LABEL: ISLAND/TROJAN | GENRE: Rocksteady/Reggae | NEXT RELEASE: Struggling Man (1973)
When Film Director Perry Henzell released his first full length film "The Harder They Come" in 1972, with it came a soundtrack that enhanced this visual epiphany for Jamaicans around the world, especially in UK and Jamaica. It was the first Jamaican produced full length feature film ever, but also the use of this new soundscape to sculpt the emotional resonance of the film was a social boost for lower class Jamaican who felt proud to see a situation with which they were familiar now blazed on silver screens throughout kingston.
The story of the naive country boy corrupted by the city was a story that swung close to home, and the Films use of Rude boy icons such as Desmond Dekker, Scotty, The Maytals, and The Slickers on the soundtrack gave the film even greater credibility amongst its patrons.
When Chris Blackwell decided to secretly finance the project, Jimmy Cliff was selected as the leading man, the completion of the film also came at a time when Blackwell was seeking more radical ways of breaking local acts into the mainstream. The project presented the perfect opportunity to market Jimmy Cliff and he was chosen to spearhead the production of the film's soundtrack.
Contrary to thought, Leslie Kong only produced one track on the album(he also made a cameo appearance in the film), though the original release in 1972 credits Jimmy Cliff and Leslie Kong as producers. However the cassette release in that same year(one of the first ever), also accredits Derrick Harriott twice and Byron Lee thrice as producers. The other two tracks accredited to Kong were never produced by Kong but simply released under his Beverley's Record imprint.
The film was met with positive mixed reviews in the UK, Europe and Australia. The album however did not gain stateside recognition until the release of the film in the US in 1975. The film became an instant classic, and Jimmy Cliff finally got his chance to strut his stuff into the mainstream North American marketplace.
Since its release, the title track has become one of the most sampled reggae singles, a total of 44 times, and has been covered 40 times. The album has been re-issued three times, twice by Island Records, and once in 1983 by Island subsidary, Mango Records. The album's experimental packaging concept has never been replicated, though labeled as a compilation, it never was, neither was it a solo full length album, by which it is categorized and cataloged at times.
A1 Jimmy Cliff – You Can Get It If You Really Want
A2 Scotty (2) – Draw Your Brakes
Producer – Derrick Harriot*
A3 Melodians, The – Rivers Of Babylon
A4 Jimmy Cliff – Many Rivers To Cross
A5 Maytals, The – Sweet And Dandy
A6 Jimmy Cliff – The Harder They Come
B1 Slickers, The – Johnny Too Bad
Producer – Byron Lee
B2 Desmond Dekker – Shanty Town
B3 Maytals, The – Pressure Drop
B4 Jimmy Cliff – Sitting In Limbo
B5 Jimmy Cliff – You Can Get It If You Really Want
B6 Jimmy Cliff – The Harder They Come
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