Jamaican born singer Jimmy Cliff brings beauty to protest and makes defiance singable.
Recently we have seen a resurgence in popularity (okay maybe only in our little corner of the interweb) of protest music by Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and the other folk greats of our beloved nation.
Of course other peoples have things to protest.
Jamaica has it's fair share of issues, and a wealth of musical talent.
Jimmy Cliff has pointed his song writing skills to his home country and the world at large.
The following song asks a universal question: How is there going to be Peace when there is no justice?
Huh. People taking more than their fair share while others starve. Go figure.
One of Cliff's biggest hits (from his 1969 self titled second album) was described by Bob Dylan as, "The best protest song he had ever heard."
Listen below the squiggle.
"Don't be alarmed she told me; the telegram said, but "Mrs. Brown your son is dead.""
Paul Simon covered that song on his 2011 tour.
As a matter of fact, Jimmy Cliff's songs have been covered by many big names in music.
Bruce Springsteen made "Trapped" part of his live repertoire:
You can see Cliff dancing here on David Letterman's show.
(When I saw him at the Universal Amphitheater some time in the 80s he covered every square inch of the stage during his performance; long arms and legs flailing wildly as he expressed himself.)
Jerry Garcia played "The Harder They Come" frequently:
(This video comes from the movie by the same name starring Jimmy Cliff)
The last song I'll post is "Sitting in Limbo" (The Neville Brother's version of that is one of my favorites.)
This song always make me think of people sitting in prison with no hope for the future.
Check out the "Cover Version of Cliff Songs" from the wiki.
What's your favorite Jimmy Cliff song? (I haven't even mentioned some of his biggest hits.)