Jimmy Cliff is reggae’s second-most-famous singer, tied with about 20 other people who aren’t Bob Marley, but his stature is mostly based on music he made 40 years ago. Tim Armstrong, who mixed punk and reggae in Rancid, attempts to relaunch Cliff by connecting legacies and influences. So Cliff covers “Ruby Soho,” a Rancid song, and The Clash’s “Guns of Brixton,” which refers to Cliff’s role in The Harder They Come. Cliff ’s ghostly tenor – less robust but still cheerful and defiant – gets tangled in the verses of “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” chosen because Dylan and Cliff share a mutual admiration. Sacred Fire succeeds more as a history lesson than as music.
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Listen To “Guns of Brixton”: