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Arts and Culture

Summer's Here, Time for Jimmy Cliff

If this little-known cut from '67 doesn't do it for you, nothing will.

By Thom Wong 9 Jun 2011 | TheTyee.ca

Thom Wong writes regularly about music for The Tyee. He can also be found ruminating about the state of menswear at The Sunday Best.

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Jimmy Cliff, appearing on Thom Wong's patio, nightly.

Typically, for a tune to be the "Song of the Summer" it needs to be a danceable affair -- summer is, presumably, about getting one's groove on (although personally it's more about beer and patios). Such was the power of a song like "Hey Ya!" and the sway it held over the summer of 2004 that only a bit of Googling could confirm that it was, as my friend insisted, released in Sept. 2003. Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" was a Spring of 2006 release, but it soundtracked practically every beach volleyball event and outdoor festival for the next two years. 

The problem with this inexorable press forward is that we're always looking for the next song to back up our revelry, tossing aside last year's (or moment's) offering like so much Lindsay Lohan. And so we lose a bit of our collective experience by constantly trying to push onto what's next. One of the major benefits to having all the music ever recorded all the time (well, one that doesn't involved getting sued) is that we can now revisit those songs that served us so well, or even go well past our own summers to mysterious summers past.

Chances are, if you know Jimmy Cliff at all, it's as the man who sings "I Can See Clearly Now." To be honest that's how I knew him until I was forwarded this YouTube clip and my life was changed. The video is of a 19-year-old Jimmy Cliff singing an early song called "Give and Take," and while the song is utterly awesome that's only half of the goodness. The rest is encapsulated by a joyous Cliff, wearing a shirt with no less than 10 cuff and collar buttons, dancing his heart out on a four-by-four foot stage. The move he starts at 1:02 should be copied by every performer from here to Madagascar, as should his proto-hipster styling. 

If this song doesn't get you ready for summer, you can have your money back (not an offer of money).  [Tyee]

Read more: Music

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