daddy of all white folk covers of Jimmy Cliff: Bruuuuce himself, with "Trapped."

YouTube: http://tinyurl.com/243lhj

Ignore the unfortunate '80s-era headband, though!