Saturday, December 31, 2011


Having Tim Armstrong of Rancid produce Jimmy Cliff was a stroke of genius.  Mr. Cliff's full length LP comes out next year, but the Sacred Fire EP is a preview of what it will be like (except that most of the album will be new songs, and there are three covers on this EP).

Tim is a huge fan of The Clash (and signed Joe Strummer to his Hellcat Records label in the '90s) so it's no surprise that the EP includes a cover of "Guns of Brixton," originally sung by The Clash's bassist/reggae fanatic Paul Simonon (the song also references The Harder They Come, the classic film that Cliff starred in).  It's a perfect song for Jimmy to cover.

Another cover is Rancid's "Ruby Soho," one of the band's ska-influenced tunes.  It's a song about being on the road, so it's something that the 70-something legend can relate to. Also covered: Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall," which I bet Dylan has heard and probably loves.

There's one original, "Ship Is Sailing," and that's the one that makes me most optimistic about the LP coming out next year.

I can tell you from first hand experience that Jimmy is still vital and passionate.  I filmed this performance that he did at the SiriusXM Studios a few weeks ago.  I never even knew that he played guitar.  He came and performed a solo acoustic set for us while being interviewed by The Joint's boss, Pat McKay. It was one of the highlights of my career and life to be in the room during this performance.

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