Last summer’s Morning Becomes Eclectic session with Jimmy Cliff was the stuff of legend. It ranks high as one of the best performances to ever take place the KCRW studios.
In fact, it was so good, that the entire session was released as a full length album earlier this year.
Mr. Cliff’s unique brand of roots reggae is more traditional songwriting that often puts him in the shadow of popular culture. While even the most average reggae fan knows about artists like Bob Marley & Peter Tosh, it was Jimmy Cliff who remained closest to the traditional roots of the Kingston sounds.
Which is why his cover of The Clash’s “Guns Of Brixton” is especially interesting. It’s a song written by The Clash, a band who famously wrote about injustice and activism, sometimes in the style of reggae and dub,which is a genre that Jimmy helped establish.
Both of these artists came from very different places and backgrounds, but both of them felt that inequality and oppression were the root of suffering. They were singing the same song but with different voices. Working for the same result but with different tools.
And it all comes together perfectly in this cover.
[*Note: Catch Jimmy Cliff live at the Santa Monica Pier, Thurs. 9/12 for the last installment of KCRW's Twilight Concert Series]