Punknews.org
Jimmy Cliff - Sacred Fire EP [12-inch] (Cover Artwork)

Jimmy Cliff

Jimmy Cliff: Sacred Fire EP [12-inch]Sacred Fire EP [12-inch] (2011)
Collective Sounds

Reviewer Rating: 4


Contributed by: JeloneJelone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

If given the chance, Rancid's Tim Armstrong will always choose to work with his musical idols. Whether it's putting out records from Joe Strummer or playing with X's D.J. Bonebrake in Devils Brigade, the guy is a fan just like the rest of us. So it shouldn't be a surprise that Armstrong produced and.
Amazon


If given the chance, Rancid's Tim Armstrong will always choose to work with his musical idols. Whether it's putting out records from Joe Strummer or playing with X's D.J. Bonebrake in Devils Brigade, the guy is a fan just like the rest of us. So it shouldn't be a surprise that Armstrong produced and played guitar with reggae icon Jimmy Cliff for his new EP Sacred Fire. But what is surprising is just damned good it sounds.

Have you heard the The Harder They Come soundtrack? If you want to know why Jimmy Cliff is a big deal, give it a spin. While Cliff's output has been spotty over the years, his clean, strong voice is still a mighty force on his songs. The rest of Cliff's discography could disappear, but his legacy would be assured as long as that soundtrack survives. And Sacred Fire nearly matches it.

Granted, the EP consists mostly of covers, but they're damn good covers. Cliff kicks off with the Clash's "Guns of Brixton," and he imbues the gang song with a sense of grief. Rancid's "Ruby Soho" gains a new found softness. Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rina's A-Gonna Fall" takes on an angelic quality that Dylan's own voice could have never provided. Armstrong's influence might get overstated, but Cliff's delivery cannot. The guy remains a master interpreter.

The originals are great too. "World Upside Down" and "Ship is Sailing" have a carefree beach vibe that serve Cliff's voice well. For all the problems he's had over the years, Cliff's voice remains remarkable. The guy can belt as loud as he wants, but he packs just as much power in a whisper.

Another aspect that makes Sacred Fire so strong (besides the covers) is that it plays to Cliff's strengths. Black Magic, Cliff's last proper release, sought to supply the singer with a bevy of celebrity duets (Strummer, Sting, Annie Lennox) and contemporary arrangements. Armstrong, though, provides Cliff with retro '70s ska/reggae, playing to the legend's strengths and roots. After A Poet's Life, I'm not surprised. Aside from an unnecessary "Guns of Brixton" reprise, Sacred Fire is a great EP, and one heck of an advertisement for Cliff's upcoming 2012 full-length.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Menzingers - Chamberlain WaitsOFF! - 1st EPFake Problems - How Far Our Bodies GoBig D and the Kids Table - Stomp / StrollTalking Heads - Fear of MusicThe Mr. T Experience - Love is DeadAuntie Christ - Life Could Be a DreamSleep - Dopesmoker [reissue]Fugazi - In on the Kill TakerThe Jam - In the City

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
mclz (November 30, 2011)

I missed it as I didn't go to RSD, but I was lucky enough to have some people search their local record store for me and I was able to get the 12" EP along with the Guns of Brixton 7" single.

lushj (November 29, 2011)

I missed this on Record Store Day so I ordered it from Jimmy Cliff's webstore. It'll be delayed, but to make up for it they're sending me an autographed copy!?! Sweet!

discofucker (November 29, 2011)

Great EP. Can't wait for the full length.

Oh, and if you don't think Dylan can sing soft, go listen to Nashiville Skyline.

oldpunkerforever (November 29, 2011)

Brilliant piece of work, comment below says it best.-oldpunker-

johngentile (November 29, 2011)

Great ep. Armstrong catches a lot of flack for being Armstrong, but he should be commended for shinning some of his spotlight on legends of yesteryear who have still got the goods.

ollywood (November 29, 2011)

Bubbles! is that you?

sketchyjoe (November 29, 2011)

I'll check this out. Many Rivers to Cross is one of the greatest songs of all time.

Exclusive Streams

Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Other Places to Go