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Harder They Come [Deluxe Edition]

The Harder They Come [Deluxe Edition]

5.0 1
by Jimmy Cliff

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If this isn't the single most popular reggae record in the world, it is surely one of the most influential. More people got turned on to Jamaican music by this soundtrack album and the Perry Henzel film it accompanied than any other work you can name. The story was brutal and irresistible: A wide-eyed country boy (played by Jimmy Cliff)


If this isn't the single most popular reggae record in the world, it is surely one of the most influential. More people got turned on to Jamaican music by this soundtrack album and the Perry Henzel film it accompanied than any other work you can name. The story was brutal and irresistible: A wide-eyed country boy (played by Jimmy Cliff) comes to the big city to make his fortune as a singer. He voices a few tunes, gets ripped off by a crooked producer, gets caught up in the ganja trade before going out in a blaze of machine-gun fire -- just like the cowboy stars of his beloved spaghetti westerns. The film gains much of its power from masterful performances from two of Jamaica's greatest singers: Cliff and Toots Hibbert, sanctified lead vocalist of the Maytals and the man credited with coining the term "reggae." Toots rocks as usual on cuts like "Pressure Drop," and Cliff runs the emotional gamut from the exquisite gospel-tinged lament "Many Rivers to Cross" to the exuberant title track that guarantees "as sure as the sun will shine / I'm gonna get my share of what's mine." Get yours.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
Some liberal interpretation of what can constitute the bonus material of a deluxe edition went into this two-CD edition of The Harder They Come, which in its original release was both a classic reggae album and a classic soundtrack. The additional material on the second disc is not outtakes from the soundtrack or some such intimately related work, but 18 high-grade vintage reggae tracks from the late '60s and early '70s. Admittedly some of the newly added songs are by artists who also contributed to the soundtrack, those being Jimmy Cliff, the Maytals, Desmond Dekker, and the Melodians. Then, however, there are a bunch of tunes by artists not involved in the soundtrack at all, like the Uniques, Dave & Ansel Collins, Johnny Nash, and Eric Donaldson. But -- and this is a big but -- the excellence of the additional cuts, along with how they fit well with the music on the original The Harder They Come soundtrack, makes such inconsistencies moot. The original The Harder They Come, comprising all of disc one, remains one of the great reggae albums, crossing over to a non-Jamaican audience more than almost any other reggae release of the era, perhaps because there was so much soul (both literally and figuratively) in the melodies and vocals. The 18 songs on disc two include some core reggae classics, among them some of the biggest reggae-pop crossovers of 1968-1972, including Dekker's "Israelites," Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now" (yes, Nash was American, but this was recorded in Jamaica), Dave & Ansel Collins' zany instrumental "Double Barrel," and Cliff's "Wonderful World, Beautiful People." These are spiced with somewhat lesser-known delights like the Maytals' "Do the Reggay," Cliff's "Viet Nam" [sic], and Donaldson's "Cherry Oh Baby," famously covered by the Rolling Stones on their Black and Blue album. The additional disc, though strictly speaking not directly related to the soundtrack, does what the bonus material on deluxe editions should do and doesn't always successfully pull off: it makes a classic album better. And for those who want at least a little extra content tied to the film itself, the liner notes include essays by director Perry Henzell, Island Records chief Chris Blackwell, the Clash's Paul Simonon, and reggae author David Katz.

Product Details

Release Date:
Hip-O Records


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jimmy Cliff   Primary Artist,Vocals
Desmond Dekker   Track Performer
Toots & the Maytals   Track Performer
Melodians   Track Performer
Scotty   Track Performer
Maytals   Track Performer
Winston Grennan   Drums

