Goodbye Yesterday

Jimmy Cliff

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Goodbye Yesterday Review

by Lindsay Planer

With an uncanny and catchy blend of reggae and pop, Jimmy Cliff (vocals) was able to not only successfully cross musical genres, but also become (perhaps best) known as the star of the cinematic adaptation of The Harder They Come (1973). This nine-cut anthology gathers a host of 45s and otherwise hard-to-find material. Although initially compiled in the mid-'70s, Goodbye Yesterday (2004) has remained elusive prior to being issued by Universal Music's limited-edition online boutique, Hip-O Select. The majority of the inclusions are from Cliff's collaborations with Leslie Kong, after first being roundly dismissed by both Duke Reid and Coxsone Dodd. The mid-tempo "Waiting in Line" is one of two selections originally produced by Cat Stevens, the other being the optimistic and funky "Trapped," recalling Stevens' robust arrangements circa "Matthew and Son." Equally as soulful is the single version of "Waterfall," sporting an arguably dated R&B feel, complete with strings and brass accents. The congenial groove however would garner Cliff a spot representing Jamaica at the International Song Festival in Brazil. The set opens with the cheerful and practically bubblegum pop of "Goodbye Yesterday," a number that would not have sounded too far removed from the Ron Dante-led Archies. Another interesting dichotomy in styles exists between the politically informed songs "Synthetic World" and "I'm No Immigrant" when contrasting the sincerely pious "Bongo Man" or the humbling "Keep Your Eyes on the Sparrow." Although the unmistakable motif of freedom is prominent in each, the latter clocks in at over eight minutes and is presented as an extended musical sermon.

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