When a name like Jimmy Cliff pops up with a new album—two years after he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—it usually smacks of some jaded cash-grab at a former glory. And, admittedly, as long as the Snoop Lions of the world embarrass a rich genre, it's difficult not to view reggae music with ridicule. Sometimes there comes along a reminder. And although Cliff likely won't record a political mover like "Vietnam" or a soulful "Harder They Come" again, Rebirth holds the genuineness, heart and flavour of a young man on a mission. It's partially due to masterful guitar and production of idolizer Tim Armstrong, but the lion's share of the success is owed to a sweet and distinctive voice, the 64-year old young man who takes us back to the beginning. Without a weak spot, bright reggae bangers like "World Upside Down," "Cry No More" cut from the "Many Rivers to Cross" cloth, and Cliff's freshened mento take on a Clash classic, "Guns of Brixton," stand out on an album full of sun-drenched nostalgia from a legend who never missed a beat.
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