Technical Credits

Jimmy Cliff   Composer,Producer
Desmond Dekker   Composer
Bob Marley   Composer
Byron Lee   Producer
Brenton Dowe   Composer
Ansel Collins   Composer
Eric Donaldson   Composer
John Bryant   Cover Illustration
Chris Blackwell   Liner Notes
Gully Bright   Composer,Producer
Tommy Cowan   Producer
David Katz   Liner Notes
Leonard Dillon   Composer
Larry Fallon   Producer
Toots Hibbert   Composer
Leslie Kong   Composer,Producer
Warrick Lyn   Producer
Johnny Nash   Composer,Producer
Harold B. Robinson   Producer
Keith Rowe   Composer
Derek Scott   Composer
Paul Simonon   Liner Notes
Slickers   Composer
Trevor McNaughton   Composer
Perry Henzell   Producer,Liner Notes
Winston Riley   Composer,Producer
Vartan   Art Direction
K. Smith   Composer
Derrick Harriott   Composer,Producer
Winston "Shadow" Bailey   Composer
Desmond Dacres   Composer
Hylton Beckford   Composer
Renford Cogle   Composer
Derric Crooks   Composer
Trevor Wilson   Composer
Pat Lawrence   Executive Producer
Ryan Null   Photo Coordination
Michele Horie   Artwork
Edward Lee   Composer
S. McNaughton   Composer
Fredrick Hibbert   Composer
Frederick Hibbert   Composer
D. Scott   Composer

Customer Reviews

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The Harder They Come 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
poughkeepsiejohn More than 1 year ago
When Perry Hanzell released his movie "The Harder They Come" in 1972, it became one of those unexpected, watershed films that struck a nerve in those who saw it. Here was a movie that not only captured the hard-luck living of Jamaicans just as they achieved their independence but it also featured a pulsating soundtrack that fully encapsuled that time. It encapsuled it very much the way "Sgt. Pepper" did with The Summer Of Love. The soundtrack album of that movie, now available in Universal's Deluxe Edition, makes it clear that this was certainly the case and like "Sgt. Pepper", there isn't a bad song on the record. The movie and the soundtrack made a major star out of Jimmy Cliff as his character sturggled to make a living as a singer in the urban jungle of Kingston only to be trapped by bad luck and hard circumstance and to eventually end up on the run as a murderer. Cliff's songs, particularly the title track, tell that story well even after all these years. So do the tunes by Toots and The Maytals ("Pressure Drop") and Desmond Dekker ("007 Shanty Town"). My favorite song is "Johnny Too Bad", written and performed by The Slickers, in which their message of the dangers of criminal life were amplified when one of the members of that group killed another and ended up in prison. Since this is a Universal Deluxe Edition, there is also a second disc featuring a wealth of other great reggae tunes. Some of them are by Cliff, such as the profoundly sad "Vietnam". Some of them are by Dekker, like his wonderful signature song, "The Israelites". Some of them are by Toots, including his brilliant "54-46 (That's My Number)". Yet, there are also some excellent choice tunes here, such as Eric Donaldson's "Cherry Oh Baby", later covered by UB-40 and The Rolling Stones. There is even an alternate take of the title song listed as "The Bigger They Come, The Harder They Fall". Many words have been used to describe the influence and impact that this album had on American culture at the time. However, it's important to keep in mind that this came out the same time that Bob Marley was becoming a Third World superstar, releasing "Catch A Fire", another sensational album from Universal Deluxe Edition. As soulful, catchy and swinging as this album is, it's easy to forget what an impression this beautiful and timeless soundtrack has become. Fortunately, this deluxe edition reminds us about that, too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
JIMMY CILFF, is the first and formost influential reggae musician of the last half centry.' MISS JAMAICA' is the song that started it all. Many great albums were to follow. My favorite album is 'STRUGGLING MAN' If you get a chance to see JIMMY CLIFF in person don't pass the opportunity to see this great act. MIKE HOLLARN
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jimmy Cliff’s soundtrack album to the movie, The Harder They Come, is my favorite reggae album of all time. The sound is even clearer and sharper now that it has been digitally re-mastered. If you like Bob Marley than I definitely recommend that you check out Jimmy cliff. His vocal ranges from being upbeat and cheerful to a more serious and emotional tone. My favorites include “You Can Get It If You Really Want” with its catchy melodic sound and “Many Rivers To Cross” which was later on covered by UB40. The re mastered soundtrack includes a second disc with songs by top reggae artists like Desmond Dekker and the Toots and the Maytals. This album features the best reggae musicians of all time and I highly recommend it too all music lovers.