Jimmy Cliff & Richard Thompson Review

Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff is live in the Sound Opinions studio. Plus, guitar great Richard Thompson goes Electric.

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Another Grammy night has come and gone, and again it was all about the performances. The award show had its second biggest ratings night since 1993, and one of the biggest newsmakers was someone who wasn’t even eligible for an award: Justin Timberlake. Other big winners were Mumford & Sons and Frank Ocean. Jim and Greg talk about some of the Grammy’s bizarre voting and eligibility rules and compare these winners to those who took home the prize for Village Voice Jazz & Pop Poll.

Jimmy Cliff

Singer-songwriter Jimmy Cliff walked away with his second Best Reggae Album Grammy last week. Rebirth is Cliff’s 30th reggae record in a career that spans the history of the genre. Talking to Jim and Greg, he traces the evolution of reggae from party music celebrating Jamaican independence, to a more introspective music about roots, spirituality, and identity. While he may not be as famous as countryman Bob Marley, Cliff was instrumental in breaking reggae in the U.S. As the starring actor and songwriter for the cult film The Harder They Come, he introduced Americans to Rastafarian culture, dancehall music, and his own hits You Can Get It If You Really Want and The Harder They Come. Cliff might be a reggae founding father, but he’s no purist. He talks approvingly of punk’s adoption of reggae sounds and even returns the compliment: Rebirth features a cover of The Clash’s Guns of Brixton, a song originally inspired by The Harder They Come.

Electric Richard Thompson

Electric (Deluxe Edition)

To put it simply: our hosts think Richard Thompson is the most revered guitarist working today. And the fact that he’s been doing it and doing it well for over 4 decades is nothing short of a miracle. So yes, that means his latest album, Electric, is a Buy It. Need we say more? (We didn’t think so, but just in case, see the footnotes to find Jim and Greg’s full reviews.)

Jim

It’s always sad to hear of a musician passing, but Jim admits that no death has hit him harder in recent years than that of Reg Presley. The Troggs lead singer was no great talent and no great looker, but he was full of attitude. And The Troggs have an entire catalog of great songs....not just Wild Thing. So in his honor, Jim adds I Can’t Control Myself to the Desert Island Jukebox this week.

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