Review #174: The Harder They Come, Jimmy Cliff & Various Artists

Karla Clifton
2 min readSep 17, 2021

#174: The Harder They Come, Jimmy Cliff & Various Artists

We’ve already briefly touched on this album in Review #48, Legend by Bob Marley & the Wailers. This is the soundtrack to the 1972 movie of the same name, which starred Jimmy Cliff as Ivanhoe Martin. It’s all about how this guy seeks freedom through music but (spoiler) gets shot.

This movie is known as the one that “brought reggae to the world.” It’s really a delight to hear some reggae artists that aren’t Bob Marley (even though good old Bob is great fun as well).

Fun fact: Jimmy Cliff is currently the only living musician who holds Jamaica’s Order of Merit honorarium. He’s also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!


“You Can Get It If You Really Want,” Jimmy Cliff — This song has healing properties. You may recognize it from Hitch.

“Draw Your Brakes,” Scotty — Okay, the RS blurb calls this “demented,” and it took me a while to figure out what was going on. This is a deejay version of a song called “Stop That Train” by Keith & Tex. I’m not really sure that qualifies it as “demented,” but I guess what do I know.

“Rivers of Babylon,” The Melodians — Oh God, how revealing is it for me to say that I first encountered this song as a Sublime cover? Which also slaps!

“Many Rivers To Cross,” Jimmy Cliff — Jimmy Cliff is the best singer on this album by far. I should really see this movie.

“The Harder They Come,” Jimmy Cliff As sure as the sun will shine/I’m gonna get my share now, what’s mine/And the harder they come, the harder they fall, one and all.

“Johnny Too Bad,” The Slickers — This keyboard gives me life.

“007 (Shanty Town),” Desmond Dekker — Wow, today I learned that both James Bond and Ocean’s 11 existed before 1972. The more you know!

“Pressure Drop,” Toots & The Maytals — Probably my favorite on the whole album. I just love the way Toots says “Pressure.” Toots makes another appearance on the list with an album of his own, #344: Funky Kingston.


“Sweet And Dandy,” Toots & The Maytals — Sorry Toots, this was just a smidgen too cheery for me.

“Sitting In Limbo,” Jimmy Cliff — And this was a smidgen too melancholy. I don’t want to sit in limbo, I want to get my share, what’s mine!


Again, refer to #48: This album deserves to be here, there, and everywhere. I’d rather be a free man in my grave/Than living as a puppet or a slave.

Review #173: In Utero, Nirvana

Review #175: DAMN., Kendrick Lamar