Wednesday, April 7, 2010


For those of you who are new to No Expiration, once a month I go on SIRIUS XM's Catholic Channel's Busted Halo show on "Faith and Culture Thursday." Each time I discuss a different artist. Tomorrow, I'll be talking about reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, who was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Some may think that Cliff is an unusual subject for the channel. But then again, so was Black Sabbath.

At JFK Jr.'s funeral ten years ago, the Kennedy family asked Wyclef Jean to perform "Many Rivers To Cross." It was also covered by Annie Lennox at the American Idol special "Idol Gives Back" in 2008.  It's also been covered by Oleta Adams, Lenny Kravitz, Gov't Mule, Joe Cocker and UB40, among others.  And Haitian singer Emeline Michel sang it at MTV's Hope For Haiti Now telethon. It is a beautiful song that crosses the boundaries of age, religion and skin color.

My first exposure to Jimmy Cliff though was The Jerry Garcia Band's cover of "The Harder They Come, The Harder They Fall." Once I started getting into reggae music, I soon picked up the soundtrack to the film The Harder They Come, which starred Jimmy Cliff, and introduced western audiences to reggae quite a few years before Bob Marley appeared on the western pop culture radar. It is still my favorite reggae album (it doesn't just have Jimmy Cliff, it also features Toots & The Maytalls and Desmond Dekker, among others). It is a great rebel anthem, and has also been covered by Rancid, Cher, Keith Richards, Madness, Willie Nelson and Joe Strummer, among many others. It is about 180 degrees from the "Many Rivers."

Anyway, I hope you tune in tomorrow night at about 7:20 pm ET (ish) and check it out.

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