Jimmy Cliff - lead vocals; Bo Richards - drums; Raunchy McLee - bass; Sticky Thompson- percussion; Sleepy Woods - African drums and percussion; Ersta "Double Barrell" Dallas - keyboards; Rastoogy Brennen - lead and rhythm guitars; Shannon Earl Smith - lead and rhythm guitars; Brother Dean Frasier - saxophone; Brother Chico - trumpet; Brother Madden - trumpet; Brother Neville - trombone
Jimmy Cliff is undoubtedly one of the biggest stars in the reggae genre of music. Ironically, he gained his most widespread exposure and enduring popularity from his role in a B-grade motion picture about the corrupt music industry of Jamaica, The Harder They Come (The Harder They Fall). Starring in the lead role as a reggae singer who becomes a fugitive criminal, Cliff not only appeared in the film, but also co-wrote and sang its brilliant music soundtrack. Aside from the title track, he also sang the immortal reggae ballad "Many Rivers To Cross," a song later covered by pop female vocalist Linda Ronstadt.
This recording is from a short performance given during a music festival in Montego Bay. It was held at the Bob Marley Center, which meant performing under the shadow of the monolithic reggae pioneer. Cliff, who has remained a chart topping star in many countries around the world, had just put together his new band, Oneness, when he did this show. Although reggae bands are not known for their musical tightness, Oneness provides a solid foundation above and from which Cliff could soar.
Cliff opens with an eight-minute version of "Special," the title track from the album he was promoting at the time. Other highlights include "Love Is All" and "Peace Officer," which he preferences with the statement, "I just got back from Zimbabwe, and the freedom fighters are carrying on the struggle. I have one question: Peace Officer are you a warrior?" The band then seizes the opportunity to showcase their musical chops with the classic tune, "The Harder They Come," which here morphs into a 13-minute musical exercise with each member soloing. Cliff then goes on to encore with the sweet, sexy romp "Rub-A-Dub Partner."
A short but memorable performance from one of the true greats: soulful, impassioned, evocative - there were few more moving performers than Jimmy Cliff.